I’ve been thinking about the importance of solitude quite a lot, lately. Recently, I came across a talk given by Ben Fullerton, who is a director of user experience at Method Design, in San Francisco. In the talk, he argues that the default for designers is assuming that connection is good, and that maybe, instead, designers should think about how their work can support solitude, at least some of the time. Ben cited some examples of new ways of thinking about design to support values such as solitude and mindfulness, including former Spark guest, Jaron Lanier’s book, You Are Not a Gadget, and the upcoming Wisdom 2.0 conference. The conversation reminded me of an interview I did with William Deresiewicz, back in 2009. He argued that we may be losing our ability to be alone, in our ‘always on’ culture. I’d love to get your thoughts on how we might begin to think about designing for things like solitude and attention, instead of just connection.
Also huffduffed as…
The advent of new technologies like text messaging and online social networking makes it easier to connect with friends far and wide, but at what cost? We talk with literary critic William Deresiewicz about the repercussions of hyper-connectivity and a generation that, he argues, seems unable to tolerate solitude and quiet reflection.
Designers have a special sensitivity and resonance with mass consciousness. Linda Stone has studied how the way we use our attention impacts and is impacted by mass consciousness. From multi-tasking, to what Stone calls, “continuous partial attention,” to focus and uni-tasking, Stone tracks twenty year social cycles, bringing a sense of context to our current, always-on lifestyle.
This week on Spark - Losing your phone, your attention, and your old ways of thinking. How the CRTC wants to combat cell-phone theft, how to thrive online, and Steven Johnson argues for progress in a networked age.