The Real world vs The Digital world

This week we explored the idea of attention and the initial quote our lecturer used states, ‘Hearing is reactive, which listening is strategic.’

How is it that we have gone from all speaking at the dinner table and interacting with family, friends and loved ones to wanting to feel part of a digital world of ‘friends’ and afraid you are going to miss something in that world. Sometimes I feel like shouting at friends or family who are on there phones while trying to have a conversation in real life.’You are here now and you are missing out on experiencing the REAL world!’ Thats what it has sadly come down to though…The real world vs The Digital world.

Have you ever been out with friends and they have all had their phones out and you have forgotten yours or its in your bag. Its frustrating and it feels rude. Josh pullman seems to suggest, ‘Everywhere we go, we carry with us options far more enticing than the place and moment we happen to be standing within.’ 

Its interesting to see that human behaviour has changed significantly over many years when it comes to out attention span. Alexandra Horowitz, (On Looking 11 Walks with Expert Eyes, New York, Scribner, 2013) states that our attention, ‘asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.’ Yes we can multitask but are we really multitasking anymore?  I mean even in class today our tutor was talking and students were there on Facebook or texting, accessing it through their laptops or phones while supposedly listening. 

The above video explores what the world is actually like today without a phone. Each scene i have experienced in some kind of way and thats sad, but it also makes you realise why we feel as though we are missing out on something in the digital world when everyone around you is in the digital world and you feel alienated. It becomes a sort of forceful habit, if the people around you are using their phones and not engaging then we tend to do the same in order to feel secure or comfortable that we aren’t missing out on the same thing.

Attention seems to be spoken about more and more within academia today. With ways to improve attention, including ‘practise attentive listening,’ how and why did that become a thing. When you actually read that out loud it sounds silly to assume that we don’t really listen anymore. We are constantly subjected to ridiculous amounts of content, that with the convenience of phones and access to the internet, has distracted us to no longer stay on the task at hand.

When did sharing our world public with no regards to privacy become the world of today. My dad still isn’t on Facebook and thinks its a platform where you have no privacy, stating it creates problems. Research has found this to be true, that we are constantly victims of seeing someone who is better off than us in some way and us wanting that, creating users who have portrayed a ‘perfect life‘ or ‘persona’ online that isn’t the real.

This week myself and my little brother (Louis) decided to test our attention span by watching a movie and leaving our sound of our phones on. Although this task seemed simple, it was actually incredibly annoying to participate in. My little brother is 12 and is always on his phone, snap chatting and messaging. Throughout the movie this is all I could hear. At the end of the movie these were the result:

Louis (73 messages received)- Not once did louis look up at the screen, how did i know this? Because i received one text message from mum to hang the washing out and a notification telling me the BCM assesment was due on the 4th of October. The whole time we were watching the movie the constant sound of beeping was frustrating me resulting in me glaring at my little brother typing furiously on his phone to his friends. The beeping also made me pick up my phone to check if it was me receiving those messages (it wasn’t), and being even more annoyed that we were supposed to be watching the movie and what could a 12 year old possibly be talking about.

Louis’s attention was definitely not on the film.

My attention, which I wish was on the film, was on louis who’s phone was beeping repetitively resulting in me wanting to know what he was talking about and what was so important.



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