Death of an Attention Span

I used to get 700+ emails a day.  They were very difficult to manage, but they were all in one place. One tool, one interface.  A pain in the ass, but I managed.

Now I have Twitter, and MSN Live Messenger, and Skype, and Facebook, and MySpace, and this blog.  And hundreds of other blogs.  And comments here, and there.  And picture sites, video sites, calendars, to do lists, program management sites.  Defect Tracking sites.  Meebo.  Plaxo.  It’s freaking psycho!

Although my emails have dropped off dramatically the time I spend managing everything has actually gone up – considerably.  Especially since my friends and contacts now have so many different ways to tell me what they think I should know.  But generally I have to remember to go and look at those sites, and see what, if anything, has changed.  Of course, some sites (like Facebook) send me an email telling me someone on Facebook “did” something.

So now I have the email to deal with AND I have to go to the site to see what exactly it is I am supposed to know.

This isn’t better, folks.  What is happening now is that my attention is fragmented to the point that it could certainly overwhelm me and make me completely lost in an unending sea of new and better ways to connect with people.

Don’t get me wrong – I love playing with these new tools – but at some point I will have to draw a line in the sand and decide which ones are just toys, and which ones I am actually going to use.

That time draws very near, I think.


  1. @Bruce – thanks. I did sign up for the beta. BTW – it’s not always the web site that times out – some browsers have that “feature” built in.

  2. I hate it when web pages time out and I lose my post. Anyway, check out for a possible solution to your problem. Also see for background on the Lifestreams idea, originally from brilliant computer scientist David Gelernter.