The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions

I notice these days that I can spend hours at my computer, in a cloud. A swampy blur of digital activity, smeared across various activities and media and software.

Emailing, writing, tweeting, designing, browsing, taking calls, Skyping, Facebooking, RSS Feeding – all blurred into a single technological trance.

I seem to switch randomly from one to the other. But actually is there a subtle hierarchy in this cloud? Do I prefer some distractions over others? I think so.

The Cloud

In this diagram, each level in this hierarchy trumps the next.

So, if you get a new msg on Facebook, but your landline rings, you’l take the landline call. You might have a spasmodic moment of ‘uh? wadd I do’. But, usually, you’ll take the call.

Similarly, if you get a new SMS whilst opening a new online dating message, you’ll be hard pressed not to read that SMS. It’ll take a great force of will. You may attempt to do both simultaneously. But if you really observe yourself closely, one will take priority – even if it’s only by milliseconds. The SMS will win your attention.

And so on up the chart…

(I understand this post reveals much about my pitiful life. There’s no need to say that in the comments, thanks.)

But if I’ve missed any distractions, feel free to suggest them. I realise AIM and MS Messenger introduce a whole universe of distraction. I don’t go there. I have enough distractions.

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