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Friday, May 19, 2006

GEL 2006 - Linda Stone

Linda Stone, formerly of Apple and more recently of Microsoft has been on the circuit recently talking about continuous partial attention.

What is continuous partial attention (CPA)?

Linda defines it as
CPA is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, CPA has evolved from our savannah-evolved ancestors' need to constantly scan the horizon for prey and predators, even while we were weaving baskets or grooming each other in the shade of an acacia tree. It is a behavior that is deeply wired into our brains, one of the most basic of human psychological repertoires. On the other hand, CPA drains our attentiveness away from the task at hand, and thereby degrading our performance and involvement...
It is not multi-tasking. Multi-tasking can be efficient. CPA is simply continuing to pay attention to everything as you are afraid you will miss something.

From time to time, I have found myself suffering from CPA. When I do break away and focus on one thing, I tend to get more productive. Duh! The CPA keeps diverting attention to this thing, to this thing, and what I started out to do does not get done.

Networks do what computers to well but not what people do well, that is have a real connection.

Nature has cycles. Humans do although we tend not to acknowledge them as much as we should.

She worked on a program with British Petroleum to help reduce email volume. "Think before you send" was the catch line. Could you accomplish what was in the email in another way? Many elected to make the phone call or walk the hall instead of sending the email.

We need to shift from connect/connect/connect to protect/filter/meaningful belonging. The shift from a focus on "ease of use" to "improve the quality of life". This has enough of a motherhood and apple pie spell to it, it should catch some attention. Does it have enough substance to give it legs? Time will tell.

For more info on CPA, you can certainly google to find something. I would also recommend Stowe Boyd, writing at /Message, who has written a couple of times on CPA including an interview with Linda.


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Comments on "GEL 2006 - Linda Stone"

 

Anonymous Linda Stone said ... (12:43 AM) : 

Thanks for your comments. For more information on continuous partial attention: http://continuouspartialattention.com Please note that while I referred to the terrific BP, "Think Before You Send," email program, in the GEL talk, BP gets all the credit for creating and deploying the program!

 

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