Author and consultant, Joseph Grenny, writing in Business Week, sees a future where we learn to manage our internet addictions with the help of technology.
Smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, GPS-enabled gadgets, and ubiquitous Internet access will continue to feed and exploit the natural human proclivity toward immediate gratification. In 2012, we’ll become more acutely aware of the degree to which our lives feel more virtual than real—and our relationships, pleasures, and aspirations seem shorter-term and shallower.
While some will try to stave off these effects by taking Luddite oaths to eschew technology, others will create solutions that help us make electronic tools our slaves, not masters. Offerings that allow us to shut off texting in moving cars (Text Zapper, for one) or voluntarily block our own impulsive access to IMs and Internet surfing (Freedom and Anti-Social, for example) signify our realization that we are behaving in ways we don’t like. As the gap between gratification and happiness gets larger, entrepreneurs will step in and provide solutions.
At lunch today, I was thinking there was a time not so long ago when we were fully present at lunch. Our phones wouldn’t ring because there was no phone. There was lunch and if one was alone, maybe a book or newspaper to pass the time. Not now. Even if no one calls, someone could call, text or IM and that possibility changes the mood in the room.
Personally, I think we need more than a suite of Apps to solve the growing distraction problem. Maybe daily meditation and a reorganization of one’s day into digital and non-digital segments. I know I am seeking a better balance this year. Without this balance, one can fall through the Web’s portal to another time and place, like Alice through the looking glass. Clearly, there’s much to be fascinated with in world within a world, but it’s not the real world and right now the real world needs some work. Don’t you think?