The ultimate focus secret: Turn your smartphone into a dumb phone (Fast Company)

Fast Company: The ultimate focus secret: Turn your smartphone into a dumb phone. “Have the pressures of modern society gotten you down? Do you spend 95% of your free time cruising Instagram, with very little benefit to your soul? Does your phone do so much for you that it distracts you from the real work of getting stuff done? Well, you’ve come to the right place.”

EurekAlert: Tweeting while watching TV diminishes enjoyment

EurekAlert: Tweeting while watching TV diminishes enjoyment. “Toggling between viewing entertainment and social media lessens a person’s ability to escape reality and enjoy a show, according to a new University of Connecticut study. Researchers studied an experience that has become increasingly common: More than half of television viewers aged 18 to 24 use a second screen web-connected device for engaging on social media to discuss what they are watching, according to previous research.”

New York Times: Facebook’s Notifications Are Out of Control. Here’s How to Tame Them.

New York Times: Facebook’s Notifications Are Out of Control. Here’s How to Tame Them.. “With over two billion active users, it’s hard for Facebook to grow much more by adding new people. Instead, the company is focusing on engaging the users it already has, largely by pestering them with an endless stream of notifications.”

Washington Post: Our devices steal our attention. We need to take it back.

Washington Post: Our devices steal our attention. We need to take it back.. “To explain why we should refocus our attention, [Jenny] Odell notes the tension between being connected online and disconnected in the real world. We tend to stay online too much, she suggests, because digital platforms are structured to keep us connected for their own profit. It is necessary to escape to engage in sensitive, actual human interaction. Though these are not necessarily new observations, it’s worthwhile to reiterate that, for all the social unity and disunity social media sites promote, the profit motive is the reason most of them exist.”

The Guardian: How the news took over reality

The Guardian: How the news took over reality. “The afternoon of Friday 13 November 2015 was a chilly one in Manhattan, but that only made the atmosphere inside the Old Town Bar, one of the city’s oldest drinking haunts, even cosier than usual. ‘It’s unpretentious, very warm, a nurturing environment – I regard it with a lot of fondness,’ said Adam Greenfield, who was meeting a friend that day over beers and french fries in one of the bar’s wooden booths. ‘It’s the kind of place you lay down tracks of custom over time.’ Greenfield is an expert in urban design, and liable to get more philosophical than most people on subjects such as the appeal of cosy bars. But anyone who has visited the Old Town Bar, or any friendly pub in a busy city, knows what he and his friend were experiencing: restoration, replenishment, repair. ‘And then our phones started to vibrate.'”

EurekAlert: Abundance of information narrows our collective attention span

EurekAlert: Abundance of information narrows our collective attention span. “The negative effects of social media and a hectic news cycle on our attention span has been an on-going discussion in recent years–but there’s been a lack of empirical data supporting claims of a ‘social acceleration’. A new study in Nature Communications finds that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing, and that this effect occurs – not only on social media – but also across diverse domains including books, web searches, movie popularity, and more.”

Physics: Explaining Bursts of Attention on Social Media

Physics: Explaining Bursts of Attention on Social Media. “Social media are like a giant megaphone for public opinion: they can sway elections, crush a business, or incite mass action on hot-button issues like vaccination and climate change. Researchers studying how a topic grabs ‘collective attention’ have noticed a common feature in social media data: occasional short and seemingly random bursts of high-volume activity. These poorly understood ‘spikes’ are an intrinsic aspect of attention dynamics, says Manlio De Domenico, a network theorist at the Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK) in Trento, Italy.”