When was the last time you gave yourself the luxury to stop and think? I mean literally stop and think, not a momentary attempt to recall something from memory. With the explosion of social networks, this has become increasingly more difficult to do.
Ironically, it has become even more important in this world of hyperthinking. That is the term I am now using for what’s starting to happen in our heads in this on-demand world we live in. It presents a challenge that I foresee to be one of the greatest obstacles to our ability to manage our mental process—and it will only get worse unless we intentionally become conscious of how we are thinking and using our brains.
When we pay attention to something, we are engaging our brains. Attention is critical because it is an essential activity our brains perform. But as Linda Stone explains, we’re living in a new world of continuous partial attention. By continually paying partial attention to various things at once, we aren’t driven by a desire to be more productive, as we are with multi-tasking. Instead we’re scanning, staying busy, staying connected.
However appealing the idea of doing several things at once is, it’s a practice that comes with consequences, as I’ve seen in my own experiences and you probably have as well. I recently wrote about the problems that arise, and how several studies have shown that we ultimately pull our mental energy toward the need to concentrate and away from memory and new learning.
But, as I also discuss, there are many positives to active engagement in social networking. The key is applying a mindful process for approaching it so you can invest your attention in the most effective and productive way. I’ve found the Whole Brain® Model to be a useful tool in helping me organize, understand and manage my social networking activity in order to gain some control over where I place my attention.
And let us know what you think: How are you managing your social networking? What opportunities does social networking open up for new thinking and insights into different thinking styles?
*This short video reveals some of the dramatic numbers behind the social media revolution.
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