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Infotention

May 1, 2012

The word infotention is a combination of the terms information and attention. It refers to how we combine learned attention skills with online information skills.

These days, there is a lack in drawing in one’s attention. Our economy of attention is affected by the information age. The introduction of the real-time web has seen a saturation of information. Our attention spans have decreased and we now suffer from what David Armano states as “technology induced attention deficit disorder.” Describing our lack of attention as a disorder due to increases of technology is something that I do not agree with. I see it that we do not lack attention rather that we are always looking for information which will compliment our attention economy. O’Malley states that “attention is a human constant and that it constantly seeks new forms.” He argues that attention is a constant and continual process, meaning that all attention is distraction, vice versa. For example, the publishing of the latest ‘breaking news’ story becomes the distraction of all previous stories and essentially becomes the new focus of attention.

Howard Rheingold, originator of the term infotention describes it as a “psycho-social-techno skill/tools we all need to find our way online today.” Due to the increase in information available, Rheingold argues that we need to filter this information in order to know what is worth our attention. In regards to publishing, what attracts or distracts our attention is usually involuntary, making us exposed to the information published. Yet the system of mindful infotention suggests that the use of internal filters gives us a choice in what we focus our attention on.

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