Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tablets and Hyperactivity

@CharlesBrett via @rwang0 explores the ways in which mobility is changing what and how we do it (Feb 2013). He talks about the greater convenience of the tablet over the laptop

"the tablet possesses a flexibility to ‘turn on and to turn off’ that was never true of the misnamed laptop"

and claims that this flexibility provides a counter-argument to the fear that they will invade and consume personal time

"In fact the reverse seems more likely.  You can be watching a movie and move to reading an urgent email, doing the research to reply to it and then return to your movie — all from where you are. "

For Charles, the tablet is an almost universal device.

"Tablets that connect enable you to do what you want, whenever you want.  That can be any or all of email, personal browsing, corporate browsing, information access, decision taking, reading, entertainment, etc.  Indeed, one of the attractions is that you can switch at will between any or all of these.  About the only activity you cannot do is document creation."

Actually there are some vital activities that you cannot do on either the laptop or the tablet - to think and reflect and understand. Being "always on" means that you never have long enough to think through something difficult before you are interrupted by another event. There is always another email to attend to, there is always something happening on Twitter or Facebook, and mobile devices encourage and reinforce this kind of hyperactivity. Some might call it addiction.

In his book Crossing the Postmodern Divide (1992) Albert Borgmann extends the concept of hyperactivity to society as a whole, and defines it as "a state of mobilization where the richness and variety of social and cultural pursuits, and the natural pace of daily life, have been suspended to serve a higher, urgent cause" (p. 14).

See my earlier posts Towards the Carbon Neutral Office (Feb 2013) and How Offices Make Organizations Stupid (Feb 2013)

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