Your attention span after smoking the Social Media pipe.

by baldilocks

From our beloved Mr. Reynolds:

I think a lot about whether social media are good or bad for society. I’ve written about how they make it easier for people to form mobs, facilitate the weaponization of emotion, and allow bad ideas to spread like disease through early civilizations.

But I also have to wonder: Are social media bad for our brains? (…)

Of course, this isn’t the first time that technology has changed people’s mental processes. Preliterate people had a lot less access to knowledge than people who can read — but preliterate people tended to have amazing memories by today’s standards. (…)

Now, of course, actual bound books are fading, and people read much more on screens. As a result they tend to multitask — read something for a bit, check email, go to see whether you’ve gotten any “likes” on Facebook, go back to reading for a bit, check Twitter. And social media tend to make that worse by subjecting users to a vast stream of bite-size it. (…)

Deep thinking is becoming less common, and worse, this seems to be particularly true among the academic/political/intellectual class that’s most on Twitter.

Glenn says he doesn’t have a solution to this. I do, but it takes personal will.

I, too, found that too much Social Media was harmful to my concentration process. It was taking me much longer to finish reading books than it used to; sometimes I wouldn’t finish them at all since I frequently use e-books and audio-books downloaded from the LA Public Library. Another symptom is pervasive: many open browser tabs. And this is the worst: the degeneration of my ability to concentrate enough on an idea in order to write about it sensibly and to connect one idea with another. (Thank God that I wrote my novel before Social Media’s ascent!)

The solution is very simple: disconnect for a set and regularly scheduled time segment.

Sometimes, I devote the segment to audio-book “reading” coupled with apartment cleaning; other times to something outside of myself.

I do this about twice a week and I can see the change. Additional benefit: the times when the scatter-brained, emotional poo-flinging hits the brim — even when it’s from those with whom I usually agree – and makes me want to shut it down. Call it a sign of detox.

Of course, I’m paranoid enough to believe that the mass splintering of our collective attention spans is intentional.

It doesn’t have to stay that way, though. But recognizing the problem is the first step.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Claire Chennault, someone whom few people in the United States know but should,  may be the most beloved American in China.

During World War II, Chennault headed a secret operation in Kunming called the First American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers.

By December 1941, Kunming, a vital capital of a southwest China province that borders what is now Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, had suffered attacks by Japanese bombers for almost three years. The punishing raids were part of an assault on China that the Roosevelt administration interpreted as a threat to American interests in the region.

The president, bound by the 1939 Neutrality Act, responded with a covert operation. Months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor pulled the United States into war, a group of almost 100 pilots recruited from the U.S. Army Air Corps, Navy, and Marines resigned from their services and volunteered to defend China against Japan.

Chennault, a retired U.S. Army Air Corps pilot who had become an adviser to the Chinese air force, dispatched two squadrons to Kunming, which became the group’s permanent base. When the American Volunteer Group landed, the city was still smoldering. Japanese bombers had hit Kunming that morning, and about 400 Chinese had been killed.

For the next seven months, the Flying Tigers destroyed almost 300 Japanese attacking airplanes in what was considered a miracle in China and still remembered today.

Time hailed the American pilots as “Flying Tigers.” The nickname stemmed from the flying tiger emblem that Walt Disney Studios had created for the volunteer airmen two months earlier, and it is how they have been known ever since.

In his memoir Way of a Fighter, Chennault wrote: “Japanese airmen never again tried to bomb Kunming while the AVG defended it. For many months afterwards, they sniffed about the edges of the warning net, but never ventured near Kunming.”

During a recent trip to the city, my friend Jay and I journeyed to the Flying Tigers Museum, which took a taxi ride, a bus ride, and an adventure with a gypsy cab.

There we met the curator of the museum, a 70-something woman, Mrs. Jungbo, who expressed her gratitude to us as Americans for what Chennault and his airmen accomplished so many years ago.

She opened the doors of the various rooms that housed historical documents and photographs. She insisted that we take two books about the air group and wouldn’t take a contribution.

Then she escorted us back to our hotel, which was more than an hour away and paid the gypsy taxi for the trip.

All of this because she and her family remembered the heroic deeds of Americans so long ago.

At a time when many countries don’t recall how much the United States did for them, it was a good feeling to know that some people in Kunming still remember.

We are once again seeing people suddenly apologize for daring to like a Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey found himself back pedaling after tweeting about using Chick-fil-A’s mobile app, saying he’d forgotten about the fast-food chain’s history of opposing gay marriage.

Dorsey found himself the subject of a tweetstorm after he posted a screenshot showing how he’d saved 10 percent using Chick-fil-A’s app at one of the fast-food chain’s outlets in Los Angeles.

Reaction was swift:

Given that the biggest obstacle for the right in election 2018 is energizing their voters this is exactly the type of thing that will help boost GOP turnout.

Between this Chick-Fil-A nonsense and the Robert Di Niro / Tony Award standing O I think you’re going to get a lot of angry Trump voters dying to re-elect even week republicans to stick a finger in their eye.

Seriously is the GOP paying these guys?


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.