Over at Slate, cartoonist James Sturm quits the internet due to the ADD that all of us feel. If quitting the net means he can draw more cute cartoons like those accompanying the article and more outstanding graphic novels like MARKET DAY, we’re all for it.
But essential online communication has given way to hours of compulsive e-mail checking and Web surfing. The Internet has made me a slave to my vanity: I monitor the Amazon ranking of my books on an hourly basis, and I’m constantly searching for comments and discussions about my work. I follow the Knicks on a daily basis (perhaps my most shameful admission).
I doubt there is anyone reading this who owns more than two internet-connected devices who won’t recognize all of Sturm’s symptoms — the constantly wandering mind, an inability to live in the “now” unless plugged in, the rejection of flesh and blood people who are sitting right next to you for electronic bits and bytes. How on earth did we ever LIVE before the internet and data phones!
Although we’re not saying that Internet attention disorder — or whatever the clinical name for it is; we’d rather finish this post than Google to find out — is good for humankind, we’re sure that some people similarly objected to the telegraph and the horseless carriage as taking time and attention away from learning the latest hits on the family virginal, prepping for home pickling and firing up the hickory logs to make bacon.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.