danah boyd on streams of content and limited attention

LIVING IN STREAMS

In his seminal pop-book, Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they can reach a state of “flow.” He talks about performers and athletes who are in the height of their profession, the experience they feel as time passes by and everything just clicks. People reach a state where attention appears focused and, simultaneously, not in need of focus at the same time. The world is aligned and it just feels right.

Consider what it means to be “in flow” in an information landscape defined by networked media and you will see where Web2.0 is taking us. The goal is not to be a passive consumer of information or to simply tune in when the time is right, but rather to live in a world where information is everywhere. To be peripherally aware of information as it flows by, grabbing it at the right moment when it is most relevant and valuable, entertaining or insightful. Living with, in, and around information. Most of that information is social information, but some of it is entertainment information or news information or productive information. Being in flow with information is different than Csikszentmihalyi’s sense, as it’s not about perfect attention, but it is about a sense of alignment, of being aligned with information.

Great talk from danah boyd, given at the Web2.0 Expo, on the flow of social media and how that disrupts old-school assumptions, not necessary for the better.

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