Luckily coffee didn’t fly and no one screamed, but walking into my boss while staring at my cell phone was embarrassing to say the least.
While smartphones probably won’t damage your motor skills, a recent article “Are smartphones making us dumber?” brought up a few solid points…
“In one seminal study in 2005, the University of California at Irvine informatics professor Gloria Mark found that information workers on average switch tasks every three minutes. In more recent research, Mark has shown that people working on computers toggle between windows – mainly to check e-mail or surf the Web – on average 37 times an hour.”
Toggling between windows and applications, and now from smartphones, can increase stress and even interfere with short-term memory. People who constantly multitask are often distractible and have a difficult time focusing.
With so many new web and app interfaces, it’s easy to imagine people developing A.D.D.-like symptoms. But, there is an emerging positive side to all this: the way we consume and interact with information is starting to get more streamlined and productive.
We’re already beginning to see this in business. Companies are integrating updates from people and business applications alike under one social interface, so employees receive more relevant information to do their work. Add to that access from a mobile device, and employees can essentially receive and act on information without being chained to their desks. A manager can approve expense reports while at a doctors appointment. A sales rep can open a new slide deck from their tablet before meeting with a customer. Employees essentially complete line-of-business tasks from one, centralized enterprise social network.
We’re at a turning point for improving knowledge consumption. While it might be a good idea to keep your smartphone in your pocket—especially while walking down the halls at work—the way we receive information is only going to get more streamlined and personalized.
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