"The web is a treacherous place.
A website’s author may not be its author. References that confer legitimacy may
have little to do with the claims they anchor. Signals of credibility like a
dot-org domain can be the artful handiwork of a Washington, D.C., public
Unless you possess multiple Ph.D’s — in virology, economics and the intricacies
of immigration policy — often the wisest thing to do when landing on an
unfamiliar site is to ignore it.
Learning to ignore information is not something taught in school. School
teaches the opposite: to read a text thoroughly and closely before rendering
judgment, with the implication that anything short of that is rash.
But on the web, where a witches’ brew of advertisers, lobbyists, conspiracy
theorists, and foreign governments conspire to hijack attention, the same
strategy spells doom. Online, critical ignoring is just as important as
That’s because, like a pinball bouncing from bumper to bumper, our attention
careens from notification to text message to the next vibrating thing we must
The cost of all this overabundance, as the late Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon
observed, is scarcity. A flood of information depletes attention and fractures
the ability to concentrate.
Modern society, wrote Simon, faces a challenge: to learn to “allocate attention
efficiently among the overabundance of sources that might consume it.”
We’re losing the battle between attention and information."
Via Esther Schindler, who wrote "Nobody teaches us how to ignore something.
We’re always told to pay attention."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics