Sink or Swim / Think or Skim.

In past posts, I’ve discussed how technology appears to be altering the manner in which human beings are interacting and thinking.  Many studies have shown that people seem to be losing both their attention spans and their memories.  This idea, coupled with the idea that graphics (pictures/videos) receive more attention online, has led Google to revamp its approach to promotional emails.  The tech giant is altering the manner in which people view promotional emails.  The change in display, which is being referred to as grid-view, will place an emphasis on pictures and will only have short and simple subject lines.

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IMAGE: Google

While this idea from Google seems to have real potential, it’s interesting to point out that as a community, we seem to be gradually shifting towards the elimination of text.  We used to read and write long bodies of text, and now we mindlessly surf the web focusing predominantly on short bodies of text and intriguing graphics.  We have developed giant sites that simply ‘stumble’ through the web and deliver us funny graphics.  We even began to limit our online postings to a mere 140 characters.

Thank goodness for blogs right!

But seriously, where are we headed? Maybe a weird science fiction-like future where we communicate using high-tech noises and flashes. A society like Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 where we don’t really even communicate with each other at all (and actually burn all the books)?

While I do think I could thrive as captain of a spaceship in the first scenario, I feel that we as a community need to understand that simplicity is not always best.  We need to remember that valuable lessons and meaning can be found when we take a leap into the depths of a work. We need to progress and push forward, but we can’t do so ignorantly.

Oh, and by the way, for the time being Google grid-view is just a field trial on Gmail.  You have to opt in to it, and even then, not everybody who opts in will get immediate access.

 

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