Monday, 1 November 2010

Time to Take a Break? The Park Bench of the Internet

Park Bench
An absolute bombardment of information is a common experience of the average human being carrying out their daily business. From the moment we wake, to the moment we close our eyes at night the amount of conscious and un-conscious information that passes through our neurone pathways is immense.

Over recent years it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the amount of information we are subjected to is growing at an alarming rate. The internet, TV, mobile devices, smart phones, gaming devices, adverts, billboard, radio and the list goes on and on.

It’s amazing we can even think for ourselves. You do wander sometimes whether that urge for the McDonalds or the need to see a film is in fact your idea or some sub-conscious seed that was planted in your head earlier.

Our brains are changing and evolving to cope with this never before quantity of information freely available to the masses.

Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” says research shows that our ongoing love affair with electronic sources of information, communication and entertainment is exercising some brain functions at the expense of others.

Mr Carr advises us not to let technology and gadgets take over too much. We must remember, it’s still vital, as it always has been, to develop deep interests and focus on them quietly and tenaciously.

Lets liken surfing the internet to shopping in a busy city. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not the biggest fan of these types of shopping excursions and I think when Christmas comes round I’ll be making my purchases online! So in this example, after a couple of hours shopping you’ve been into a number of stores, checked prices perhaps made a couple of purchases and now you need to take the weight off your feet. Cast your eyes down the street and you spot a small patch of green; a park, great! Off to the park to find a nice bench to temporarily re-charge your batteries and relax away from the bustle of the city.

Now when was the last time you were surfing the web and you came across a website offering a similar service as a park bench? I would hasten to answer the question with a ‘Well I haven’t!’

Back to the bombardment of information, wouldn’t it be a novel idea for part of your website to focus less on information pushing and sales, and was designed in such a way to allow your user a moments break, a pause for contemplation.

“Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.”
(Lewis Thomas – 1913-1993)

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