Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A new age.

We all know about the Industrial Age. When we made and built things. When workers worked in factories for an hourly wage.

Then, over time, we shifted to the Information Age. In which, in the words of Peter Drucker, we became knowledge workers. We traded in ideas and data. We thought things.

Now, according to Dr. Tore Claesson of Gothenburg University, we are living in the Interruption Age. This is when we become workers who do nothing except refocus for about twelve seconds until we are interrupted again.

A lot of interruption comes from the devices that surround us. In our work spaces, our homes, our sidewalks, our automobiles we are surrounded by an array of pings, dings and zings. They announce to us that we've received a message. A message that is so important it is allowed to interrupt you. Lights flash, windows pop up. You have a message. You are interrupted by that fact.

We try to find sanctuary. But our offices are open plan. So, you are interrupted. Anyone going for coffee? Someone curses. Someone else is talking about the blisters caused by her new shoes. Others are discussing weekend plans.

Today we have a battery of machines that should technically allow us to do our jobs faster than ever before. But, we work slower than ever before. I released ads yesterday that we started concepting in January.

This is life in the Interruption Age.

6 comments:

Laura said...

Dr. Claesson is truly brilliant with his coining of the Interruption Age. We are bothered by everything and anything that is “important” and
the truth of the matter is very little really is.

Jake P said...

Indeed. I'm very familiar with Clientus Interruptus.

Unknown said...

Thank you for quoting me. It hit me like a very quick flash the other day when I walked (slowly) past a bus stop poster advertising some device, with a model looking as falsely happy as only people in ads do, accompanied by a headline saying something about being able to make nano second decisions. Not that humans have ever been or ever will be able to make nano second decisions, not even in a life or death situation. This thing that it all has to be faster and faster and faster is a bloody delusion. The reality is that we take longer and longer to make real decisions. Right now I am commenting on a blog rather than doing a bit of design I'm supposed to be working on. Before we had social media or websites I actually found working the best distraction from boredom. Now? I constantly find reasons to interupt myself, if not somebody else does.

Anonymous said...

I had always believed the Information Age had quickly been replaced by the Opinion Age..and it still rules with an iron keyboard.

Anonymous said...

I've been calling it the 'One Minute Decade'. Try going one minute without someone disturbing you. It can't be done. I blame the cell phone. It was our last step up on the evolutionary ladder.

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