Twitter vs. Flow

December 9, 2006

A favorite Vonnegut short story depicted a super-egalitatrian world where all were equalized by enforcing the lowest common denominator. Dancers wore heavy chains and intellectuals wore headsets that, at random moments, blasted a crashing din.

As we strive for coherence and creativity it often feels like Vonnegut’s virtual headsets rest uneasily on our respective crania. I mean, how do we get anything done when we are so constantly, perniciously, interrupted?

The web, needless to say, has been a mixed blessing, getting-into-flow-wise.

Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users reports on twitter the latest webmeme dedicated to break us out of productive immersion. It literally ask you to report, in real time, what you’re up to. That’s it. And in return, you get to see what thousands of procrastinators are doing. In real time.

And by linking to it, I have performed my deed as vector for today. Bwahahaha.

Sierra conveys the increasing speed and efficiency at which these webmemes operate. She does it through excellent graphical design. Imagine any part of the following graphs that could be deleted without eroding information content. And it is very informative content.

The Twitter Curve, how webmemes are increasingly combatting flow

But webmemes only work if you give them the opportunity. Turn off your email. Turn off your browser. If need be, award yourself 5 minutes of browsing for every hour of work. For, as Sierra points out (in more truly excellent graphs), we can blame others for our interruptions, but when its just you and your wifi connection, the fault, dear Brutus….

Who we blame for our lack of flow vs. the fault dear Brutus...