Too Many Phonebooks
Do You Think We Have Enough Phonebooks?
I don’t understand why there are so many phonebooks. In the electronic age are phonebooks a growth industry? I think that’s 4 different phonebook publishers. And why do Verizon and Dex each give us two (2!) phonebooks, one big and one small? (I already recycled the small Verizon so it’s not in the photo.) The beer is for reference and also to look foward to later.

I had planned to do a big post on a great article in Tidbits about why introverts may be ill-suited to instant messaging.

A couple of years ago I read Caring for your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch. I had always thought that my need for time and quiet to myself on a regular basis, my dislike of big crowds and discomfort in large groups of people I don’t know was some sort of personal failing. Turns out: it’s just how I work. Other people work this way, too.

I’m not sure if I get “worse” as I get older or I’m just better at understanding how I function and take better care of myself. I’m going to go with the latter.

The Tidbits article is by Joe Kissell and he has a lot of interesting insights that I would love to discuss, but I have had a marathon long week including working late yesterday and not getting home until after 7pm. I worked on a massive research project yesterday and spent so much time with Westlaw we’re talking about having children together.

I’m going to stay off the computer and go enjoy the sunshine.

So my short comments about the article are, he must be onto something because I haven’t the slightest inclination to even try IM.

Two choice quotes:

From considerable reading and from personal experience, I’ve learned that introverts have a number of other tendencies. And taken together, these traits may shed some light on why I (and numerous other introverts I know) have a hard time with IM, Twitter, and the like. For example, introverts typically need to concentrate on just one thing at a time, and are often particularly sensitive to interruptions and distractions. Now, I happen to think “multitasking” is a concept that should never, ever be applied to human beings (regardless of personality type), but be that as it may, I can certainly say that I’m easily distracted, and having more than one thing to think about actively at any given time is sure to make me both ineffective and grumpy.

My comment: I’m not sure what his definition of multitasking is here. I’m actually pretty good at multitasking in the domestic realm and do okay at the office depending on the circumstances. If the phone rings a lot while I’m trying to draft something I begin to feel insane but in general I can juggle a number of things at once.

The introvert trait of not dealing well with interruptions comes into play in a couple of different ways with IM. First, naturally, is the whole notion of something popping up on one’s screen demanding an immediate conversation. Let me give you a personal perspective on this. Unlike many people, when I’m in front of my computer, I’m working, which means I’m concentrating on something. I’m writing an article, or a book, or an email message, trying to come up with exactly the right way to phrase some sentence or express a certain point. Or I’m programming, trying to solve some logic problem. Or I’m reading an article. Whatever the activity, it’s something to which I am predisposed to devote my entire attention. If the phone rings, or my wife asks me a question, or an iCal alarm goes off, it breaks my concentration in a way that’s frustrating to recover from. I lose my mental place, and it takes me a long time to get back into that same train of thought and finish whatever I was working on.

Last comment: When I’m working on writing at home, this is exactly why I hate being interrupted.

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