Those who know me may have found the recent spike in my visibility on the Internet to be surprising. I’ve traditionally been the type of person to let months pass between blog posts or leave my away message for AIM to be “sleeping” for weeks at a time. And until recently, my Facebook status was left blank.
But then, along with the purchase of a Macbook for my wife to use for Law School, we purchased an iPod Touch (which came with a $229 rebate). Since then, my online presence has grown almost exponentially. Now, given how small that presence was to begin with, “exponential growth” isn’t saying much.
What has impressed me the most is how the convenience of having access to a limited number of functions can focus one’s energy toward those functions. Because the iPod Touch offers nothing new that I couldn’t do before.
Email, IM, Facebook, and other related Internet activites ( such as reading the New York Times online) are very easily accessible from any networked computer. But the key difference between a computer and an iPod Touch – for me – is that the computer lets one do so much more. This is in contrast to the usual argument of added convenience (as I am almost always within 5 feet of a computer).
Why does that matter? Well, human beings have limited attention spans and have trouble making decisions or setting priorities when there are a plethora of available options. This includes yours truly. So while the wide array of functions that a computer provides is an advantage, it also may be a disadvantage as well; it’s hard to focus on a small subset of functions.
That’s where the iPod Touch comes in. By limiting the number of available options, the focus of the user is directed at the functions that might otherwise take a back seat to other options available on a computer.
Now, I’m certainly not saying that the expanded options of a computer are a bad thing. And a significant question to pose in response to my comments thus far is “are those limited functions of the iPod Touch preferable or better than the wider array offered by computers?” But insofar as the benefit of a more consistent online presence is concerned, the limited functionality of the iPod Touch is very beneficial.
It’s probably the only reason I’m updating this blog in over a month . . .