Thursday, July 27, 2006

Paying Partial Attention to Many Things?

I just got through watching an old online seminar on the SirsiDynix Institute archive, titled When Everything Connects to Everything: The Impact On People's Relationships to Each Other and to Information.

In that seminar, Lee Rainie discusses Linda Stones concept of Continuous Partial Attention as it related to the Millenials (people born 1982-2000) and their tendency to be constantly on the lookout for better opportunities via their many technology portals (IM, mobile phone, etc.).

This practice is related and similar to the process of multi-tasking and, in my own words, being scatter-brained. It appears to me that teenagers always did this sort of thing, however, they have technological tools that allow them to be immersed in this practice even more.

But is this concept limited to Millenials? To take another look at the concept of Continuous Partial Attention, the Distant Librarian discusses this affect on our workflow. She states:

When was the last time you were in a conversation with someone at work and you gave that person 100% of your attention?

To rephrase this, when was the last time you were in a conversation with a customer and you gave that person 100% of your attention?

With air conditioners breaking down, computers being overbooked, print card machines giving customers a hard time, fellow staff members not relieving you at the desk in a timely fashion, e-mail messages backing up, reference desk telephone ringing, a certain off-desk project deadline approaching, line at the circulation desk getting long, are we still able to give our current customer 100% of our attention?


Perhaps our current customer CAN be our Calgon. . . because for that moment, that fleeting moment, all that matters is helping that customer find what they need.

1 comment:

Kay Due said...

Thanks so much for connecting what was a very enjoyable seminar topic to our everyday reality (but of course everything DOES connect to everything!)
An excellent reminder to all of us to FOCUS on the customer!
Kay Due