SCHITZOPHREN-TERNET – It’s everything, everywhere

The ubiquitous nature of the web can make the online experience overwhelming.  How do organisations cope with this?  And how do we adapt, personally?

Social media can be the online equivalent of visiting the kitchen, opening the fridge door ‘just to see what’s there’.  A virtual distraction.

The ability to access anything – immediately – means the days of sitting down to slowly process knowledge, a thought, to let it sit inside our head, swirl round and come to a conclusion are fewer.  We want to be entertained – now.

Browser tabs have optimised the internet experience for constant stimulation.  Access multiple sites, and travel in all sorts of directions along the information superhighway, simultaneously.

It’s your email, music, social network, research and work tool in one screen.

How do we adapt to this schitzophrenic way of experiencing the web?


1. Turn it off.

Close the tabs, work on one thing at a time. Colleagues at Deloitte are experimenting with blocking personal access to sites like Youtube and Facebook. Importantly, it’s a personal choice, not a company policy. Start the day with a two hour session sans internet – and at the end, decide whether you are in the ‘flow’ or to take a break, go for a walk and reboot. More on the nomad work day by Ross Hill here.

Or just take an analogue Sunday.

2. & Write on paper.

Looking over letters I have received or written evokes the time and place it was written/received. You won’t recall where you were sitting when you tweeted about something (unless it contained “@ joe’s cafe, eating #twitpic – check in by foursquare” *shudder*)  Pick up a pen today. It helps with learning, and creativity.

“If you get stuck, draw with a different pen” – Paul Arden

Classic OPTE Project Map of the Internet


How to cope with an audience whose attention spans are getting shorter?

1. Your online stuff, it better be good.

You have 4 seconds to capture a reader’s attention. Got the copywriters and marketing guys penning your blog posts because “they can write”?  The Department of Justice train all their writers on specific nuances on writing for the web; scannability, compelling content and using everyday language get the site out of the company brochure and properly into digital 2k10 habitat.

2. Internal communications: CUT THROUGH or CHANGE TACK.

How do you adapt to our reliance on bite-size information within your company? Use it for exactly that.

The Department of Justice communicates IT issues to all employees via Yammer

Both Deloitte and Department of Justice’s IT teams are experimenting with Yammer to update employees of technical problems rather than emailing and more traditional forms of communication.

Short, sharp broadcasts are well received via Yammer

But relying on it for really important messages can be risky. Not all your employees are on Yammer 24/7. Cut-through the clutter or get off it completely?

Deloitte’s CEO clearly wants people to listen to what he has to say. So he leaves them a voicemail.

While you can ignore an email, you are not going to ignore that flashing light on your phone.

Gone are the days of the 24 paragraph to:all email from the CEO.

Pick up the phone, there’s a message from the CEO and he’s talking to YOU. The personal nature of someone’s voice, who let’s you know where he is and what the weather is like is powerful and builds interest.

How do you deal with giving and receiving information on the schitzophren-ternet?

Originally posted on

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