Slow Communication: Exiting the Information Super Highway

Slow Communication: Exiting the Information Super Highway
Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 25 august 2009

The internet is a rather polarizing force, drawing us in with its promise of vast pools of knowledge and greater efficiencies, at the same time it overwhelms us with superfluous information and whittles away our attention spans. It is the driver of behavioral shifts that have happened so gradually, that it’s difficult to say whether the web evolved alongside of us or we along with it.

And now that we’ve welcomed this convenient, pervasive technology into our lives and are finally beginning to understand its impacts – both good and bad – how do we step back and achieve a balance? If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not some modern day Luddite with a rotary phone or a hardcore second-lifer in need of a 12-step intervention, but the question is still a valid one.

In an effort to dial back this online noise, John Freeman has penned his personal manifesto for what he calls “Slow Communication,” in a piece for the Wall Street Journal that has been adapted from his forthcoming book, “The Tyranny of Email“. In it, he argues for the considered and the physical as a necessary antidote to the pace and lack of context provided, where speed is too often confused with progress and efficiency.

We were particularly struck by Freeman’s provocative query that asks, “How many of our most joyful memories have been created in front of a screen?” While we might not have collectively reached this point yet, it certainly raises interesting ideas about what our future constructions of meaning might come to resemble if we continue on our current trajectory.

Freeman concludes with an appeal to the fleeting, the personal and the unhurried as a way to preserve our happiness and sanity without completely halting the way forward:

We are here for a short time on this planet, and reacting to demands on our time by simply speeding up has canceled out many of the benefits of the Internet, which is one of the most fabulous technological inventions ever conceived. We are connected, yes, but we were before, only by gossamer threads that worked more slowly. Slow communication will preserve these threads and our ability to sensibly choose to use faster modes when necessary.

The Wall Street Journal: Not So Fast


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology Today

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online

Retail Today

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Gaming & Play Today

Nintendo’s New Console Pushes For Portable Gaming

The Switch allows gamers to seamlessly play on the go by themselves or with friends

Related Expert

Becky Arreaga

Multicultural Insights & Marketing

Entertainment Today

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI Today

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important

Millennials Today

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs Today

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Food Today

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising Today

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Retail Today

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children Today

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants Today

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology Today

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Technology Today

Wearable Device And Lamp Recreate Beautiful Sunsets In Your Home

Sun Memories can record up to six hours of natural light and reproduce it via a connected light at a later date

Design & Architecture Today

Flower Pencils Create Cherry Blossom Petals When Sharpened

A Japanese stationary company developed the special implements in order to create unique shavings

No search results found.