Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Is This YOU? (Or just someone you know?)

You may or may not know, but we offer a free e-newsletter entitled Soundview Executive Book Alert. The writer of this monthly look into the hot and the hidden in the world of books is a good colleague of mine. When he reviewed Grown Up Digital, by Wikinomics author Don Tapscott, my friend wrote, “What else are you doing while reading this review?” The implication is that no one can simply sit and read anything anymore. Looking at one screen isn’t enough, so the average reader is probably texting or checking e-mail while reading any article or blog post (this one included, I’m sure).

Apparently, this prevailing trend is starting to irk more than a few people, particularly in today’s sensitive business environment. Here’s one story that gives a perspective on this new era of digital rudeness. In the first five to seven years after e-mail became the standard of communication for the modern office, we were treated to dozens of business books that included a chapter on “e-mail etiquette.” In fact, it became so prevalent that my editorial colleagues and I would groan if we saw a top-ten list that started with “Don’t use all caps. This gives the appearance of shouting.” WE KNOW!

In contrast to e-mail etiquette, the digital distraction debate brings up some questions of genuine merit. Is there such a thing as being too plugged-in? As noted in the article above, the inability to focus on one task for a concentrated period of time may lead to more careless errors. Additionally, the evaporation of our attention spans creates changes in how we present and receive content. It’s possible that we’re reaching a point where even the shortest message isn’t safe from being knocked aside by distraction. How do we differentiate in a world where everything is labeled “urgent?” How people answer this last question, combined with the evolving world of PDA etiquette will make for interesting analysis over the next few years.

If you can look away from your iPhone long enough, catch Soundview at the annual conference of the Special Libraries Association. The show takes place from Sunday, June 14 through Wednesday, June 17 in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Soundview will be located in BOOTH #1142. Stop by and inquire about our corporate site license program. We’re looking forward to seeing you!


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