Working remotely and also managing multiple requests for support can make for unexpected pauses. So, in the midst of series of messages, my daughter responded to a text I’d sent with an odd question. “SOCKS?” she typed back. I could not imagine what she was referring to and thus began a back and forth that made even less sense. Puzzled yet slightly annoyed at the seemingly meaningless interruption, I scrolled back to view the original message and there, plain as day was indeed, “SOCKS” with no reference to anything. I have no memory of this entry, yet the message came from my phone, and yes, it was me who hit the send button. We’ve all made typos before and it is even more commonplace as we become increasingly dependent on “spell-check” for automatic corrections. Some people add a caveat to messages, apologizing beforehand for any future errors. I prefer to think of it as a keyboard possessed by unknown powers attempting to communicate from another, perhaps more spiritual plane; my OUIJA keyboard.
Short-term memory acts as a kind of “scratch-pad” for temporary recall of the information which is being processed at any point in time, and has been referred to as the brain‘s “Post-it” note. It can be thought of as the ability to remember and process information at the same time. It holds a small amount, typically around 7 items or less, in an active, readily-available state for a short period of time and starts to empty out in 10-15 seconds!
So, if we cannot retain information for very long and at the same time we are sending along information, where is our attention truly focused? Are we now not really responsible for the errors we make in advance of even making them? Is it a free pass to minimize inattention and if so, are there limits on what is excusable?
STOP – a quick review of text can avoid explanation after the fact
SLOW DOWN – organize your thoughts before you type
THINK – is this message really ready for “prime time”?
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