The ADD Medium

  |  March 2, 2000   |  Comments

Dana's out of the closet with ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. Since then, many others have done the same, the biggest "coming out" party since San Francisco in the '70s. Some are real luminaries. ADD, it seems, isn't a handicap in this web business. People with ADD have a big advantage on the web, being capable of great creative leaps in technical, artistic, and business endeavors. The linear era is over - the age of ADD is here.

In the last few months I've acknowledged something I should have suspected all my life.

I have ADD. ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, but I prefer to call it an Attention Depth Difference.

Since I "came out" about my ADD a few months ago, many of the people I like and trust have done the same. It's the biggest "coming out" party since San Francisco in the '70s.

To my surprise, many of the people who have confided in me are real luminaries. ADD, it seems, isn't a handicap in this web business, but a positive boon.

For those of you going "Huh?" right now, let me explain a little about what ADD is. Think of it as a different way of wiring your brain, something inherited from parents and grandparents. Instead of having information stored in a card catalog, with each piece related in a linear way, ADD people have it strewn about the floor.

Here's another way of looking at these two ways of thinking. A Henny Youngman monologue is linear. ADD is Robin Williams.

Symptoms may include distractibility, anger, daydreaming, risk-taking behavior, and impulsiveness. It's often diagnosed in childhood now, and since the outward signs are very disruptive in little boys, their conditions are often caught early. It's also routinely misdiagnosed as a handicap.

To parents, ADD is synonymous with the drug Ritalin, which calms ADD symptoms and lets kids stay in boring classrooms. Kids as young as two are now being given Ritalin, often after only a cursory examination.

Since ADD symptoms can mimic normal childhood behaviors (especially in pre-schoolers), many critics have begun questioning whether it exists at all. (One of the most prominent critics of ADD is columnist John Rosemond, whose web site was created and hosted by a company called Linear Publishing. If you know anything about ADD, that's funny.)

This isn't a medical or political column. The question is what does ADD mean for e-commerce? For one thing, the most obvious ADD symptoms I've ever seen were in Ted Nelson, whose books "Computer Lib" and "Dream Machines" predated Tim Berners-Lee's WWW demo by decades.

When you watch anyone using the web, as Jakob Nielsen does in his usability studies, it may seem like everyone has ADD. The hand is on the mouse, the eyes are on the screen, and the impatience is palpable.

People with ADD have a big advantage on the web. We're capable of great creative leaps - technical, artistic, and business leaps. We can hyper-focus on a project for hours and hours, if our passion is harnessed.

But don't hire someone with ADD as your project manager - Nelson's Project Xanadu was 20 years late. Structure, lists, organization and support are all necessary for your ADD employees.

But with the need for quick thinking, creativity, and imaginative leaps being what it is in the online world, this I know above all. The linear era is over - the age of ADD is here.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana Blankenhorn

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business reporter for more than 20 years. He has written parts of five books and currently contributes to Advertising Age, Business Marketing, NetMarketing, the Chicago Tribune, Boardwatch, CLEC Magazine, and other publications. His own newsletter, A-Clue.Com, is published weekly.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Sales Planner
      Sales Planner (Verve ) - New YorkAbout Verve   Verve is the leader in location powered mobile advertising. We manage one of the largest mobile...
    • Systems Analyst/Support
      Systems Analyst/Support (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreIRIS (Increased Revenue Intuitive Software ) is proprietary software that helps marketers...
    • Client Services Support Specialist
      Client Services Support Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - Delray Beach OVERVIEW:  This position requires a highly motivated and resourceful individual...