Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Internet as the Perfect Place for ADHD

Some years ago I took an online diagnostic test for ADHD, did not quite make the cutoff, but came close. I emailed my father and my elder son with the subject line "We All Have ADHD." My son responded with a learned discourse on the difference between our symptoms and those of ADHD. My father's response was "Your mother has been telling me that for years."

My son also described how a math professor of his at Harvey Mudd, who did have ADHD, dealt with it—by having multiple projects going, switching to another when he lost interest in one. Which struck me at the time as pretty close to the way I normally work.

The Internet provides a wonderful tool for that approach, exemplified by what I have been doing this week. My main project is the third edition of my first book. From time to time, when I get bored with that, I take a look at facebook, where I am likely to be involved in one interesting conversation or another, or one of the surviving Usenet groups I still post to. I recently finished my grading for last semester, but until I did I could always spend a little time rethinking the question of whether a marginal student deserved a pass or a no pass. I have a search string bookmarked on Firefox to find anyone mentioning me in the past 24 hours, in case something is said that I want to respond to. And if all else fails, I can always spend fifteen minutes on the auction house in World of Warcraft in my running war with the local gemstone would be monopolist or on the Timeless Isle doing a daily for a few extra valor points. 

Then back to work.


At 3:29 PM, January 16, 2014, Anonymous Lexi said...

Hah. I read your posts and never comment usually, but I think it's awesome you work some WoW Auction House maneuvering into your schedule as a leisure activity. Well done.

At 3:46 PM, January 16, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the market aspects of WoW interest you, you might enjoy Eve Online. The economy is much more sophisticated and player-driven.

At 6:41 PM, January 16, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

I expect Eve Online is more interesting, but would also require a much larger investment of time and effort than I'm inclined to make.

At 2:39 AM, January 17, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a propos your online activity: would you consider allowing of ''following'' on your facebook account?i understand that you probably want to keep it private as you have 90 friends but the content you post is neverthless more interresting then 90% of the newsfeed most people get and i think that lots of people would appreciate if they could follow you so they see what you post and dont have to look you up.i bet you would get thousands of followers in a matter of weeks and it is a good platform(well,better then g+) to even promote your novels if you so wish.

At 11:49 AM, January 17, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

I don't understand facebook very well. I've tried to keep down the number of friends because, as I understand it, once someone is a friend I get his posts randomly shown to me, and the more uninteresting to me posts I see the harder it is to find the interesting ones.

I have just set followers to "everyone," as per your suggestion.

At 1:30 PM, January 17, 2014, Blogger Tibor said...

David: I think that with each of your facebook "friends" you can set it up so that you don't recieve any content that they post there (but you still keep them in your "friends" list). I reduced the number of contacts severely from a couple of hundreds to about 30 recenly (the others did not post anything interesting and I either did not care for being in contact with them at all, or had their phone numbers or emails available to me), but I still block some content some of them post there, because I don't want to see it. I expect some people to block me as well, because I mostly post cat pictures, which I assume can be quite annoying to a lot of people, but I can't just resist the cats.

I didn't know you can simply "follow" the content that comes from an account outside the friends list.

At 1:36 PM, January 17, 2014, Blogger Tibor said...

More related to the original article:

I feel like I'm like this as well...however sometimes it switches to a different "mode" and I just become focused on whatever I'm currently doing a little bit too much. It can be useful sometimes, for example when I was writing my diploma thesis I sometimes spend even 16 hours in a row working on it (although with mathematics it is usually not very efficient to do long hours in a row instead of less time more often with pauses...unless you've already figured out the hard stuff and now it is the more boring part consisting of putting it together properly and typing it in TeX), not even eating and going to the toilet only when it was really absolutely necessary...but sometimes it means I start playing a computer game and go on playing till it is 4am even though my initial decision was to play for one hour in the afternoon.

At 7:39 AM, January 19, 2014, Blogger Unknown said...

Out of curiosity, did you ever play Ragnarok Online? And if so, what class?

At 3:56 PM, January 19, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

If the question was to me, no, I never played Ragnarok Online. The only MMORG I've played is WoW. Before that I played Diablo (and, I think, Diablo II) on the house network.


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