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Many is the rabbit hole we go down when surfing the Internet. Do you, like me, go on sometimes to look up something specific, and an hour later put your head up, wondering “where was I? ”

My Irish editor friend Liz Hudson put me on to this term last week. Thanks, Liz. It captures my experience and explains it to me, just the reasons some neologisms are coined.

The gods that be – the marketing, advertising, and SEO gods – know how distractible we are. We become the victims of our own distractible attention. Yet the ability to be quickly distracted has a survival value; it is not a bad thing in its own. It’s in our nature to be constantly scanning the environment for change. Cops have this sense highly developed, for example, as do the military forces in the field, or mothers of constantly moving two-year-olds.

The term “click bait” has alerted me to my own lack of mindfulness. I don’t want to surf the Internet in a highly distracted mode.

I attempted to take a social media holiday during the 40 days of Lent. I used email, because for me that’s for business and certain kinds of practical living. However, Seeing the numbers of communications pile up on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in particular did cause me some difficulties during that time and I certainly did not wholly succeed in staying off them.

However, I did achieve a sobering view of how much time I waste on social media. The hours and days slip by quickly enough in this life.

For now, the term is helping me with mindfulness in observing the to-ing and fro-ing of my attention while online. We are more than Homo sapiens – we are Homo sapiens sapiens. In other words, We are more than thinking hominids – we are in fact hominids who can think about our thinking.

I want to live in that place of observation while I can. And Words are very much a part of how we focus our attention.