New! Distracted's New Edition Wins Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Writing on Technology and Culture

An Honor and A Legacy…

Thrilled! I am honored the 2018 edition of Distracted is the winner of the Media Ecology Association’s 2020 Dorothy Lee Award, one of the most prestigious book awards for works exploring technology and culture. Past winners include New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and UCLA media theorist Peter Lunenfeld.

In these challenging times, it’s important to keep front-burner the huge impact of technology and media on our lives, habits of mind, and social ties. Just one example: even a brief bit of online searching makes people less willing to struggle with a complex problem and also leads them to think that they know more than they actually do, studies show. Technology is our ether and our lifeline yet it’s a huge mistake to lose sight of its often-invisible cultural and psychological effects, an influence that’s deepening as hours online ratchet up during the pandemic.

You can find no better resource for keeping up to date about these issues than the work of the Media Ecology Association, a global not-for-profit association of scholars and practitioners whose work tech’s impact at all levels from individual thought to the planet as a whole.

One last note: I am tremendously honored and inspired that the book award for Distracted is named for Dorothy D. Lee (1905-1975), a pioneering cultural anthropologist who studied Native American culture and also questions of human autonomy and equality of opportunity. Through her long-time teaching at Harvard and Vassar and her books such as Freedom and Culture she was prescient in attacking the idea widely held in her day that affluent cultures are better off or superior to lower-income societies. And importantly she warned that scientific advances, as important as they are, can dehumanize people. “I am living in a society that is willing to lose its humanness,” she said in a lecture at Harvard in 1961.

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