Some people are just gluttons for punishment. A pair of self-professed online distraction addicts, Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff, have created a tool called “Pavlov Poke” that will zap them if they spend too much time on Facebook and not enough time working on their dissertations.
The Pavlov Poke works by using a UI Inspector (the duo used their Mac’s UI Inspector), a bit of code to produce an onscreen alert when a site is visited too frequently, a USB-connected Arduino to send the shock circuit, and electrodes connected to metal strips on a keyboard rest.
Admittedly, the Pavlov Poke is essentially a gag (and isn’t a real product that you can buy), but it does speak to the collective addiction many have to social media and other Internet distractions that often keep us from being productive.
It’s all too easy to get sucked into pointless activities, and that can seriously hamper one’s productivity; and there’s a difference between using a service such as Facebook to actively communicate with and engage with friends and family and just dinking around clicking through someone's vacation photos just because you'd rather not work on something you need to get done.
Also of note: We wonder how much time Morris and McDuff spent creating the Pavlov Poke, setting up a site for it, and shooting a fun promo video instead of writing their dissertations. Maybe they can develop a Pavlov Poke that zaps them when they’re wasting time IRL?