I was at the Wired Store a couple days ago. Its filled with all manner of (mostly) electronic gadgets, televisions, a Camaro, and a drop of camping gear. Leaving, I felt nothing. In years past - actually a good 20 or more years ago, I would have been excited at the sight of all that expensive equipment. What really struck me is how I use my time now. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my stage in life – with two kids and a mortgage, who's got time for all that anyway? And a don't think parallel parking a new Camaro in NYC would be much fun. But its more than that. I like to do active things - building things like websites, and engaging with people - much more than sitting passively at home listening to music or watching TV. If I do listen to music, its in the background while I'm doing another task.
Clay's talk on cognitive surplus (and a forthcoming book) really drives this home. While my attention is more fragmented these days, I'm also doing much more with my time. Online social tools allow me to use my time better and to discover new things, and entire new classes of engagement (compared to 20 years ago) are stimulating and fulfilling.