New Book Provides Strategies for ‘Being Present’ in the Age of Digital Distraction

Photo of Jeanine Turner

Posted in News Story  |  Tagged

Technology has streamlined the way we work, live, and interact with those around us. People are able to connect from anywhere in the world, at any time. But what happens when we allow these devices to hinder us more than they help us? 

In her new book, Being Present, Jeanine W. Turner, professor at Georgetown University who teaches in the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program and in the McDonough School of Business, provides strategies for paying attention and commanding attention in a time of digital distraction. 

Being Present highlights the strains placed on individuals to navigate the complexities of social presence when competing against smartphones, computers, work applications, and numerous other digital devices – both in their work and home settings. These challenges have been further intensified during the pandemic as homes suddenly accommodated both work and family life. 

“It is increasingly difficult to break through the digital noise to earn someone’s undivided attention, engage in meaningful interactions, and balance when to be “online” and “offline” in today’s virtual environment,” said Turner. “I wrote this book for anyone that feels frustrated when trying to communicate more effectively in a digital world, and I hope it helps readers approach their social presence with thoughtfulness in all areas of their life.”

Drawing from 15 years of research, interviews, and experience from teaching students and executives, Turner blends original research and theoretical application to introduce a new framework for social presence. She outlines four primary communication choices – budgeted, entitled, competitive, and invitational – and guides readers on when and where to employ each strategy to effectively allocate attention as a listener and how to maintain attention from a distracted audience. Each chapter includes concrete strategies and concludes with reflection questions and exercises to help readers further explore these decisions in professional and personal relationships.

“Being Present is a highly engaging and insightful guide for anyone hoping to communicate more effectively,” said Suzanne Clark, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “As new technology continues to affect the ways we interact, this book provides actionable strategies to cut through the noise and actively cultivate a social presence. I would recommend it to anyone hoping to be a more effective leader.” 

To celebrate the launch of Turner’s book, the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University Press, and the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program hosted students, alumni, community members, faculty, and staff in a virtual book launch on February 10, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. Participants had the opportunity to hear directly from the author and engage in Q&A about the book. 

Turner also received gold in the Networking (social media, communication skills, etc.) category in the 2022 Axiom Business Book Awards for Being Present. Axiom Business Book Awards are one of the most prestigious and respected critical awards for business books.