microboredom
n. Boredom caused by having nothing to do over a short period of time. Also: micro-boredom.

Example Citations:
A decade ago, those monotonous minutes were just a fact of life: time ticking away, as you gazed idly into space, stood in line, or sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Boredom's doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life's most quintessentially human moments. Jostled by a stranger's cart in the express checkout line, thoughts of a loved one might come to mind. A long drive home after a frustrating day could force ruminations. A pang of homesickness at the start of a plane ride might put a journey in perspective.

Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication, and the digital distractions offered by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices. A few years ago, cellphone maker Motorola even began using the word "microboredom" to describe the ever-smaller slices of free time from which new mobile technology offers an escape.
—Carolyn Y. Johnson, "The joy of boredom," The Boston Globe, March 9, 2008

What if you gave a concert and the crowd refused to watch?

It's not as far-fetched as it seems. As more and more concertgoers fiddle with cellphone cameras and fidget with BlackBerries, some people say mobile technology is ruining the concert experience.

"It's extraordinarily irritating," says Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame. "All these people holding up these horrid little squares of bright light." ...

"You never expect 100 percent of people's attention," says rapper Ice Cube. "You learn to take 80 percent."

But the levels seem to be rapidly shrinking thanks to "microboredom," a term invented by — who else — a cellphone company to convince people they need to escape reality with their mobile gadgets.

At concerts, microboredom usually means fans snapping dozens of photos of the band, the crowd and the stage lights.
—Thor Christensen, "Are cellphones ruining the concert experience?," The Dallas Morning News, May 11, 2008

Earliest Citation:
Perhaps not surprisingly, it emerged that consumers use the internet in a very different way from interactive TV. While most of the participants used the internet for 'chore time', or to complete a specific task, 75% of visitors to the Open platform (BSkyB's digital interactive platform) went there to deal with 'micro-boredom' — to kill a few minutes of spare time. More alarmingly for marketers, about 25% of these went there to avoid a TV ad.
—Louise Banbury, "Who's pressing the buttons?," Marketing, March 1, 2001

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