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We don’t all multi-task with media

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Thursday September 18, 2008 )

I’ve been feeling inadequate. I watch my family listening to their ipods while watching TV or studying and talking to their friends online and chatting to each other too – simultaneously. I just can’t do that. It’s just too darned confusing.

I need to focus – either I’m on the computer or I’m talking with someone or watching a bit of TV, rarely combined. Speak to me while I’m watching the tube and I may respond with something a little more intelligent than a grunt, but I’ll likely forget what I’ve heard and what I’ve said. I don’t know whether it’s old age or just that I have a one track mind (not that type of “track” though).

I think a lot has to do with working from home on my own for so long – I’m just not used to the “static” any more. Back in the days of the suit and tie, many of the offices I worked in were pretty busy – phones ringing, staff and customers chatting away and computers beeping. I was well known to have Metallica blasting through my skull as I did other things, including working on the computer.

Nowadays.. silence is golden and fiercely protected :).

However, my desire to stay focused on one medium isn’t something I’m alone in. 53.8 percent of American adults don’t multitask when it comes to media at home, but focus on one medium at a time according to a survey by Mediamark Research & Intelligence. People aged 18 to 29 are more likely than those 45 to 64 to multitask while surfing the Web.

So if you’re a closet one-medium-at-time sort of person; rejoice! Take to the streets and participate in Single Medium Pride marches or something.

I often wonder whether there’s a cumulative effect of being engaged with so many mediums at once – whether it is something that will come back to haunt us in future. After all, the brain is a massive (and somewhat poorly kept) filing cabinet; squirreling stuff away we’re not even consciously aware of. Even the largest filing cabinets get full – but I guess that’s what sleep and dreaming are for – clearing out the crud and filing stuff properly.


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