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Human Multi-Tasking: If you count all the things we do two-at-a-time (TV-and-computer, music-and-reading), the average Metafilterer does 29.8 hours a day!
June 28, 2000 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Human Multi-Tasking: If you count all the things we do two-at-a-time (TV-and-computer, music-and-reading), the average Metafilterer does 29.8 hours a day!
Considering that the survey was commissioned by MTV, the TV channel most likely to be playing in the background while doing something else, it's a little self-serving. Viacom (owners of MTV, CBS, UPN and Nick) needs some way of measurement that doesn't show TViewing going down...
posted by wendell (4 comments total)

 
Personally, I've spent at least a third of my working hours listening to News or Talk Radio ranging from NPR to Rush (but never Stern or Dr.L.), and been frequently asked "wouldn't some background music be less distracting?" Never had the heart to reveal that THAT WAS THE WHOLE IDEA. Right now, I'm splitting time between a 4000-line Excel spreadsheet full of cost data and writing this post, but I wouldn't take credit for an hour of both. At home, the TV frequently runs in the background (news, toons, Food Channel, NOT MTV) and even Event TV (Buffy, ER, Iron Chef) sometimes shares my synapses with a magazine or checking my e-mail (If I haven't responded to your e-mail, blame the Season Finales). But I'm not typical; that's what compelled me to put a page of pop media criticism on my site. 15-yard penalty for self-promotion - BTW, I'm putting up new content tonight. Figuring out what's going on is such a time-consuming process, sometimes you have to do it two-or-more media at a time (and the TV fills the time while slow webpages load), especially if, like me, you don't have any news source you REALLY trust, rather a dozen (including MeFi) you SORTA trust but want to double check on. So, is this just another example of technology NOT making life easier? Or is it just me?
posted by wendell at 2:35 PM on June 28, 2000


But, as Evhead mentioned a bit ago, we don't really multi-task: we do the kind of 16-bit DOS thing of dividing time between tasks and switching between them frantically, but that's not necessarily productive. I get frazzled when there are fifteen things to be done at once: that's why "to do" lists are useful. And though there's always the unconscious processing of the day's problems, that's another phenomenon entirely.
posted by holgate at 3:03 PM on June 28, 2000


I dunno, I think I do multitask. I do web development while listening to the TV, and I'm well aware of whats goin' on on both screens simultaneously...
posted by owillis at 5:30 PM on June 28, 2000


My ex-wife was often fond of reminding me that she thought as if her brain were running on Windows, and my brain worked as if it were DOS. She can multi-task. I prefer doing things one thing at a time. She could balance the checkbook while doing email while telling me what to do while watching TV. I could.. read a book. Then I'd put the book down and fix something to eat. Then I'd eat it. Simple. It even came down to how we ate. She'd take a bite here then a bite over there. I'd eat my sandwich first then start on the vegetable medley, save the potatoes for last. I thought in DOS. She thought in Windows.

So whenever she'd be on the computer and we'd get the Blue Screen of Death, I always harbored a little secret bit of satisfaction. Yeah maybe I think in DOS but at least you don't have to restart me once I get going.

What does this have to do with Wendell's original point? I dunno. I forget.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:53 PM on June 28, 2000


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