(VIDEO) Anti-Social Multitasking: Are You a Techno Menace to Society?
By Gena Haskett on June 09, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
I had a friend asked me about the Kord Campbell article in the New York Times . Kord almost lost a $1.3 million dollar deal because he was so busy multitasking he missed the initial offer to purchase his company.
"No," I told him, "I actually make the time to be off of the computer." It isn’t my total connection to the world. I learned my life requires a balance. It is not healthy to splinter my energies into dead end tasks.
More importantly, no device and no amount of busy work will stand between me and $1.3 million dollars.
Are You a Techno-Menace to Society?
I really do see the effects of how gadgets have changed or enhanced bad behavior and manners. I have been lucky not to have been run over by cell phone-wielding drivers. It has become a necessary life survival skill.
I can still see that woman as plain as day. She was on a cell phone, driving. I could see that she held the phone to her cheek as she turned to yell at the kids in the back seat.
Four people crossing the street jumped back just in time as her car plowed through the intersection. The woman was oblivious to her actions.
I dislike mobile phones, but I am really irritated by the behavior of some of the owners of those devices. If you honestly don't know how to behave with a cell phone, please read Cell Phone Etiquette, 10 Dos and Don'ts by Joanne Krotz. Pay particular attention to the third page item #3.
I’m not as assertive as Amy, but I shall not stand in her way, either. Any woman who will go after Robo-phone dialers is all right with me.
The point to this rant is the personal has become intrusive. Yes, it is your phone and your minutes, but you are in a public space. There are rules about being in public. They haven’t changed because a device was invented.
Being Busy Doesn’t Equal Being Productive
It isn’t just the phones. It is instant messaging in all its forms, including SMS and Twitter. It is loud vulgar games, so-called productivity tools that only help you to learn to use the tool and not necessarily get anything done.
It is the stuff of doing rather than the doing one specific task to completion.
Why do we need to have more than one computer monitor if you are not a video editor or animator? How much do you need to actually get stuff done? You don’t have to believe me, check out this video from Stanford University:
If you are in that three percent that really can handle being a considerate human being and can do three or more things at the same, time I salute you and celebrate your greatness.
The rest of you folks have got to get a grip. Especially that person on a business call in front of the counter keeping me from my morning egg sandwich because you want to pin down the details before you sign.
I got a sign I'd like to show you, Bub. Stop!
There are things we all can do to be better public and private citizens. I’m not trying to take your gadgets away. This is a humble request to get you to appreciate them more by only using gadgets, devices and other electronics when it is appropriate or absolutely necessary.
In the words of Kriss the Sexy Atheist:
Information is a tool, just like technology is. We need to slow down and be in the moment. It will benefit ourselves and society as a whole and at the very least ... you neighborhood barista will be happy.
Related Reading and Resources About Multi-tasking and Gadgets
- Connie at Yoga In a Hurry has a good definition of Techno stress and how to relieve it. Works for Multi-taskers too.
- Joanne Canter at PsychologyToday.com has an article on Mining Your Moron - Why Multitasking Is Such a Waste.
- Liz Kislik writes from a business perspective on Multitasking vs. Peace of Mind. In the article she is asking questions about what is driving people to do more and more.
- Peter Bregman from the Harvard Business Review has a powerful post on How and Why to Stop Multitasking.