Reading Blog 22 -November 29, 2015

“Judgement of Molly’s Gaze and of Taylor’s Watch” (p. 2271-290) by Maggie Jackson from “The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking.”

When I was in high school, my chemistry teacher told our class that listening to music while doing your homework actually wasn’t as effective as people thought it was. She said that they only way that you could listen to music and do homework at the same time, was if you unconsciously blocked out the music you were hearing. She told us that our brains weren’t wired to focus on two things at once, and that’s why listening to music while doing homework doesn’t actually help you concentrate. That’s exactly what this week’s reading is talking about. In her excerpt, Maggie Johnson harshly critiques the “multitasking culture” that has gained momentum in this generation. She argues that new media devices such as television or cellphones are common tools for distraction, and they only take our focus away from the task at hand. She calls them “interruption machines” and “attention slicers” because they allow you to lose your focus on whatever you are doing. For example, a television is something that attracts you through the flashing lights and loud sounds. You don’t intentionally watch the TV, sometimes you’re just gravitated towards it. For that reason, devices such as the television only contribute to this scatter-brained society that we live in. In addition, Johnson claims that people of this generation aren’t functioning at their full potential because they’re trying to juggle two tasks at once. This makes it impossible to pay attention to anything, because you’re not noticing important features of certain tasks. Overall, Johnson argues that multitasking is a myth that needs to be debunked. It’s impossible to function fully while multitasking, despite the widespread belief that it makes life easier.

Links:

  1. “Does life online give you ‘popcorn brain’?” – http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/23/tech.popcorn.brain.ep/
  2. “How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and your effectiveness at work)” – http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/01/15/how-multitasking-hurts-your-brain-and-your-effectiveness-at-work/
  3. “Technology: Myth of Multitasking” – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201103/technology-myth-multitasking

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is there any concrete solutions to multitasking that doesn’t involve not using technology?
  2. What will future generations look like if they’re being raised to believe that multitasking is possible?
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