The Brandt Randt : Multi-tasking generation
Brandt Ranj, Staff Writer
November 10, 2011
Filed under Opinion
To those who enjoy my writing, this will serve as an extra treat as you flip through the folds of select issues of The Dolphin. To those who think that I write too much, too bad! This monthly feature will be a written assault on any topic that I can manage to get approved, a far cry from my even keeled nature. This issue’s topic is about us, the multitasking generation.
Unlike the radio generation of the ‘40s and ‘50s or the television generation of the ‘60s and ‘70s, we’re not happy with one thing we want all the things. For example, how many of you reading this watch television? How many of you watch television programs on a laptop while also texting? See my point? I’m not saying that I’m innocent, but I’m aware of it and I find it a little unnerving.
If you go out with friends, how often do you sit down only to take a phone out of your pocket and set it on the table to the left of the fork and knives, as if somewhere between chews the president would call you to discuss tactics on foreign affairs?
Hell, how many people check their phones before getting out of bed in the morning, I know I do! Not only does it serve as my alarm clock, but I typically leave the email client up when I lock the phone at night so that when I turn off the alarm it syncs the latest messages. Can’t let those coupons to Hanes.com expire.
The problem in my mind isn’t the fact that this technology exists. In fact, I love it enough to write about it weekly! However, it gets in the way of people’s personal lives to the point of mild annoyance. If I’m speaking to someone, I expect them to at least half-listen. If I’m on a date, I expect the person I’m with to pay attention to about 90 percent of what I’m saying. I feel as though if two people make a verbal compromise they should do their damnedest to stick to it.
The problem is that I’m deep in it too. Every day the Internet becomes even more dense with rich content enticing you to StumbleUpon it. Facebook, Twitter, text messages — that trifecta of methods by which people can contact one another be it morning, noon or night is excessive but most people hardly notice. Case in point: as I write this I’m listening to a podcast while having a Facebook tab open where I’m holding two separate conversations. My phone is half a foot away to my left and I’m considering opening up a YouTube tab… there, it’s done.
To be quite honest with you, the present isn’t even my gravest concern. It’s the future. How are we — as a society — going to function with a marginally reduced attention span? Sure, I enjoy a good book and shutting everything down for the day every once in a while, but the thought is: “if I do that I’ll miss an important call…” which is a slippery slope to delving into some of the habits I described earlier. How will it effect parenthood, will we be so used to juggling things that one more won’t kill us? Or will we use the simple pleasures of only partaking in one hobby at a time. Listen, I’d love to answer that but I have to watch banned cartoons from the ‘50s while trying to beat a level of Angry Birds.