Monday, April 04, 2011


(Photo from LA Times)

My colleague who often calls herself a Luddite when it comes to adopting new technology relayed this story to me. She was chatting online with a young friend and, marveling at herself she said, “I'm reading a book, Tweeting, and  Facebooking all at once. What has happened to me?” His response was, “multislacking”.

This is something I see a lot. I notice that while students are using computers to do research and write papers in the library they aren’t always “on task” (unless they really are doing a paper on cats in sinks.)

It makes me wonder. If we are inundated with so much information that we suffer from brain freeze, why do we go looking for trouble? Why do we sign up for, subscribe to, and follow more information?

Perhaps, if the brain needs some “down time” to process all of the critical decision-making information we’re taking in, our multitasking should include some slacking. Maybe Facebook does need to be running in the background as we do our research. Just when a thought becomes too complicated to express, we can click over to see the latest comments from our friends from high school, play a game of solitaire, or take a tour of Then, presumably we’ll get back to that brilliant thought and print that paper out.

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