Some anecdotes of people whose focus has started to slowly drizzle down due to multitasking on the digital word.

Nicholas Carr complains about how focusing diligently on one thing has become hard.
“I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle”.

Carr also talks about how the media is shaping our thought processes themselves, and certainly not for the better.
“Media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski”.


Chris Meadows has concerns that are very similar to Carr’s.
“From my own personal experience, I am finding something very similar happens. Sometimes I find it hard to “unplug” and direct my attention in only one direction. And sometimes it’s hard to get up the impetus to sit down and write something long- form, because I don’t want to put my attention in any one place for that long”.

Meadows gives an example that perfectly captures the essence of what he’s trying to say.
“Even when watching movies or new episodes of my favorite TV shows, I sometimes have to pause and pull up a web browser to check my mail, or pop onto a chatserver to exchange words with friends. When I was watching Avatar for the second time with my parents, during the “boring parts” I would slip out to the aisle where I was blocked from view of the rest of the audience and check my email and Twitter from my cell phone”.

I experience problems with multitasking as well. It is very ironic that sitting down and focusing on writing this was a challenge in itself. Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter are all just a click away. The temptation is truly hard to resist. When I struggle for more than 20 seconds over what to write, Facebook can serve as an escape. I open Facebook in the middle of doing something else with the intention of opening it for just a couple of minutes, but it always takes more.

1. Meadows, Chris. "Do We Not Read As Much Anymore Because The Internet Has Sapped Our Attention Span?" TeleRead. Web. 15 May 2011. <>.

2. Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" The Atlantic — News and Analysis on Politics, Business, Culture, Technology, National, International, and Life – Web. 10 May 2011. <>.