From the time I started getting homework assignments and outside work for the extracurricular activities my mother enrolled me in, I began to develop a sense of multitasking. My parents, seeing my multitasking abilities as having the potential to negatively impact my schoolwork, forced me to see a “study skills” tutor twice a week for a year, hoping she’d successfully get me to prioritize what I had to do without multitasking. What ended up happening was I was only sharpening my multitasking abilities, although I was able to keep it from my parents through achieving higher grades at school. I found that multitasking actually encouraged me to do the work I had, and do it as efficiently as I could. With the growth of the Internet, I found multitasking to come even easier.
I cannot give a concise explanation as to how I came to be a multitask-er. As a seven-year-old, before I had regular access to a computer and the World Wide Web, I spent my evening hours doing homework, drawings for my cartooning class, and practicing for my vocal coach who I saw every Saturday. As a seven-year-old with an unusually high stress level, I had to be resourceful in figuring out how to accomplish all my tasks before the night was done. Soon, I found myself singing as I drew my cartoon drafts and writing out spelling and math worksheets. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m artistically and mathematically challenged, and so—singing while I drew cartoons and practiced addition and subtraction did not contribute to my future troubles in math and art classes. It just helped me finish everything quicker, giving me more time to watch a TV show or two before bed.
When I was given my first personal desktop computer at the age of nine, I was able to multitask even more, and on a more successful scale. As I started to use the computer to play online games while doing my homework—a genius, self-developed method of combining fun while completing my often boring assignments—my parents started to worry about my multitasking tendencies and questioned whether or not it was a good decision to give me a computer in my room. This was the start of how my dependence on the Web impacted my multitasking.
As Davidson writes in Now Your See It, the emergence of the Internet allowed for multitasking. “Everything links to everything and all of it is available all the time” (6). Instantaneously I am able to find the answer to what I am looking for thanks to a simple Google query. Perhaps it is because of its convenience and usability that we become so easily dependent on the web. It is even hard to imagine studying for exams or writing essays with the use of just printed texts. Take a trip down to Bird Library and try counting how many students in there are not using laptops, but just pen and paper, as the young girl seen studying in the image below. I do not know how old she is, or when the image was taken, but I can say that the last time I had used just books to study was back in middle school!
Davidson also questions whether or not future generations’ dependency on the Internet will prove “useful to their future” (56). She seems unsure as to whether children are learning to use the Internet and computer applications to develop both their interests and new connections. As one who grew up during the Internet boom, I believe that it is very easy to abuse the Internet—using it for the wrong purposes, using it in a failed attempt at multitasking, etc. As Davidson says, “the Internet is here to stay,” (56) so it is up to us to control how future generations use their web dependency to best benefit their lives. We see children, younger and younger, with a more developed sense of electronics. Toddlers have come to use iPads as their toys at the dinner table, or play their video game consoles as they simultaneously watch the television, as seen in the proceeding image. This young boy is not alone—I have seen my younger cousins displaying such behavior at family dinners and holidays.
As with many generational gaps, “their world is different into which we were born” (Davidson, p. 57). But the idea of multitasking has remained from generation to generation—it is just executed with the help of different media. Today, I use five different calendar variations to keep me on track of my different tasks—whether it is for my classes, my sorority, other organizations I am involved in on campus, or even personal tasks. Some may think it is strange that I do not just stick to one calendar source. Honestly, I do not know how I have come to prefer multiple calendars. I presume I just like to have multiple reminders surrounding me at all times.
Multitasking has, without a doubt, contributed to my academic, and even non-academic, success throughout college. Without multitasking, I would not be able to be an active participant in three on-campus organizations, take five core classes and one elective class, and have time to have a social life and attend various influential speakers and events sponsored by the University. But while multitasking has proven to be a successful method of accomplishing my own tasks, I understand that it is not the best method for everyone. However, our fast-paced society seems to reinforce that multitasking offers one a way to do more with their time. It is up to the individual to develop a sense of multitasking in a way to do better. In an age where technological advancements and newer electronic products come out quicker than we can adopt the previous versions, it is hard to not be a heavy electronic user. It is even harder not to use these electronics in an attempt to multitask. The art of multitasking and the presence of the Web are not disappearing anytime soon. If one can multitask or be dependent on the Web to further his or her goals, then why should anyone criticize? That is just how I see it.
Image 1, Movie Poster: “Multitasking” by Jamie Manley (abjam77), Creative Commons 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiemanley/5278662995
Image 2: “And that’s me, enslaved by the books” by Anna Theodora (AnnuskA-AnnA Theodora), Creative Commons 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/annatheodora/473457193/
Image 3: “Multitasking” by Jason Mayoff (JasonMayoff), Creative Commons 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pincourt/3069341289/
Image 4: Mashal, Bianca Z. “Digital Writing” photo, 2012.
Davidson, Cathy. Now You See It. 1st ed. New York: Viking Penguin, the Penguin Group, 2011. 6,