Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Am me getting myself dumber now?

I consider it part of my job to stay on top of the ways in which people communicate. Blogging, microblogging, social networks. Updating my Twitter page via my cell while overseeing a spot edit and rewriting the script on the fly.

Some of these tools have proven valuable. Others have increased my mania. But now it appears I may just be making myself stupid. From The Atlantic Monthly:

Neuroscience is confirming what we all suspect: Multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy.

The rest of the article is protected behind a password. But here's an excerpt from the magazine:

At the most basic level, the the mental balancing acts that [multitasking] requires - the constant switching and pivoting - energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning.

In other words, you can do a lot of stuff, but after you finish, you can't really tell anyone what you did.

It may be true, because while I was typing the excerpt from The Atlantic, I must have forgotten my place at least a dozen times. This from a guy who can recite the alphabet backwards and perform chunks of Shakespeare from memory.

I think maybe this is why many in the ad world - like Sally Hogshead - are worried that new media will hurt our ability to concept. Navigating the maze of strategies, media and applications can be awfully distracting. Especially to a creative mind that verges on the manic without any help from hyperlinks.

It's easy to say,"Unplug, grab a Sharpie and go concept in a coffeeshop." But what happens when your creative director asks you if you've seen the latest viral video and you haven't because you've been off, you know, working?

And now, in an act of WTF blogging, I'm ending this post. Because I've checked my email and my RSS feeds at least a dozen times in the last 20 minutes and I've forgotten what my point was. If indeed I had one.

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