Mastering Multitasking

*Disclaimer: I know little to nothing about golf outside of what I see on Sportscenter and what my roommates talk about*

Now that Masters week is in full swing (pun intended), I am constantly amazed by the ability of some people to multitask and focus on such a wide variety of things at the same time. When I am in class and I look around, I’ll see probably at least four or five different computers streaming the Masters while the students are listening to the professor and taking notes. I may be old fashioned, but I can’t do that; when I see it, I feel like my parents who can’t hold a conversation at the same time as their phones are on. Everything is getting more mobile, and people are constantly having to adapt in order to stay up to date with everything that is going on.

I. Why are people needing to stream constantly?

Claiming that people need to be constantly streaming sports is a stretch. Of course it’s not a necessary component of people’s lives. For most casual viewers, streaming sports and multitasking is something that they do to kill time. If class is boring or if your commute is taking too long, people stream sports for enjoyment. But for avid viewers, the people who will watch every second of every hole of the Masters or every dribble of every March Madness game, streaming is a necessity. This necessity coincides with the rise of social media. As is the same case with all of the popular shows out there like Game of Thrones, spoilers are inevitable. People on their social media cannot help but to spill every single little spoiler that is worthwhile. When it comes to sports it is the same thing. No matter where you look (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) there is some spoiler about what happened. And once you know what the result was, the rest of the journey is ruined. There is nothing special about the program. Therefore, streaming these events is a must. Even if they don’t see every hole of the Masters, it is still better than them accidentally seeing the final scorecard before watching it. As I am writing this blog, my roommate is actually in the library, streaming the Masters while being physically present at a group project, all because he can’t stand to miss a hole. Hopefully he actually helps his group.

2. Why is everything mobile now?

Like everything we’ve talked about in class, the march of progress is constant and technology is advancing at an exponential rate. As computers and phones become faster and faster, it is putting pressure on traditional methods of media. When you’re in your car, are you listening to the radio or are you listening to Spotify? When you’re at home, are you watching programs on your TV or on your computer? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have said Spotify and computer. To keep up with this progress, TV networks are having to become more mobile as well. Whereas only a few years ago the only way to watch live sports was on the TV, and if you were ahead of the times enough you could even TiVo it, now you can pretty much watch anything you want on anything you want. I can even watch TV on the treadmill at the gym.

3. What’s next?

There is no way of knowing exactly what direction the march of progress is going to take, and I will be interested to see how traditional technologies attempt to advance and modernize themselves to fit into the ever-changing world. I think that with the proven rise of AR and VR, television networks are going to have to find a way to integrate these technologies into their repertoire. CBS took a huge leap in this department with the introduction of a VR experience for those who who could not be at the game. This was a relatively inexpensive alternative to traveling to San Antonio. However, one thing I am worried about is too much mobility of technology. People are already interacting with each other less and less and technology has begun to take over every aspect of our lives. Car rides with friends have turned from enjoyable experiences to everyone sitting on their phones and occasionally making small talk.

I know that I hit on a bunch of different topics with this blog, but I’ll leave you with a quick summary: I love being able to watch TV from anywhere as it is incredibly convenient, and companies need to keep innovating in order to stay relevant. You can’t aim for where people are now because by the time you get there you will be behind. You need to aim five steps ahead.

9 comments

  1. This CNN article/video provides a helpful view on multitasking (https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/09/health/your-brain-multitasking/index.html). Interestingly, we cannot physically multitask as a computer with dual-core (or quad-core for that matter) can. Our brains actually just switch very quickly back and forth between different tasks. That being said, we still have only a limited amount of physical bandwidth in our brains. Even though all of these media resources seem like they are enhancing our life experiences, perhaps they are actually muddling them. When I go to Subway or Chipotle, I usually order as many toppings as possible (a great way to get the most food for the same price), but now every sandwich or burrito I get ends up tasting more or less the same. If variety is the spice of life, then having all of the varieties at the same time is the palate cleanser of life.

    If you’ve ever gone and explored the outdoors away from the city and without electronics, you can feel your mind clear in a way that simply isn’t possible while on your computer doing homework (browsing Facebook, listening to Spotify, responding to texts, and occasionally adding a paragraph or two to that essay due tomorrow). Although I’m not yet at the point where I would spend money on an app to keep me off my devices, I think @tarakane36 ‘s presentation and blogs are a great step toward reclaiming our mental capacity real estate.

  2. This post is interesting because I was thinking the same during Masters week. There is a reason why many teachers now prohibit the use of technology within the classroom. No doubt about it, I had no self control when the Cubs made it to playoffs, but a final game is different than a normal regular season game. In that sense, I want to be watching every second of the game so I don’t go on my social media and scroll onto a post that ruins the game for me.
    Today, our coach made us play 18 holes on Masters Sunday. You can bet that everyone’s phone was out streaming the Masters since it was the last day of the tournament. I would not make the argument for everyone needs to stream every game, but for the high stakes of a final round or final game, I think people feel the need to know everything that is happening so they don’t miss out.
    Multitasking obviously does not allow people to be at their most optimal. I would never take out my phone or computer during a board meeting, test, or tournament even if there is a big game on. Society as a whole has learned to move faster or just be more impatient with waiting. With that, streaming has made it so convenient to just click a button and see your favorite team pop up. This might not be the argument of multitasking but rather the increase of convenience technology has made it to multitask.

  3. Great post, Oliver. Like you, I struggle with the whole multi-tasking thing, and technology has made that clearer by the day. Seeing how difficult it is for people to disconnect also makes me a little nervous about the future and subsequent innovations. How much more dependent can we become! It is interesting to see how traditional media is responding the to growing preference for mobile, and I wonder if one-day these companies could be eliminated.

  4. Great post, Oliver. You bring up so many points that I, like everyone else has mentioned, can relate to. Whenever I’m on my phone texting, sending emails or checking social media, my friends get mad at me for not being able to maintain a conversation, which ties into you and Bobby’s point about not being able to multitask.

    Separately, I feel like this post relates to the articles I’ve come across attempting to link increased technology use with ADHD. Because we are constantly exposed to and overstimulated by so many apps, screens, people, profiles, etc., we have a hard time paying attention to one thing for a prolonged period of time. Whether or not technology scientifically has a causal effect on this is unclear. However, in my experience, I feel likely it definitely plays a role.

  5. I think that the point you bring up about the “necessity” of streaming is an interesting one. I don’t think that people stream sports because they need to, but rather they do it because the option is available to them. The only drawback to streaming for me is that I can’t use my computer for anything other than watching a sporting event at that moment, whereas if i were watching it on a TV I could then multitask by using my computer to surf the web, send an email, etc.

    I think the possibilities of AR and VR will never really have an impact on the fan experience enough to become a threat. In my Sports Marketing class last semester, my professor brought in a VR headset that put me in the grandstand at Fenway for the Red Sox game that night. The technology was cool, but imagine if I was sitting at home with a group of people and we all had headsets on watching the game. We wouldn’t be able to see each other and we wouldn’t be able to easily talk about the game with one another. One of the things that people love about sports the most is camaraderie that it creates with others when you are watching a live sporting event, and I feel that these technological advancements are actually taking away from the experience of a live sporting event.

  6. Great post, Oliver! Similar to Dan and your points, I agree that streaming is not a necessity, however, it seems as though staying connected has become one. Connecting with people through streaming and social media is always an option, therefore opting out of this form of connection can be seen as a choice of neglect. That isn’t to say if you didn’t tune into every hole at the Masters you are choosing to not connect with society at large, but to choose to not participate in additional forms of human connection seems to put people at a disadvantage in their relationships with others. For example, I no longer have Snapchat, but I find myself missing important updates from friends I would have gotten had I had the social media.

    Overall, I appreciated yours and other classmate’s insight regarding our society’s ability to multitask. I always am surprised when people can hold a conversation while on their phone, however, I am not impressed enough to condone the barrier a mobile phone puts between actual human connection.

  7. It’s funny you wrote this post because I had a 4 hour meeting yesterday and the person next to me was streaming soccer because the game was being played in Europe and he wanted to watch it live. I feel like nowadays there are very little times when we focus purely on one task. Every time we are on our computers we have a million tabs open and if you have your iPhone linked to your mac, most people are texting pretty much every time they are on their computer (including myself).
    I think that streaming and being available to do many things online (just as doing research, reading summaries for books etc.) has been an advantage for people since it saves time and money.
    It is kind of sad that human interactions are decreasing because of the amount of technology that is available for us. I wish we could focus on doing one task at a time but our mind is all over the place and remembers things at random times, which interrupts our focus and makes us do other tasks at the same time.
    Technology has enabled us to multitask but we are becoming increasingly dependent on using the devices that are available to us on a daily basis.

  8. I’m not sure this is necessarily “multitasking” but multi-viewing. For instance, why only follow a few players at the masters that the TV producer wants you to, but be able to zoom in and follow who you want, when you want? I think that’s the value.

  9. I agree that, with a constantly developing technologies, platform to watch sports has become diversified. From TV programs to mobile devices, and even to virtual reality, fans can enjoy watching sports at their homes. The phenomenon actually impacted sports industries by decreasing ticket sales, as fans have more access through streaming services. Like you said, you can “multitask” by watching NBA and MLB games on a same screen. Or, watch one on a computer while the other on your phone. Nonetheless, there still are many people who values going to the games and have great times at the stadium. It is not just about watching the games there: You get to hang out with your friends and enjoy good food. Sports fans are so blessed to have various ways to enjoy the games they love anywhere at anytime these days.

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