From Experian Simmons' New Media study: 91 percent of online adults watched TV and 72 percent said they engaged in one of the other 12 activities while watching TV.
Tell the truth: are you one of those people who tweet and/or update your Facebook while you're watching your favorite shows on TV? In a recently released study, 91 percent of those who watch TV are also online and 72 percent of them are also using their mobile phone or multi-tasking in other ways.
What's wrong with that? I'm one of those people. And, reading through my Facebook news feed while a show is on, I know many of my friends are, too. (It's only irritating to me when it's a live show and my East Coast friends are spoiling the surprise for me here on the West Coast!)
But more than the spoilage factor, Joel Falconer, the Australian Editor at The Next Web, thinks it's terrible, the whole idea of multi-tasking during downtime.
I can see the logic behind multi-tasking at work, even if it isn’t an effective mode of operation. But at home, it just baffles me why anyone would want to cut the quality of their downtime this way. I’m not being high and mighty here, standing above the crowd on a soapbox: I destroyed a whole season of Dexter with one eye stuck on an iPhone. I just wasn’t thinking about what I was doing. It was instinctual.
Just as focusing at work yields the best results in terms of speed, output, and quality, focusing at home means we can enjoy each activity the way it was meant to be enjoyed. You miss all the details, all the clues, and all the subtle jokes in a show when you’re talking to Aunt Nancy on Facebook the whole time. You don’t get to enjoy the story and really unwind from work. And Aunt Nancy doesn’t get your full attention either, meaning your conversation falls well short of fulfilling either party’s human need for real social connection.
All Facebook's David Cohen sparked Falconer's lament with a story about TV shows with large "like" counts and who was engaging on Facebook while the show they liked was on. Cohen used information from an Experian Simmons study.
"Family Guy," with 30.1 million likes, only had 43 percent of its fans Facebooking at the same time the show was on, while "The Simpsons," in second place with 26.3 million likes, could count on 51 percent of their Facebook fans to be on the site at the same time as the show.
Lewis Jacobs/Lewis Jacobs/NBC
COMMUNITY -- "Competitive Wine Tasting" Episode 219 -- Pictured: Danny Pudi as Abed -- Photo by: Lewis Jacobs/NBC
The shows that were able to grab the attention of its fans best (that is, did not have many on Facebook at the same time as the show): "Community" (36 percent), "The Cleveland Show" (38 percent) and "Chuck" (40 percent).
The show that had the most multi-taskers: "Parks and Recreation" at 90 percent of its 380,660 Facebook fans. (Yes, I saw that "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" had 110 percent, but really, 110 percent?)
Last year, a Nielsen study revealed that multi-taskers spent an average of three and a half hours doing so in December 2009, up almost an hour from six months previous in 2009, with TV viewers accounting for 59 percent of the jugglers.
Ever since I was young, I've always had something in the background: music, and when my parents weren't around, the TV. As an adult, there's usually something on in the background while I work. Not always, but there's something comforting to me about that white noise. But when I'm out with friends or family, I'm not likely to be online at all, and they get most of my undiluted attention. Most.
Let's face it, when it comes down to it, we're now wired to share, and share often:
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