By: The Editors - The New York Times Company
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Constant Contact Is Bad for Your Health
David E. Meyer, Ph.D, is a professor of psychology, Cognition and Perception Program, University of Michigan.
The emerging phenomenon of social-networking technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube creates lots of inherent, unavoidable, potentially problematic tradeoffs. While these new media foster more personal communication, they also encourage excessive, addictive, counterproductive multitasking.
Constant access to email, cellphones, Twitter, and so forth entices people to intersperse their use of such tools with other important tasks that demand attention and concentration - like reading and composing complex documents, holding meaningful conversations, or thinking and planning life’s activities. For lots of people, these tools have no boundaries.
They're being used everywhere - at corporate meetings, during driving, and while cooking dinner. At the same time, recent research has shown that such multitasking is often extremely inefficient and can actually be dangerous to your health.
Frequent "flitting" back and forth between various complex tasks may increase the total amount of time taken to complete all of them by 100 percent or more, and many more errors are likely to occur along the way.
To read the entire news release, see the NYTimes.com website at http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/one-tweet-over-the-line/?em.