A few months ago, The Onion did a story that really got me laughing. Let's start with the headline:
FCC: All Programming To Be Broadcast In ADHDTV By 2007

Then there's this picture which shows the ADHDTV format. The description: "On standard 4:3 televisions, ADHDTV programs will be shown in letterbox format, with the top and bottom of the screen alternately filled with bright, flittering butterflies, undulating rainbow-colored patterns, and singing hamsters in top hats."

Satire is based on truth and sometimes, it's is closer to the truth than anything else. I doubt there will be an official ADHDTV format, but we're already well on our way to something just like it.

I had a roommate in college who liked to have the TV on (with the volume off), music playing in headphones, AOL Instant Messenger going and e-mail up, all while working on homework. He said that having all those things going helped him concentrate. Out of habit, I would have AIM going, music playing and Internet Explorer up at the same time, but I was constantly distracted.

These days at home, the most online multi-tasking I can do at once consists of Outlook Express and maybe a couple of Internet pages. Trying to read and listen to music at the same time is almost impossible for me. In other words, I've kind of cut back.

I won't lie: I'm still very easily distracted by various things (from the TV, Internet, music, stuff to write down), but when I talk with people, I have to really focus with staying on topic. So much information is in my head that I can't help but get distracted. For example, if someone were to mention something that sounds like something that happened on a Seinfeld episode, I can't but be reminded. Whether or not I mention this aloud, that's my decision. In general, in order to be polite, I try not to confuse.

With what I see with other people, I'm amazed at the levels of distraction. Just looking at how people can play a lightning-paced PC game like Half-Life or talk on a cell phone while they write e-mails and AIM messages, I'm not surprised if they speak quickly and act nervous and jittery. They say they can concentrate that way, but I'm not so sure they're fully concentrating on one thing.

Distractions in general aren't bad, but when they take you away from doing something that needs to be tended to, that's when they're a problem. If you're all bummed about something going on, that's not the best time to have a video game going, music playing and e-mail up all at the same time. Sometimes we really need to tend to things with nothing else running.


Random Kath said…
We are already there, my friend. If you watch CNBC, they have the constantly moving stock ticker(s) at the bottom of the screen, even during commercials in the morning. Other news organization have the same "crawls" during their news reports. And I think I saw some JLo video recently that was filmed in a letterbox format and had other stuff going on at the top and bottom of the screen . . .