Multi-multi-multi tasking

I read quite often in the many marketing industry emails I get each day that the modern person generally multi-tasks in the evenings, tending to have the TV on in the corner, while browsing the web, chatting on IM – and for teens – busily using SMS.

While I happily accept this situation, I am a tad concerned about how the media pundits tend to lump web browsing as a single activity.

I typically will have 6-10 browser windows open at any one time, flitting between them as work or interest demands – as well as having the telle on in the corner.

Now, that is a very different use from the television, which will be tuned to just one channel at a time.

While I may channel hop a little, my TV viewing tends to be very static once I find a program I can leave on as background noise.

My websurfing habit is very different and I am simultaneously tuned into multiple websites. It would be the equivalent to having a dozen TV’s in the corner, each showing a different TV channel. Some TV’s would show a whole 60 minute show, while others are bouncing between channels every 30 seconds.
So why is web browsing classed as a single task by the pundits, when it is fairly evidently – a collection of multiple tasks undertaken at the same time in different ways?

I think this needs a bit more thought as it seems obvious to me that “web surfing” is not a single activity, but a whole spectrum of different activities which are misleadingly labeled as a single product.

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