Do Two Screens More Than Double The Fun ? #NaBloPoMo

My life seems to be dominated by screens lately.

TV screens, computer monitors, tablets and smartphones all seem to be breeding around me. And some days I struggle to remember what the world looks like other than through a black border. Remember what it was like catching public transport and just looking out the window or reading a physical book? Me neither.

arbitrageLast month, work decided to give us dual screens in an endeavour to reduce the use of paper and in a tacit acknowledgement that one screen is just not enough these days. With the proliferation of emailed attachments and emails in general, precious productive time was lost switching between several windows, cross referencing the material in each. Now we can have two documents open at the same time,  move text between the two and compare and contrast. And I have to tell you, when I’m at work getting in on the dual screen action, I feel like I’m in arbitrage (which in fact  no way resembles my real profession). I imagine myself scanning the screens, frantically switching between them, watching the ticker tape of the NY Stock Exchange on one and the FTSE index on the other, waiting for the moment to yell “sell, sell, sell now!”. To me the two screen revolution started in the world of stock broking thanks to films like Wall Street. Of course now that the rest of the world has caught up to the dual screen phenomenon, these guys now run on four or more trying to keep pace with global markets.

Of course when I upgraded from one to two, the heat and light level emanating from my desk rose considerably turning my work space into a tropical paradise zone. I wonder whether we will stop at two or if work will attempt the triple with a back-end pike – degree of difficulty 4.5.

The dual screen fun has not stayed in the workplace. It has also crept into my home.

Naturally, the teens have for some time partaken in the world of multiples. There is no such thing as just watching a TV screen to them. They chat, play computer games, watch YouTube videos and listen to music all whilst watching TV.  It took us poor hapless parents quite some time to realise that by looking down at another screen, the Teens were not giving us a signal that it was quite permissible to change the TV channel. The slightest move in that direction would solicit a “Hey, I’m watching that”.

How exactly? Would that be through their nostrils or their toes?

So having joined the revolution, I now understand that having two screens can mean more than double the fun – particularly when the activity you are doing on the second screen is webcamconnected to the TV screen. This happens particularly when a TV show promotes a commentary through a Twitter feed or when there is a show that pretty much everyone in the country watches. We have a couple of these, the most regular one being a show called Q and A. This is a weekly current affairs show aired live by our National Broadcaster comprising a panel of four politicians, celebrities, writers, feminists, social commentators, journalists etc. The panel members are deliberately chosen for their opposing views to ensure a lively debate.  Questions are posed to the panel by audience members who are pre chosen for their questions and a selection of Tweeted comments about the content or the panel members are put to air as the show is telecast.

The comments range from the insightful to the ridiculous, but in a stroke of pure promotional genius the addition of the Twitter feed has brought with it a whole new audience. Tweeps join the conversation Tweep to Tweep or post in the hope that their tweet will make it to air.  Whatever the case, this use of the #QandA hashtag adds another dimension to the TV experience and I’m definitely a convert. The conversation is fast paced, full of banter and is not for the faint hearted.

I think I would struggle though if the TV program was a very visual one. In the case of Q and A there is not much visual action as the show centres around seated panel members and about the most exciting you will get is the odd sneer or finger point.

However, the thought of becoming a TV watching bobble head is a somewhat scary notion.

So, my question is have you ever tried multiples? And has it enhanced your pleasure?

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

18 thoughts on “Do Two Screens More Than Double The Fun ? #NaBloPoMo

  1. I am terrible. When we have a movie on, or a television show we like I have my laptop on my lap, open and a window open to IMDB so I can see who an actor is at anytime and be able to tell hubby what else the actor appeared in… It’s like a part of our world now… Or, if hubby is watching a ‘guns ablazin’ show, I am playing games and listening, so I can acknowlege what he is saying about the movie… Yes, we are multi screen people. Old ones at that….

    • I’m not sure this is so terrible if it enhances your experience. It sounds like pretty much what I do when my hubby watches sci fi, surfing the net, reading blogs etc. I’m glad the multiscreen action is just confined to the younger generation.

  2. There are times two computer screens would prove useful, but I’m not thinking of adding an additional one. As for using two devices at once? Not for me. When I finally get to sit down to watch TV, I want to enjoy the hour. It’s my downtime, the time when my brain can finally just chill, all while watching pretty people say pretty lines. 🙂

    • In our house, I have to battle for the TV screen, so I don’t get to watch pretty people say pretty lines unless its 3am in the morning and the menfolk have gone to bed. I only manage to get in about 2 to 3 hours a week at most in the battle for the remote control.

      • My kids aren’t big TV watchers, so I’m lucky. The youngest is always practicing magic and the oldest reading comics or playing video games (on the weekend for that last one–too much homework during the week).

  3. I cannot deal with looking at more than one screen at a time. I simply cannot. I get distracted, confused and annoyed and I believe that is bad for the brain.

    I predict a time in the not so far future, where concentration, focus and doing one thing at a time will be prescribed to tonnes of stressed-out, conflicted people with dual vision.

    As human beings we are simply not developed to multi-task like that. It is also very inefficient. Constant interruptions make for not getting anything done. How is one supposed to be in flow, when that flow is incessantly disturbed?

    No, I will do what I am best at. One thing at a time, being focused, concentrated and being in the moment. I recommend that to everyone else 🙂

    • Fair enough. The two screens at work are for looking at two separate documents, or for looking at an email and working on a document relating to that email. I don’t review documents whilst opening emails that are coming in, that really is inefficient and interrupt driven. As for the two screens at home, the TV in that case acts more like radio as the vision fades in the background. Love to see you commenting on here 🙂

      • Thanks Judy, I also love interacting with you 🙂

        I can definitely see the advantage about two work screens, my Martin has the same at work, and if they both relate to the same task, then I could do it too. But switching back and forth between multiple tasks and ditto screens is what I strive NOT to do, because I know it is inefficient and confusing.

        In Denmark, households very often have multiple TV-sets. Each child has one in their own room, there is one in the living room and often one in the kitchen and bedroom too. I do not think there is much fight for the remote control 😀 How is this in Australia? Do households usually have just one TV-set?

        By the way, we just have one TV-set in our house, but we also watch a lot of TV on our computers. We have a very good national TV-channel, and they broadcast a lot of really great programmes on-line. This means that we can see these programmes whenever we have time and that we can watch them together, when we are both at home. On-line web TV is a great invention 🙂

  4. Of course I have two screens 🙂 A must for an IT freak – as cliché as the traders’ multiple screens. I would not say it increases “pleasure” – but I am very often switching between two windows (which is not equivalent to switching between tasks), such as having my huge Excel sheet on one screen and the underlying code on the other.

    • I agree that switching between two windows is different to switching between tasks. Having the two makes things far more efficient. I can’t believe how much time I can save by being able to open different windows on different screens.

  5. No thanks. I am retired and have yet to slow down. I don’t need to ad whiplash to my already busy day. 😀
    The bottom line: I don’t believe my eyes want to manage all that screen time. I’d rather read a book.

  6. All of our telly watching is done from DVR. And we both have a device in our hands all that time. She has an iPad Mini and I have an iPad 4 or MacBook Air in mine. And we are not kids. We are retired researchers aged 71. And my wife does the imdb research while movie on, but knows not to say a word about what she learned. I want to enjoy it without spoilers.

    It works for us. At any time our DVR contains at least thirty films and a hundred or more other shows. We can pick whatever suits our moods. In many ways we are like the first commenter.

  7. Pingback: NaBloPoMo XXV: Counting Down to Performance | Poetic Mapping: Walking into Art

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