Multitasking and Memory

I have posted several times in this blog about the downsides of multitasking and now here is one more: It seems that engaging with multiple media platforms at the same time may diminish one’s ability to remember things. This article in Scientific American cites a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

“The research suggests that ‘media multitasking’—or engaging with multiple forms of digital or screen-based media simultaneously, whether they are television, texting or Instagram—may impair attention in young adults, worsening their ability to later recall specific situations or experiences.”

Younger Millennials and all Gen Z’ers should take note. Here’s the link:

Screen Time v. Bed Time

Today’s Wall Street Journal provides a nice summary of some recent research about screen time. The gist is that what is on the screen is more important than the screen being on or not.

For parents with school-age children, there is sound advice for how to manage screen viewing for their youngsters, particularly for households that are now impacted by the stay-at-home mandates imposed by pandemic responses.

Here’s the link:

Enola Holmes Rocks!

The Netflix movie Enola Holmes is well worth watching. This fanciful tale of a precocious 16-year-old, the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, is an odd hybrid that nicely bridges the gap between two audiences: young adults and those of us on the older side. The appeal is truly universal.

Ms. Holmes proves to be every bit as witty, observant, and persistent as her famous brother, played here to perfection by Henry Cavill (aka Superman). Enola is most fetchingly portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown and she is clearly the star of this show, outwitting everyone, including Sherlock. Helena Bonham Carter plays a very likable rebel mother to her three offspring. When she abruptly departs the household without saying goodbye, “the game is afoot.”

The writing is excellent, the cinematography superb. The psychological profiles of the Holmeses and certain other important characters makes for an interesting study in its own right. But rather than analyze these characters, it’s much better to just enjoy them! Sit back, relax, and enjoy 123 minutes of really fine filmmaking.

A Must-Watch Video

One of my MBA students sent me a link to a trailer for a Netflix program about social media and after viewing it, I consider it something everyone should watch. This is a cold, hard, sober look at the platforms that have become so big a part of our lives. Here’s the link:

Samsung Fails the Digital Media Test

You would probably think that a big-time tech company like Samsung would have its act together in the digital arena, wouldn’t you? I certainly thought so.

But lo and behold, my 8-month-old Samsung 43″ HDTV has had its HDMI 2 and HDMI 3 ports go south; 2 went about 5 weeks ago, so I switched my FireStick to 3; then 3 went out last week.

Customer service? Nope. Call their toll-free number to speak to someone and your only option is to go online. Go online and start a chat and the first attempt ends with the bot not recognizing what I am saying and thinking my problem has to do with using a soundbar. Huh? So, I end that chat and start a new one. The new chat session starts out pretty well with the stock replies but after I describe my particular problem and give the bot my name and email, it tells me, “We are notifying top Samsung experts. It usually takes 1-2 minutes.”

From 4: 20 pm to 5:05 pm, NOTHING. Samsung fails the digital media test miserably. I wish Apple made actual TV sets. I will never buy another Samsung product again.

Liberalism vs. Cancel Culture

The word “liberal” has various meanings at various times. What does it mean today? For some, it seems to mean that saying the right thing to support a particular cause is right and just and not being 100% on-board with that is “illiberal” and worthy of the harshest criticism and opprobrium. Such thinking holds that speech is only free if it’s correct. Today’s “mainstream media” seems to be institutionalizing this point of view. Objective reporting has given way to “taking a stand.”

But it seems some avowed liberals are not willing to go along with this disturbing trend. Perhaps, there is hope for the first amendment yet.

Liberals Feel Sting of “Cancel Culture”


EMMY-nominated Commercials 2020

Here is a link that will take you to the five 2020 EMMY-award nominees for the best TV commercial. Enjoy!


Kareem Shoots and Scores!

Kareem Abdul Jabbar writes a regular column for The Hollywood Reporter and in its June 17th issue, he addresses the ongoing discussion surrounding works of art and their cultural baggage. He notes that “Most adults have been brought up on an unhealthy diet of movies and TV shows that are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic….It’s disturbing to me that many of the films and TV shows I loved as a child now make me wince with embarrassment.” He describes specific examples that include John Wayne movie roles and Beatles’ lyrics and then rhetorically asks, “Should we ban John Wayne and The Beatles? No….What we need is a way to present art in its historical context so the works can still be available and appreciated for their achievements but not admired for their cultural failings. The easiest way would be to include an introductory explanation—filmed or written—that explains that the work contains harmful racial or gender stereotypes that were acceptable at the time but which we now know are harmful. Links to further discussions and information also could be provided.”

The master of the “skyhook” scores game-winning points with this column and while the article itself may not be accessible to non-subscribers, readers can access a video clip on THR’s website that incorporates elements from Abdul Jabbar’s column in its coverage of HBO’s decision to temporarily pull Gone with the Wind. I would encourage readers to view it:

An Old Medium Is New Again

I’ve designed more than my share of direct mail pieces over the years. Some years back I did one for Philips Publishing that ended up being mailed over 20 million times and served as their “control” for several years.

But it seems that now direct mail is “old hat,” if not prehistoric. Right?

Not so fast, sports fans. Adweek has just published a piece (advertorial perhaps?) by Christopher Karpenko, Executive Director, Brand Marketing, for the United States Postal Service. Granted, he has an obvious agenda—pushing the use of the U.S. Mail. Nonetheless, he points out that combining direct mail with contemporary digital media tools can make a lot of sense. Check it out:


Virtual Reality Game Relieves Stress

The Wall Street Journal has published an article reporting on the use of a virtual reality game being used to help people manage stress. Because WSJ is behind a paywall, I can’t give you a direct link but the Journal does allow me to upload the piece to my Facebook page, so here is the link. Let me know what you think!

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