Companies at the Consumers Electronic Show in Las Vegas last month displayed new gadgets for everything from the home to the office to cars. Much to the dismay of some consumers and experts, car companies like Ford, Audi and Mercedes have presented plans to add screens above gearshifts in their vehicles that can be used to browse the Internet or play videos, among other things. As though text messaging and GPS units were not enough of a distraction, automobile drivers can now look up band biographies, research restaurant menus and check stocks on their dashboards, further expanding the possibility of risky and distracting behavior while driving—some systems even have detachable keyboards!

The presence of computers in cars is only one way that our culture has become consumed by multitasking. In this age when technology is being integrated into daily life on all levels, we are never satisfied with doing only one thing at a time. We listen to iPods when walking, we Tweet our every move, we study while we Gchat or Skype, we follow 30 blogs at a time, we eat dinner with the TV on. My brother sat and did a crossword puzzle while we unwrapped presents this Christmas—being with family simply was not stimulating enough. Most of us feel like we've lost an arm if our cell phones aren't safely tucked into our back pockets.

The government reflects this multitasking sensibility, with health care, terrorism, a faltering economy, and climate change, all priorities on the ever-more-intimidating administrative agenda—perhaps "the everything must be done at once" mentality is what is holding the Obama administration and encouraging havoc-wreaking from the right wing. But hey, while one source praises the administration, another (Fox News, ahem...) bashes. The media is a growing monster, with thousands of news sources to follow, millions of bloggers with their own opinions and op-ed columnists eternally giving all of us the know-how. It's hard to know whom to trust, and a discerning eye is more important in this age's political sphere than ever before.

Culturally speaking, no matter how in touch with online illegal downloading sites and the blogosphere one may be, it is hard to keep track of all the emerging talent out there in the music, art and fashion industries. The Internet is like an alien galaxy that is increasingly difficult to navigate. Now we need online search sites like to help us narrow down the plethora of sites out there to fit our individual interests. We online shop and read fashion blogs; we listen to books on tape, walk the dog and chat with a walking partner, all at once. We attend concerts and cannot help but be preoccupied with texting friends or filming the best moments of the show on our cell phones to send to friends or upload onto when we get home. Forget existing in the physical world when the realm of electronics and cyberspace can be so much more invigorating.

The multitasking world extends beyond the Internet and technology, however, and college admissions reflect this trend. You got a 2400 on your SAT? That's great and all, but were you an editor for the school newspaper? Did you participate in varsity athletics? Because everyone else has some other trick up their sleeve. The same goes for an increasingly competitive job market. According to a December 29 article in The New York Times, "Making College 'Relevant,'" "89 percent of employers said they wanted more emphasis on 'the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing,' 81 percent asked for better 'critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills' and 70 percent were looking for 'the ability to innovate and be creative.'" Students at liberal arts institutions are fortunate that these skills are often emphasized in all curriculum, but students will have to be attentive and individually aware to ensure that they leave college having developed these skills if they hope compete in today's struggling job market. It wouldn't hurt to be on a student committee, an active participant in community service and head of your school's environmental conservation group, either.

However, nowhere in our generation's culture is this multitasking more evident than in music. Take Lady Gaga, for example. She is not simply a pop artist but an innovative fashionista whose sexuality has been debated and whose music has touches of dance and hip-hop and electronic masked behind a persona composed of glitter, paint, spandex and an ever-morphing mess of bleach-blonde hair. It takes a multitasker like Lady Gaga to draw our attention. Artists like Vampire Weekend, M83, Ratatat, RJD2, Animal Collective, Kid Cudi, Wale, Neon Indian, Owen Pallett, Yeasayer, the Dirty Projectors and many more are also characterized by their ability to utilize beats and sounds from a variety of genres, countries and styles. In Vampire Weekend's new album, "Contra," the band combines afropop beats, reggaeton, acoustic, orchestral and digital material to create an album characterized by its crafty juxtaposition of styles. Neon Indian's 2009 album "Psychic Chasms" was described on as "Dream-beat, chillwave, glo-fi, hypnagogic pop, even hipster-gogic pop," not to mention "synth-based, homemade-sounding, 80s-referencing, cassette-oriented, sun-baked, laid-back, warped, hazy, emotionally distant, slightly out of focus." One sound is simply not enough anymore.

In addition, musicians can no longer get by only playing one instrument: it is a necessity for major artists to have at least two skills up their sleeves to count anymore, be it guitar and harmonica, drums and vocals, or, such as the case with Grizzly Bear, vocals, guitar, keyboards (Edward Droste); vocals, guitar, keyboards (Daniel Rossen); bass, backing vocals, various instruments, producer (Chris Taylor); and drums, backing vocals (Christopher Bear). One band is no longer good enough, either. In fact, many musicians now have side projects. Deerhunter's lead man Bradford Wilcox has his side project Atlas Sound, Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij has Discovery, Animal Collective's Noah Lennox has Panda Bear, Bon Iver- has his new band Volcano Choir, Jenny Lewis has Rilo Kiley, and Jack White has thirty pseudonyms, to name only a few.

It is hard not to be a multitasker in this day and age, because technology allows it and society demands it. Oftentimes, this multitasking mentality has beneficial results when it comes to amplified innovation and creativity. But just because we can be hyper-efficient, connected, creative and productive, and just because we have worlds of information at our fingertips, does not mean that we should allow these things to take over our lives. It seems that the key to a fulfilling life in this multi-tasking age is the ability to sift through the muck pile and pull out what is truly meaningful. Sure, shoot a text and film a quick video at a concert, but don't forget to enjoy the live experience in itself. For music junkies like myself, try to listen to that new album at least twice before tossing it into the "been there, done that" pile and hitting the blogs for the next big thing. Let's chill out about the job market, follow our passions, and narrow down our priorities. Perhaps we should spend more time focusing on everyday relationships and interactions and less time stalking on social networking sites. Look up that restaurant review before you get in your car, put down your cell phone for a second and for God's sake, keep your eye on the road.

Cameron Weller is a member of the Class of 2011.