Farhad Manjoo from the New York Times raises the argument: Are two screens better than one?
For years, techies have argued that getting an extra monitor or two for your desktop computer is an especially effective way to increase personal productivity. The logic seemed airtight: Two (or more) computer monitors means more room on your virtual desktop, which means more room to do your work. And more room to work would seem to mean faster work.
Even science seemed to agree. As the price of computer monitors plummeted over the last decade, studies showed that increasing display size increased people’s productivity. It didn’t seem to matter that the research was sponsored by Dell and NEC, among other monitor manufacturers. Now two-monitor setups, once the rarefied domain of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, have become de rigueur in office parks across America.
But what if we’ve all been duped? What if more monitors and bigger monitors actually detract from, rather than improve, how you work? What if, rather than more space to get stuff done, what you get from a larger display or two displays is more freedom from work — more room for Twitter, email, chatting and all the other digitized diversions that conspire to get you fired?