How stupid are we really?

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I really wanted to write my blog post about Nicholas Carr's, Is Google Making Us Stupid, because in my opinion, this is the article that we have read thus far that probably is most relevant to all of us. The most compelling point that I took from his argument was that the Internet is a ubiquitous, endless, overwhelming source of information. He approaches his argument with a pathos claim, stating that that newer forms of media, especially the Internet, has re-wired our minds and has attacked the selective attention component in our brains. He is convinced that there is drawn out way as to how individuals process information while reading something online versus reading a physical text. His argument that the Internet exploits so many forms of distractions is convincing, because he claims that readers are unable to grow in depth with the text on screen, especially when reading lengthy articles. His argument is supported by his own personal experience of performing Internet searches on Google and stating how new media saves so much time providing abundant information at our fingertips at the keyboard rather than having to dig through periodical stacks in libraries. I agree with his claim in the sense that Internet usage has shaped how we think, but I solely believe that it is based on the overwhelming amount of information that the Internet offers. Let me clarify--if I type the word, gopher, into Google, chances are I will find thousands of hits/links to click on for further information. If I am sitting in a library and books are my only option, I'm limited to grab one book at a time and start reading through it. The Internet, on the other hand, engrosses our minds with so many sources on gophers that we are overwhelmed and find ourselves continuously clicking on every appealing link we see, therefore we don't allow ourselves to thoroughly process useful information, because our mind is constantly racing as to what we will find on the next link! (Sort of like reading through that last sentence). It's just like anything else in life, if we devote ourselves to one activity at a time, chances are we will find that we have a better understanding/result versus trying to multi-task between multiple activities.

Connecting Carr's argument with my own life experiences is simple. I am a terrible multi-tasker, and even though I know I am, I continue to try and do it, because that is what works for me. It's what works for my brain, like right now writing this blog response, I will finish writing this sentence and then I am going to switch back to Psych for probably 15 minutes but not before checking my Facebook and using the restroom. (Pause for 15 minutes). Now that I'm back I'll explain another way that Carr's argument is apparent in my life--just reading this article, I literally scrolled up and down several times after every other paragraph to see how much more progress I made on it. It's not that I found it to be boring, but instead it is exactly what Carr had ironically been discussing the entire time--distraction. I am a passive reader; I'll read the first four sentences of something and then I will think about what I should make myself for lunch. I comply with the words on screen or in-text but my mind is completely focused on something else. Specifically using the Internet has not helped my 8 second focused attention span; whether it is doing on online search and reading about something or using it for leisure, my mind is inclined to try and multi-task, because the options are available! All I have to do is click the new tab button, and I can essentially begin another task; the possibilities are endless.

1 Comment

Everything we do these days is fast paced. Immediacy is something we take for granted, and if something isn't immediate, we get bored or distracted. You make a great comparison to your own life with the distractions you encounter when working on something. I think that the majority of college students can agree with you on this matter. As much as I would like to be completely focused on something, I can't fight the pull to check something else, or stop whatever I'm doing and get distracted. It is unfortunate that our generation has become so lazy, that we can't even handle reading an online article without skimming, or getting distracted.

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This page contains a single entry by John published on September 12, 2012 7:51 PM.

Eileen Meehan, "Holy Commodity Fetishism, Batman!" was the previous entry in this blog.

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