Monday, January 14, 2013

Internet Responsibility

Carr's opening had me hooked in less than two paragraphs before I could even try to figure out what exactly his point was. "I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory." These sentences alone describe exactly what it is I've been paranoid about, yet scared to admit to anyone. My mind is rapidly changing without my consent. My attention span is 60 seconds at best with hardly any motivation to keep it past that marker. I'm only interested in the first few paragraphs of any piece I read, scholarly or not. And Nicholas Carr finally understands my dilemma.

I'm sure we have all experienced this. Maybe most of us are experiencing it, but just too hesitant to admit it to ourselves. Even now, I can slowly feel my attention deviating towards the guitar sitting two feet away from me. I start to think about all the songs I can play, all the notes that are contained in those songs, and how they lay out. Then I start to think about a particular song, the artist who plays that song, and then their entire discography starts to creep into my mind. Before I know it, I'm neck deep in information about information completely useless to what I was trying to focus on in the first place.

In reflecting on that last digression, I can thank the internet. All of its intelligence floating around has given me the opportunity to not only help me study for my future profession, but it's also given me a wealth of knowledge about cats and how well they can play the piano. It's given me knowledge about the Paul McCartney conspiracy I wasted my last two weeks of freshman year of college on. It's shown me great heaps of news on the banking crisis, and hourly updates on the royal baby due in July (fingers crossed).

Basically, the internet has done its job. It has filled my brain with knowledge of wondrous facts that I could use at parties to wow all my friends! But that's exactly what I don't need out of it. I need to reach in, grab the right information, and use that information to better myself in my upcoming profession. And that's exactly my point. As much as I liked Carr's article, I have to slightly disagree. Google isn't making us stupid. Our irresponsibility is making us stupid. It's a responsibility we have yet to grasp as the internet is still teething.

10 comments:

  1. I agree with you when you mentioned, "Our irresponsibility is making us stupid." While the internet is definitely an influential source to our brains at a subliminal or conscious level, I don't think that should be blamed on the internet itself, but rather the person viewing the internet. One person could view the internet more often then others, and both parties will be influenced differently. Anther factor that's at play when determining the internet's influence on a person is the types of websites they're using. Are they playing games? Watching movies? Downloading music? What kind of games? Are they playing "Call of Halo and the Gears of Modern Battlefield Seven" or are they playing "Tetris"? It should be the internet viewer's responsibility to steer away from the negative influences of the internet to avoid being negatively effected by such websites. Now, What makes a positive influential website/game/music artis/ from a negative one? That's a different question that should be answered separately.

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  2. I agree; in fact, you have touched on my group's answer from class the other day about whether or not the internet is making us stupid. We determined that it is doing neither; that the internet is a tool. The responsibility, as you both pointed out, is on us, the users. How are we using the internet? Are we taking advantage of it to further our knowledge? Or are we using it exclusively as a way to 'shut off' our brains and relax? A mixture of both? We are responsible for our internet usage, and we are the ones who can choose to not use it if we feel that it is negatively effecting us in some areas.

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  3. I agree with you on the irrisposibility aspect to a point, even though I am guilty of it myself. I know so many useless facts about music, movies, video games, and actors thanks to random things that I google or look up. I watch a movie and get distracted by the actors because I know them from somewhere else, and have to look them up to see where I know them from. Sometimes I can't even tell you what a movie is about, but I can tell you the actors in it, and what else they played in. Which has no sigificance in my life or future whatsoever. As a society we like to be entertained, and I feel that our desire to be so is distracting us from the things we need to useing the internet for. I don't think that our irresponsibility is making us stupid necessarily, it's just making us more adept to useless knowledge that not a lot of people care about.

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  4. I agree with you that the internet is not making us stupid, we are making us stupid. The internet is making us smarter and hopefully, more critical of what we read whether that be a few paragraphs worth. The internet has provided us with vast amounts of knowledge which ultimately distract us from what we used to think we liked (like reading). However, I can see this as a problem when we start to skim the surface of multiple things instead of investing our time in one thing. Would you rather be good at a lot of things or amazing at one thing? I don't know, but the internet can help us do both!

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  5. At the peril of sounding like everyone else here, I agree. I think that the issue isn't the tool (the internet), but the user (us). This is the case with any new technology. I think that we have to go through a period of misuse, or perhaps less optimal use, before we can truly figure out how it should be best utilized.

    The difference between the internet and other technologies, however, is that the internet has such a wide, wide array of ways to be used. What's happened, is that we've come to see the forest and not the trees. It's easy to see the myriad of misuses, and not the times it extremely useful in a way that nothing else can be.

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  6. I think you've got it right. It's easy to blame a piece of technology instead of owning up to our own shortcomings as human beings. The internet is full of useful information and useless things, and it is up to the user to sort through useful and the useless. It's like critical literacy extended to time management.

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  7. I agree to a point, but then I'll have to disagree. What about those people who DO use the internet to look up useful information? Things that can help them in their jobs or something? For example, I was a judge at a 4-H fair last year. I wanted to be sure I was a fair and knowlegable judge, so I watched youtube videos that 4-H leaders and judges posted giving me tips and tricks to doing better. I also read different sources from kids who were ranting or raving about what a judge did wrong and right. All beneficial and useful.
    Another thing the internet helps us do is find jobs, connect with people we otherwise wouldn't hear from, and help us creatively. Yeah, people abuse the power of the internet, but like you all are saying: using it irresponsibly is what is making people less intelligent. But for those of us who use it to our advantage, we get to reap the benefits.

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  8. I'm sure similar arguments were made when the first gigantic libraries were constructed and filled with ancient texts and dusty tomes.

    "How can I possibly hope to concentrate on reading THIS book when there are thousands of OTHER books all around me! It's too much to handle!"

    As nearly everyone else has said above, I agree that when it comes to using the internet, it's up to each individual to make it worth their time.

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  9. Oftentimes I feel the same way – trying to work on something via the internet, then getting caught up and distracted by the vast information (often useless) that it allows me to see. I think that with the fast paced lifestyle the internet has helped create, we as a society want our answers where we are, as soon as we come up with the questions.

    Although I see this change not only occurring with our generation, but those surrounding our age group as well. We are reading more, even if it is as a scanning reader, and we are able to solve issues in a more efficient manner. I think that our future careers will not necessarily entail focusing in on one thing the way we used to. I feel that in most cases lots of elements will be able to be done faster with the use of technological advances, and we can therefore move on to the next thing.

    I definitely agree that we need to use the internet responsibly, but I see not only our way of thought changing, but the manner in which we communicate and get jobs done adapting to this too.

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  10. I completely agree with you. We have a responsibility to ourselves when it comes to the media. I think we like to pass the blame on the fact that media is making us stupid -but if someone feels that this is true then that person should take steps to educate themselves on the matter. I think it's only a matter of time before people start to take things into their own hands and eventually (hopefully) we will learn to regulate ourselves when it comes to technology. But who knows.

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