Seems like an odd question doesn’t it. Google, the greatest search engine on the planet. The Internet enterprise started in a garage by two Stanford University graduates. How could it possibly be making us stupid?
Nicholas Carr asks himself this question and encourages others to do the same. After reading his article one can understand why the question is actually quite valid.
A subject which is mentioned often in Carr’s article is reading. The difference between reading on the Internet and on paper, and how our reading has been affected due to technology. Personally, I can say that I also find it difficult to read for long periods of time without my mind drifting. One second I’ll be divulged into the text and the next I’ll be thinking about dinner. The interesting thing I find when I catch myself slightly drifting is that I believed I was still reading. I had convinced myself that I had read a paragraph or two, when really I was just thinking about dinner and not actually retaining any of the information which I had only looked at.
As Carr suggests, these changes may have come due to “spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet”. I believe this is exactly the case, but spending a lot of time on something doesn’t always change the brain. It is the content and how the Internet is written that is affecting our reading skills. As we learned in our Media Writing class, the online edition of the newspaper is written much differently than the print version. Some things are left out, and often more pictures are used. Now some people argue that, they do this because they are aware their readers are reading differently now and often skimming instead of reading. The dilemma is similar to that of, what came first the chicken or the egg? Has writing on the Internet always been changing our brains? Or, have Internet writers changed their style of writing because they have thought that our style of reading has changed? Regardless, there is no doubt that the way we read now has been affected by the Internet.
Whether you feel you’ve been changed by the Internet, or feel that you’re reading differently there are two key questions you should really ask yourself. Is Google making us stupid? But also, more importantly…
What Have We Turned Into?
– Ian McDougald