Monday, February 27, 2012
It's not bad, just different
We argue whether or not the Internet is in fact hurting our generation’s ability to stay attentive, and whether or not we learn and think the same way anymore. Well in my opinion, we don’t think the same way. I’m not saying that we are beginning to lose intelligence or anything along those lines, though the way we go about finding and analyzing material is just; different. In The Shallows, Nicholas Carr talks about the impact language and books had on our society. He specifically states that “the growing ability of books fired the public’s desire for literacy, and the expansion of literacy further stimulated the demand for books,” (Carr 70). And this is a statement that really stood out to me.
When we hear people say that the internet is hurting us, that we can no longer concentrate or read the same way, do they consider that maybe its not hurting, maybe its just changing? Before the Internet was even made, people relied on newspapers, books, magazines and other forms of written work for information. Reading was the “big thing.” Reading was all that people knew, and were used to. Just think about this for a minute. When people first starting writing things down and publishing, people weren’t used to it at first. It took time for it to catch on, and it took time for people to adapt. This is what I believe is happening now. With technology constantly progressing, there is nothing we can do but hold on and enjoy the ride. We simply cant stop progression. But we can adapt to it. By using the Internet, we may have lost a little bit of our attention span, but we have gained other skills as well. Personally, I believe that our ability to find information, and knowing where to look has really improved. But it’s not just that. Yes, we may no longer read a full text if we don’t have to, but that means that our ability to understand what is important and what is not has also amplified. Some people may skim papers to get a gist of things, but others will try to understand what they think is crucial information and what is not. That’s not a good nor a bad thing, its just different approaches people have to reading and processing what they have read. That brings me to another point. If someone really wants to sit down and read a book, then they will. It’s a personal choice, and although the Internet may have impacted ones attention span, if they want to do something, they have the ability to.
So when Carr says that “the growing ability of books fired the public’s desire for literacy, and the expansion of literacy further stimulated the demand for books,” (70) we can see it as something else. Maybe the innovation of the Internet fired the publics desire for more technology, and the expansion of technology stimulated the demand for more and more of it. If that’s the case, its time for our generation to adapt to what we now know, and what is only going to evolve.