Is Google Making Us Stupid? Essay on Social Media
Modern use of internet technology has, without a doubt, changed the ways in which we as human beings handle thought processes, reading patterns, and function within our society. Nicholas Carr, notable author of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” takes on the ramifications of this ferociously exciting yet daunting shift we are experiencing in modern day human evolution. As we become more immersed and dependent on technology, we must consider both the positive and negative effects of this inevitable transition.
Carr compares the use of the internet to the usage of typewriters, pen and paper, and even oral tradition. Writing processes are a poignant way of acknowledging that our era of tech dependence is really one of many technologies that have changed over the course of history. Each new way of processing thought and information has brought its benefits and concerns. Carr mentioned in his article that even the great philosopher Socrates had his own argument against the use of writing over carrying knowledge through the oral traditions. Carr states, "Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads." Although writing has supported tremendous positive human development over the ages, there is a connection to Socrates concern even from the early transition to written language.
In regards to internet usage and how it is affecting brain function, thought processes, and the way in which we read, I feel connected to Carr's concern with my own ability to maintain the attention span I need to dive into what I am reading. The internet is designed to provide efficient snippets of information meant for browsing rather than deep analysis. Keeping a perspective that can appreciate the achievement of the internet while noting concerns of how it is changing the way we function as a society seems to be an appropriate and balanced to reflection to have.
Carr expresses his own personal experiences that have shifted the way in which his mind works. He states, “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.” As an avid reader and professional research writer, Carr exposes himself on an honest and hauntingly real issue. In his current and avid use of the online medium, he now is having difficulty maintaining his concentration and deep critical thinking mind for more than two or three pages of information at a time. The subtle changes in brain functionality may not seem like a big deal at first, however this shift in the way we think may have powerful consequences and horrifying negative effects.
When we come to consider the explosion of social media and social networking today, it is nearly unfathomable to imagine a world where Facebook or some other social media platform would not maintain its critical role in our day to day lives. How would we function without the use of status updates, messenger chats with friends and family, or the “likes” we receive each day for an insightful post we decided to share with our network? With the expanse of internet technology the world has never before experienced the globalization in our ability to communicate. However, the constant connection to others through the medium of a cell phone or technology device may be hindering our ability to maintain in person connection in our day to day life. From shorter attention spans, greater difficulty concentrating and processing in depth information, to depending on social media for gratification and becoming socially anxious in real life situations. Is this the consequence of modern technology to come?