We have millions of funny homemade videos get uploaded and downloaded everyday on YouTube. Billions of people are connected and share their privacy through Facebook. When there is something that we can’t find an answer to, we rely on Wikipedia or Google for those questions we don’t have an answer to.
We follow our friends’ and celebrities’ daily activity via Twitter. We network with professionals through Linkedin. The fastest and easiest way to buy and sell things is on Ebay. Craigslists can help you find good bargains on clothes, cars, and real estate.
Internet has become something we are connected to everyday. Now a day, wireless connection is omnipresent, all these Internet sites are easily accessible through a smart phone; One tap on your smart phone, or your tablet, you are at the site you wanted to see, read or like. Having to live in a digital media friendly society, I understand the pros of the Internet era. However, having to be born in a book-friendly society in which having no Internet was normal, I feel that people in digital media generation are less focused, less productive, and less creative.
Here are the reasons why I feel that way and these are the reasons why I feel that Internet is slowly making us dumber as Nicolas Carr states it as well. First of all, we constantly get distracted and interrupted by the emails, texts, tweets, facebook updates and etc. It is impossible to get away from these because our life revolves around Internet. Everyone carries around a smart-phone and the phone is connected to all these applications that not only entertain us but it also troubles us at the same time.Here is a good example of how people get distracted and interrupted.
“One study of college students found that 84 percent get instant messages, Facebook updates, texts, or other interruptions at least once in any given hour; 19 percent get them at least six times every hour. And for 12 percent, the interruptions occur so often that they’ve lost count. ” (website 1) In an article “Does the Internet make you dumber? ” by Nicolas Carr states the following. “The common thread in these disabilities is the division of attention.The richness of our thoughts, our memories and even our personalities hinges on our ability to focus the mind and sustain concentration.
” I totally agree with this statement because without being focused, the work being done will not be up to our full potential nor would it be of good quality. There are too many distractions and interruptions that create short attention spans already. Yet, these distractions and interruptions are increasing exponentially; new websites such as Pinterest and Vine is getting massive response from the netizens.There are too many things going on and people are starting to lose focus.
You know why? Because there are too many things to keep up on, instead of it being one. Secondly, living in a hectic media friendly society, productivity seems to be the most noticeable problem in our generation. Not being able to concentrate, not knowing what to do, and not being able to prioritize are the three most common weaknesses in majority of the people in our generation. Here is a good example of a typical college classroom.
“Half a class of students was allowed to use Internet- connected laptops during a lecture, while the other had to keep their computers shut. Those who browsed the Web performed much worse on a subsequent test of how well they retained the lecture's content. While it's hardly surprising that Web surfing would distract students, it should be a note of caution to schools that are wiring their classrooms in hopes of improving learning. ” Internet itself is made to increase our productivity because it gives us easier access to useful information in a timely manner.However, we use it to our disadvantage. As Clay Shirky states that in 20th century, most of the time was spent watching television.
Now, we have those free time to spend on the Web because it not only gives you ways to watch missed episodes of your favorite show but it also gives you a way to connect with people who you haven’t spoke with in years in one click. Internet has allowed us to multi-task but is this multi-tasking efficient? I’m afraid to say No. When we multi-task, our thoughts and concentrations are divided.When thoughts and memories are scattered, we can’t perform at our highest level for the tasks given. There is a good study that shows doing one thing good is better than doing multiple things poorly.
“In another experiment, recently conducted at Stanford University's Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab, a team of researchers gave various cognitive tests to 49 people who do a lot of media multitasking and 52 people who multitask much less frequently. The heavy multitaskers performed poorly on all the tests.They were more easily distracted, had less control over their attention, and were much less able to distinguish important information from trivia. ” The researchers were shocked by the outcome.
They had expected that the multitaskers would have gained advantages from their “on-screen juggling” ability. But that wasn’t the case. They were considerably less adept to transitioning one task to the other than the non multi-taskers. Do you think you are a good multi-tasker? I would much rather be productive in one thing than be inefficient in multiple things.
Whenever we face hard problem solving questions, our first response usually is “Google it”. We don’t want to know the process of getting to the answer. We just care about the outcome and this seems to be the problem in our generation. When we struggle for an answer, it makes you creative. You juggle with questions with your knowledge and you try to get to an outcome you are satisfied with.
If it doesn’t work, at least you know you tried. Yet, all the answers can be found in Google, if you just put your curious about in the search box. Life is simple but we are less creative.Also, with all these creative art tools, digital tools and all these application on the web that are accessible, anyone can create something “cool” but is that really being creative if anyone can create it? Internet makes sharing too easy for everyone.
They can post pictures, upload videos and share what they feel on the Internet in seconds but creation takes time. As Clay Shirky mentioned in her article “Does the Internet make you smarter? ” she said it took about 100 million hours of human thought to create most important English reference work in less than 10 years.”However, I can select an app tool, take a photo with that app, and create something amazing, is that really a creating value? We skip all the process of getting to that outcome but we are happy to get the best outcome in a matter of second. Everyone will be creating the same thing and these outcomes will lack creativity.
What I’m trying to say is that Internet could help us become more focused, more productive, and more creative. However, the way our generation is using the Internet is making us distracted, inefficient, and unoriginal.We are not using the tools on the web to make ourselves better yet we put ourselves into temptations of social media because we just want to be connected with everyone around us by sharing our day to day activities, what outfits you wore and what parties you attended over the weekend. One less facebook sharing, one less tweet, and one less search in Google would make us smarter but we have not found a way to control ourselves. I believe that Internet is making us dumber and we need to find a way to better utilize the Internet before it is too late.