One of the most popular phrases of our generation has become, “Google it”. We rely so heavily on Google for the smallest to the biggest questions. Google has saved my grades so many times. Perhaps, this accessibility has made it easier to forget to use our cognitive resources. We don’t worry because we know we’ll find it on Google. Are we totally to blame for it though? We’re the first generation to have access to all these technologies and to not use them would be a waste. If previous generations had access to such technologies, they would have used them like we do. I think it’s engrained in human nature to use the resources given to us to get the optimal result. Access to these resources has allowed us to become more lazy and rely more on the internet, like Nicholas Carr said. We’ve become less dependent on using our mental processes and focused on just typing it into a computer and getting an answer. I don’t necessarily believe that we are getting dumber but we definitely have developed a dependency. I would lose my mind if I lost access to Google or the Internet but I would get used to it and rely back on books and articles. Also, Google on it own can’t make us sound intelligent. Anyone can Google a topic or a question but we need our intelligence to filter out the wrong answers we might come across. Once we find our answer we must grasp the concept and apply it in our own words to avoid plagiarizing. If anything, the Internet is a great tool to assist students who might not have understood a concept in class or have fallen back in class and need help catching up. To me there are more pros then cons. Carr also mentioned that the Internet plays so many roles in our lives. We use it to check the weather, to check the news, to check our bank accounts, to go shopping, etc. It’s convenient and why not use something that will help us save time and effort? I believe it would be dumb not to use the help that’s given to us. That just proves we are still practical human beings who know what the smartest thing to do is which is get assistance on things we need help with. Older generations might frown upon us but I think it’s a pattern. Generations ago they wrote with a quill pen and ink, the next generation (I’m assuming but I should’ve Googled it) invented the type writer and it was definitely more convenient. Each generation will have advancements and things will become “easier” but the generation’s society also changes in what is expected of it. I don’t think a hundred years ago students had to write 5 page papers, now that it is easier to write such lengths, we are asked to do so. Who knows, maybe in the future it’ll become even easier and students will have to write 50 pages on their subjects! (Okay… maybe not)
First things first, sorry if you were annoyed by the hashtag. Peace to you. Now onto the real stuff: Nicholas Carr and his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid”. As the hashtag stated, I’ve read this before; all thanks to the greatest course in the history: Expository Writing. Wooohoooo!
Over the years, being the awesome human beings we are, we have developed our ability to be innovative. Innovators have created a plethora of inventions that helped bring our society to its pinnacle. For example, the selfie stick has brought such convenience when taking pictures and videos (Before the timer was added on the iOS8); If you’re too broke to buy a gopro, the selfie stick is the way to go. For some reason, I still remember the time when my uncle was explaining to my dad what “Google” was and what it can do. I remember him saying “Inday (filipino word as an endearment towards a young girl, not in a creepy way of course) Google will help you with your homework. If you don’t understand a concept or if you don’t know the answer to a homework question Google will have it for you” As much as I love the internet and the convenience it brings to this fast-paced society, I cannot help but agree with some of Nicholas Carr’s points. Reading his article, I think he is quite concern of how the internet is shaping our thought process. Yes, the internet is awesome and never have our ancestors got the chance to experience having such vast information in our very hands, but as Carr pointed out, our minds would drift two to three pages after reading an article/book. Nowadays, articles are shorter, 140 characters or less, 6-second-vines; these mediums have adapted to the small attention span us humans have.
Like I said, I love the internet, I think it’s great and you can find me on any social media platform. But I tend to get distracted easily, even as I am writing this, I tend to wander and look around my apartment walls, thinking about other things, texting my friends–basically anything besides doing my work. But it’s my fault. I think people are too lazy, including myself yes I am guilty of this, to discipline themselves to engage in reading and writing to develop critical thinking. Like Carr said, we our losing our ability to think deeply and critically. In addition, the younger generation, with so much exposure to technology, prefer playing video games and using social media rather than physically interacting with society. As a result, their social skills languish. Without social interaction, it is possible that a person can be narrow-minded. The experience is different when you are physically interacting/ talking to another human being; it creates and develops relationships, that brings the possibility to garner a different perspective on different situations, which expands knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the world.
Google brings so much convenience to this world, as Carr said ” the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded.” I believe that as long as the netcitizens know their boundaries when it comes to internet usage, then there’s no problem. The first step is to admit that we are too attached, only then can we fix the problem. We must not become too reliant.
Enjoy this picture of my friends & I enjoying the lovely weather. Here’s a video I made during our beach day! ALL MADE POSSIBLE MY THE SELFIE STICK.
I have lost track of all the times older people have told me, “your generation has it so easy! I bet none of you know how to use an encyclopedia the right way.” Not only is it insulting that older folks think we are incompetent to do things on our own, and to actually learn how to do things the “old fashion” way, but they don’t see that we are simply taking advantage of whats in front of us. I do not think google is making us stupid in any sense. Like one of the posts, it may be making us lazier, but not stupid. I actually think the complete opposite and find that all the resources google provides actually makes us more knowledgable students. The internet, can always provide one with the latest information, has multiple sources and allows for various research all during one sitting. I am not claiming that books are not useful, people seem to forget that a majority of education is still taught through textbooks and books in general. I can however, also argue that we have become dependent on google… which is where most of our laziness comes from.
Simply put, google makes everything more accessible and easy to understand. But google isn’t just used for educational purposes, it works to do multiple other things. I pretty much google everything. By googling everything, I don’t think that necessarily makes me stupid, I’m just being resourceful. If I don’t remember how to figure out a math problem, why not google how to do it? Would it not be like going back to the textbook to figure out the example? I feel that people, like the article mentioned, are so stuck on making new innovations seem like a negative creation that is shrinking the potential of students and kids in general. “Maybe I’m just a worrywart. Just as there’s a tendency to glorify technological progress, there’s a countertendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine.” Older adults, unlike students and kids, usually have a negative connotation when they refer to anything related to the internet or google. I really don’t quite understand why, because I know all of us have had to explain multiple times how to “search something on google.”
Like I previously mentioned, I do believe that we have become google dependent. Since it is so simple to use, and so useful, it makes it hard for one to not depend on google to give you the directions to the nearest Pizzeria. We also have to consider the fact that we live in a very fast paced environment. There usually isn’t time to go to the library to look up something, when the answer is on the palm of your hand, literally. Regardless, I know that myself as a student, I use google for a lot of my school work, and I can honestly say that I would be lost without it. In a way, the people who think that google is making us stupid, are not really looking at the bigger picture. My generation grew up on using technology as their right handed guide. It is second nature to us. And similarly, older generations are accustomed to using other means. That brings me to my last point, if we are google experts, and the older generation has a very hard time managing the wonders of the search bar, where does it leave them?
I have read this article twice. The first time was in expository writing and again right now. (I’m just happy the response is a blog post this time and NOT a five page paper!) Although, this was my second encounter with the article, I did make it through the whole thing. I got distracted along the way, had to re-read a couple of the paragraphs, and totally had to force myself to focus, but I did read the entirety of it, and I definitely have a few things to say about it.
I agree with what the author has to say when he claims that the internet has changed the way we think. I wouldn’t exactly say that Google is making us stupid, but it has completely altered the way we take in information. We now expect everything to be simple, short, and basically just handed to us. There is no longer a need to search through piles of books, narratives and essays to learn about a specific topic. If you want to know something, all you have to do is Google it. Chances are a Wikipedia article will pop up and the first sentence gives you a generalization of whatever it was you were trying to educate yourself on. Then, if you choose to look deeper into the topic, I can guarantee that most of the time you’ll find yourself just skimming through the paragraphs. So, no, Google isn’t making us stupid (yet); it’s making us lazy and less attentive. Obviously, if I know that I really need to focus on a lengthy article, I can and will, but it does take more of an effort than it did when I was younger (before I had a computer, rarely used Google, and read a book every night).
However, who’s to say that being lazy and less focused isn’t almost or just as bad as being stupid? Yes, we have the mental capacity to be smart and read long essays/stories if we really try, but we don’t nor do we want to! There are so many positive aspects of the internet, but in the long run, are they truly positive? People are becoming so lazy in the way that they educate themselves and even in their work ethics. What if the next step after lazy is stupid? What if we get so used to skimming articles and having it be so hard to focus on long writing pieces, that eventually we can’t focus at all? I think that we really need to evaluate our style of learning and if we see it turning into a something negative, then we need to take action to change it. Google is an amazing medium for anything you ever want to learn about, it would be a shame if its end result was a more stupid generation.
Picture from Google Images.
Despite the apparent rewiring of my brain by the internet, I was still able to get through this article for not the first, not the second, not the third, but the fourth time. I was able to read through every paragraph. Just as Nick Carr himself was able to sit down long enough and concentrate long enough to read the other articles he references, to write this article. Despite rampant fear-mongering, the print business has not collapsed. Newspapers, magazines, books are all still printed and sold.
I hate this article. I hated it the first time I read it and every instance after that. I hate the overwhelming outpouring of claims from any person from the previous generation (and the generation before that) who feels the need to belittle my generation, the way we learn, the way we do things and interact, merely because it’s not the way THEY did things and so that makes it bad. That makes it scary and wrong and, according to Carr, detrimental to the very way our brains function.
However, Carr himself points out that old media is apparently following the trends of new media, to fit in with our new, short-term attention. And if that’s the case, I wonder how we can call the Internet the villain at the end of this book? If old media can interact the same way as new media, then couldn’t we say that books and magazines are now responsible for the change in our brain circuitry? Why stop there, though? If Taylor pointed out this idea about maximum efficiency, maximum speed and maximum output, doesn’t that mean that it was really the Industrial Revolution that corrupted our minds?
Magazines and newspapers, in fact, are an awful example to use for Carr. These were the ultimate source of skimming. No one read a newspaper from front page to end. Every article in a magazine isn’t digested entirely. It depends on the reader’s interest level and investment – just as it does on the internet. Carr was able to sit down and write this article because he was invested in it. This brings me to a point about the study from University College London. This was testing RESEARCH habits, not reading habits. Of course those users were bouncing from article-to-article. They were researching – likely for term papers – topics that probably had little relevance to them and they were no doubt under a time limit. Not to mention, who’s to say whether they printed those articles out? Emailed them to themselves for later reading?
Carr here is relying entirely on a stance of technological determinism – as was everyone who ever questioned a new technological advance. The internet isn’t the downfall of everything bad in the world. Technology and society come together to create each other in an interdependent loop. Humans and society created the internet as what it is today. And the habit of thinking more shallowly, more efficiently – if it has been enacted at all – would have come about all the same even without the internet at the forefront of it.
However. I would argue that there is no real change. I can still sit down and read an entire book, cover to cover. As can many, many of the bloggers I follow (all of us beyond frequent users of the Internet and therefore the perfect test pool for such effects that Carr claims). In fact, a phenomenon that’s brought up is that it’s so easy to read a 700 page book for leisure and so difficult to focus on a ten page article for class. The answer here seems simple – you care about the book you’re reading. The article is assigned; it’s something you have to get through. The book is something you want to get to, for your own enjoyment. So when it comes to Carr and the friends he referenced who are all having trouble with focusing on their reading, maybe the culprit lies not in the internet, but in their age. The same source of their unwarranted fear of the internet.
I don’t think that the google is making us stupid. But I do think that the internet has caused us to take in knowledge differently than before. If anything, I feel that the internet can make us learn more, allowing us faster and easier access to things that we don’t know and want to learn about. The internet has just caused us to become lazy, because we know now that we can get straight to the point, without doing extra work or reading. Why do extra work when we know we can find the conclusion on what we are reading, in a faster way?
The internet has allowed us to become use to making things short and sweet. For example, twitter and facebook only allow a certain amount characters to express ourselves. We are also use to text messaging and other ways of communicating without having to do deep reading anymore, like when people use to write letters to each other. Before the internet and google, people would do a lot more reading but the internet gave us access to many new things. Spark notes for example. You don’t have to actually read 300 page book anymore. All you have to do is access this website and its gives you summaries of the chapters and themes of the story. In the end, the internet is not making us stupid but less tolerant to tedious reading, making us lazy.
I read this article and the first impression I had was, “these are all very valid points;” Some of which I have never pondered before. But it also got me thinking. This article described the Internet as a thief to some of our brain function. Could that possibly be? Something that is basically taking over the world is stealing functions of our brain? It’s hard to imagine but I can’t say I completely disagree. Generations before ours didn’t have access to high tech gadgets and resources like we do now. When doing a research report of some sort (for example), they would have to track down actual literature and sift through the hundreds and hundreds of pages that a resource book, textbook or whatever it might have been had. Although that is still an option in a library that is definitely not most people’s first choice to gather information. We log into our computers (potentially in the comfort of our bed), type a short line into the search box, and hundreds or thousands of hits pop up. The computer just bypassed all the time it would have taken us to go find a book in the library and did it for us because we simply typed a few words into the search bar.
But now, the next point of actually reading the information. This article assumes that because so much of the time we digest information through the web, that we don’t and can’t physically read as much before. Our brain actually changes and has the ability to change over time. I find this to be extremely interesting and thought provoking. It’s hard for me to judge this accusation one hundred percent because I never grew up in a time when reading a 1,296-page novel like War and Peace was a ‘thing.’ By the time I could even read at that level, computers had already been implemented into education and books of that magnitude were no longer required. But what I can relate to, is the person in the article who states, “I can’t read War and Peace anymore. I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.” I think at some point, we have all been guilty at looking at an article and dismissing it simply because it is too long. Attention spans while on the computer are hyper active. There is so much stimulation and it’s hard to stay focused on one thing for very long.
I have to say, I cannot disagree with what this article is saying though. Often times, we crave ease and straightforwardness and the Internet really caters to that craving. It is so easy to find an answer on the Internet and the answer is usually simply put and not complex. That’s not to say you cannot find a wealth of knowledge on the Internet, it’s just that I find myself searching for the simplest form of that knowledge.
The Internet can be a blessing and a curse. I think the quote from the article explains it best, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” I think there used to be a different appreciation for words and knowledge that were deeply stated. Now, there is a stigma against articles and passages that are just too long. It’s hard for me to say though if that really is a bad thing, or is it good that the Internet has made an “express” or simplified version of what we need to know.
In the modern world, our culture and society revolves around technological advancement. These technological changes have made it ten times easier to access information that we would regularly have no access to at all. We, as internet consumers, then use this information in classroom practices, researching, marketing, or recreation. Therefore, I would not agree that ‘google is making us stupid.’ Google is just making us lazy. We no longer have to make the trip to the library to check out a book for a research assignment. In fact, we all moan and groan when the professor says we have to find a TANGIBLE resource. And there’s always that one kid that raises his hand to ask “Well if I print the online article, does that count as my tangible resource?” We no longer have to read a book from front to cover. We can use SparkNotes to get an online summary that just short enough to keep our attention span. I’ll admit my attention span isn’t what it used to be. I pick up my phone to check Twitter every two seconds while I’m trying to read a book. I can’t seem to get indulged in a book like I used too. As stated in the article, I’m completely guilty of bookmarking a page that I INTEND to go back to read entirely, but I never do. My bookmark tab is FULL of them. I never go back. Ever.
However, I do agree with the idea that we are now reading more than we ever read before. With things like Facebook and other social media sites, we pick up more text than we realize. But isn’t the text entirely different?
Are we getting the same experience if we read shorthand digital conversation than we do if we read a novel with elegant prose? I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and say absolutely not. But I also don’t think is making us dumber. We’re adapting to the way the world is changing. If we have information at the tip of fingers every second, WHY NOT USE IT?! Work smarter, not harder. I would also argue that the constant availability of these technological advances does actually make us smarter. I can research anything in the world and have six million results in half a second. Can you imagine how long it would take me to sift through six million books and limit my resources until I found something that supported my research or sparked a new interest?
We have more access to those who have succeeded, more ability to experience trial and error, and start over until we’re successful. We have more access to everything, and I don’t believe it’s hurting us. I mean, yes, there are those people who have extreme paranoia due to diagnosing themselves online, but that’s only one aspect of such a huge tool and resource. So maybe Google is making us lazy, but the advantages of these new and improved technological advances have done far more good for our society than bad.
Like many, I have heard of podcasting but never really ventured into finding out what it really was. After reading this article, it really doesn’t seem like the radio have much of a chance in the future. Let’s face it, radio broadcasting is getting old. The same some gets played over and over and sometimes, if we get lucky, the same song is played on two different stations at the same time. There is no variety. Usually if I am listening to the radio while I am driving, my hand is constantly on the dial changing stations once I lose interest. Let’s not forget, radio has been around for many years and even have tried to revamp the ways that we can listen to radio by creating the IHeartRadio app and even television radio shows. But is that enough to keep the radio alive? I don’t know but it has given radio a little boost. With the IHeartRadio app, people from all over the world can tune in to a radio station in New York for example and the same goes for the televise radio shows. With podcasting, one benefit that I see is that you don’t have to wait to hear something that interests you. You choose what you want to listen to when you want to listen to it. Podcasting, in a way has leveled the playing field because anyone who has something to say and the desire to say it can create a podcast and publish it for the world to hear. It is almost like the audio version of YouTube. Another interesting thing about podcast is that they can automatically be downloaded to your computer and synced to your device. You can literally wake up and have new content, of your interest, ready for you on your device. Podcasting allows you to listen to exactly want you want, no more boring segments on the radio. You are in control. Podcast are kind of like Tivo because you can rewind it, play it over and over, pause it, and even delete it after you are done. You can bring it where ever you want and store it where ever. The BEST part is that most of them are FREE. And did I mention that most of them don’t have commercials. Now I can tell you that I hate listening to commercials on the radio and even hate it more when they have to interrupt a segment just to play commercial. But believe it or not without commercials, radio would die. The purpose of most radio shows is to keep you listening until the next commercial. Who likes listening to ads? Not I. All in all, podcasting was a great invention that puts you in control of what you listen to and gives you an easy way to share your own audio content. Podcasting will soon kill the radio as it becomes more popular in the years to come.
Podcasting has become a great and efficient distributor for the listeners around the world. Instead of thinking that podcasts were created to kill the radio stars, it should recognized that podcasting has benefited the radio, more so than hurting the field. Radio has done the same in return by helping the exploitation for the future of podcasting.
In my opinion, being a fan of both the radio and podcasting, I actually think that both serve for different purposes. For instance, the radio serves a great resource for the latest and most importantly all breaking news. Podcasting on the other hand can do the same, however it’d most likely be after you have already found out the latest news. There’s still room for radio in this industry. As listeners, we get the benefit to listen to live audio. We get to listen to the speakers talk and hear everything they are saying at that particular moment. We sometimes get to catch any mistakes that may be made. Whereas in podcasting, the mistakes are edited out for the listener, hence you never listening to a single error. Personally, I believe that both mediums are friends rather than enemies. They both serve each other and compliment each other.
For example, podcasting is a great source for the on the go listeners. It’s great for listeners who barely get a chance to tune in to live radio. Podcasting has helped numerous radio shows keep alive by supporting listeners the perk to listen to the actual show, just in case you missed, at any given time. Even at 3 a.m. Whoa! Still think podcasts were made out to seek and destroy the radio stars? I personally only began listening to podcasts because of the radio.
Before I began listening to podcasts, I would only tune into the radio to get any news I was seeking. Most of the time it would be sports news. Go figure. The radio become a huge promotional device for the podcasting industry. I’m a sports geek and more for fantasy sports. I just can’t enough of fantasy sports. For me, it’s all about knowing more than your friends and bragging about it in their face. One of my favorite podcasts is, “ESPN Fantasy Focus: Baseball Podcast.” I also enjoy the football edition of the same show. In my experience, I’ve found podcasting so convenient to not only fit my schedule, but to understand the content and words the hosts share. I feel much more connected with the hosts than that of a radio show. I guess it’s because I can easily go back and forth if I missed any words or misunderstood anything. I love the fact that I can tune in at any time I want to. I feel lucky to have that kind of access, really. Whether I’m at work, on my school, writing this post, waiting for someone, or just to pass the time, the show will be there for me when I may need it the most. Podcasting really connects with its listeners on personal level just on that basis alone. While I still tune in to the radio from time to time, I’ve found myself to get away from that medium more and more.
Radio still serves its purpose, of course. I like to think that radio and podcasts will continue to evolve together now. I’ve enjoyed my share of both worlds. I had the fortune to have my own radio show at my previous school. It was a live show, but we also thought about those who were unable to tune in during the live feed. We chose to upload it to SoundCloud, which evidently then became a podcast. There’s a prime example of how both mediums can help each other out. There’s room for both mediums. There’s no need to fight. Eventually, I think both mediums will become more independent, if not already. For now, I say just sit back and enjoy the show.