The Internet has many positives such as being able to find information quickly and easily but it also has overall negatives such as distractions and shallow thinking. Carr believes that new technology is destroying the way people think. The world is so fast paced now, and no one has the attention span, or even the ability to sit down, read, or retain all of the knowledge found in printed text. Carr discuss throughout the book how much more distracted we are and how this has affected our ability to create deep thoughts.
People used to read books, magazines, and newspaper articles for researching purposes. Now, the normal routine is to use Google’s search engine to find information. Most books, magazines, and newspapers can be found somewhere on the Internet nowadays. A person can purchase almost any book on their E-reader, with an Internet connection, and read it from anywhere. Book stores are basically becoming obsolete. The Barnes and Noble, located where I live, closed down a year or two ago, when E- readers, such as, Nooks, Kindles, and pads, started growing in popularity.
The action of reading and getting lost in a book requires a completely different brain function than skimming articles on the Internet , many people nowadays do not spend their time reading books. Carr explains in his book that our brains need to be “re-wired” in order to do any action. The action of sitting down to read a book requires a large attention span, patience, and the actual desire to do so. Becoming lost in the pages is a deep brain process, which many of us have forgotten.
Not only is the brain keeping itself focused on the same thing for a long period of time, it is retaining a load of information, along with painting pictures with the words. Our brains were designed to be distracted. The act of reading printed text is not actually habitual. The fast paced action of skimming he Internet, being “distracted” by different hyperlinks, is more habitual than reading printed text. This argument really spoke to me and is something I can completely relate to. When was a child I would read all the time and thoroughly enjoyed reading books.
I would read several books a week and spend most of my free time reading. My love and enjoyment of books and reading has diminished throughout the years. I believe my diminished love of books can be linked to the popularity and usage of the Internet. I am too caught up in social media and surfing the web to spend the quality time it takes to read an entire book. Carr believes that people who grew up using the Internet cannot process information like people who are accustomed to reading printed text can. Mind this statement to be true, older people tend to be very knowledgeable on a few specific subjects whereas younger people tend to know little bits about lots of subjects. This can be linked to Car’s argument that people nowadays just skim multiple articles instead of reading an entire article or book. I have fallen victim to this practice, find myself just skimming through articles and books to get what I think are the most important points. I think skimming is k in certain scenarios but when it comes to work it can be damaging.
I have noticed a lot in my industry that people do not want to take the time to thoroughly read through documents and process them. As land analyst in the oil and gas industry it is imperative that read through each lease, assignment and title opinion tract by tract. If I were to just skim through these documents I could miss important information and setup the division of interest wrong for the oil/gas well. My job is to make sure the ownership for the oil/gas wells is setup correctly. One mistake could cost y company thousands if not millions of dollars.
Sometimes it is easier to just skim through a document but it could end up creating more problems in the end. Carr discusses in his book how much technology distracts us throughout the day. “The distractions in our lives have been proliferating for a long time, but never has there been a medium that, like the Net, had been programmed to so widely scatter our attention and dodo it so insistently (108). I am using some sort of electronic device all day and night, whether it be my phone, Pad, laptop or desktop. Often times while at work I will have to put my phone in my ask drawer or purse so I am less distracted and can finish a project.
Having the ability to check my email, Faceable, Instating, Pinsetters and other sites throughout the day causes me to be distracted and not completely focused while at work. At my company people are constantly on the Internet all the time and feel the need to check their email, go on Faceable, look on eBay etc. My company has blocked a lot of the sites, but people just use their phones or tablets to access the information. I believe productivity has decreased because people are now no longer as focused on what they are working on.
They are focused on everything else, the more we use the web the more we train our brain to be distracted. Distraction is a something I struggle with on a daily bases. I find it hard to focus on one task or thought and feel like my focus and thoughts are all over the place. As mentioned earlier I am constantly distracted at work because allow myself to check personal emails, texts, Faceable, Instating and other sites. I often tell myself that I need to keep my phone in my purse or desk and only bring it out when I am at lunch or taking a short break but I have yet to do this.
Reading the Shallows really brought to light how distracted I am throughout the day because of the Internet and technology. As noted by Carr the use of the Internet prevents us from thinking deeply or creatively. Find this statement to be very true. Often times if do not know the answer to something will look it up on the Internet instead of taking the time to think about it and try to come up with the answer on my own. It has become so easy to rely on the Internet for answers. Almost daily I hear someone say “just Google it” when a topic or question comes up in conversation.
Very few people rely on their gut instincts when it comes to making a decision or answering a question. I have fallen victim to this, I will often look up something on the Internet before I make a decision or answer a question. Before the invention on the Internet people had to make decisions on their own without the biased opinion that the Internet sometimes portrays. I have also noticed that my spelling and grammar have dramatically gotten worse the more I use and rely on the Internet and technology. When actually have to handwrite something often times misspell or make some sort of grammatical error.
People including myself have become AZ and rely too heavily on spell check and other tools to correct are mistakes. I think this has really hurt our society especially young children since they have grown up using a computer and relying on these tools to correct their mistakes. Plan to mitigate my reliance of spell check and grammar check by actually allowing myself to think about the spelling of words. The point can be made that the Internet does increase productivity in certain ways because you can access a lot of information quickly.
In my job I use the Internet all day to look up oil and gas well information, lease information etc. I am working the Baked Shale which is located in North Dakota and Montana, without the Internet I would not be able to access the information I needed to do my job. Since my office is located in Texas it would be impossible for me to gather the various well and lease information without physically being in North Dakota and Montana. Also a lot of the engineers, geologist and title attorneys live in North Dakota or Montana, without the Internet I would not be able to easily keep in daily contact with them.
The Internet helps streamline many of the problems and issues we are trying to sort out. Like Carr, I know there are positives and negatives of the Internet and technology. Another valid point Carr makes in the Shallows, is how new technologies are making us lose a part of ourselves and causing us to alienate ourselves. “The tools of the mind amplify and in turn numb the most intimate, the most human, of our natural capacities-those for reason, perception, memory, emotion (206). We often allow the Internet or some app on our phone to tell us how we should feel or think.
Scholars have said that the price of technology is alienation and that this indicates that the more distracted n individual becomes, the less able they are to experience human emotions such as empathy and compassion. I think it is easy to get so wrapped up in social media that you often lose the physical and emotional contact you have with friends and family. I think social media is great for staying in contact with family and friends who live far away but often times we lose the intimate contact we had with friends and family who live close.
Before social media you would actually go to lunch and dinner with people to catch up and see what was going on in their lives. Often times I will just look on social media to see what is going n in someone’s life when I should call them and as or meet them in person. If you look around at a restaurant most people that are out to eat with family and friends are on their phones and not engaging or enjoying the other persons company. It is sad to think about what our society has come to, people are so wrapped up in their phones that they are not living in the moment.
I think the Internet has allowed people including me to become more alienated and less interactive with one another. At my company a lot of people prefer emailing or instant messaging someone over speaking to them on the phone or meeting face o face. There are some people that I work with on a daily bases in other departments that I have never met in person. After reading the Shallows, I think will make more of an effort to meet the people I am working with in person at least once if possible.
Nicholas Car’s book really got me to think about all the negative side effects the Internet has had on our society. I believe the Internet is making us lose touch with the real world. Our brains jump around constantly as if we are browsing websites. We are constantly pressured to look at our phones and reply to messages. People can choose to limit Internet usage; they an choose to engage in deep thinking activities. Too much of anything is not good for any one, and this also applies to Internet usage.