After reading both of the assignments for this week, I started to think about my thoughts about the internet and my own ways of reading. I have to say, I don’t think the internet is making me stupid, at least not in terms of my reading, and I’m not afraid of technology turning us into an army of thoughtless drones.
In “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” the author discusses how he and his writer friends no longer have the attention spans for reading long articles and find themselves skimming things, losing focus, and often times avoiding things they once would have read without an issue. I don’t think we can blame the internet for these things. I think we could blame being overworked and perhaps the motivation of the individual. I’m a Lit Major too, and I’ll confess to skimming certain long articles or books for various reasons. Usually it’s because of the number of pages I have to get through in a certain amount of time, one not large enough to read every word on every page.
Skimming articles and short attention spans are nothing new, certainly not things that can be solely blamed on the internet. The original Cliffnotes, those little yellow books with the black stripes, appeared in stores long before Google become accessible to everyday people. That is to say, people have always been doing these things. The internet is just the newest scapegoat. Before kids were leafing through classics and long books to go outside and play; now they’re hurrying through homework to get online or do whatever kids do these days. (Kids these days!)
Independent reading isn’t dead, as the author goes on to suggest, and the internet isn’t killing it. Technology is just granting access to simpler forms of “beating the system” to the people who don’t want to dedicate their time to research, close reading, etc. The people who want to do those things still will. Technology can only affect a person as much as they allow it too.
What do you guys think?