Today’s society focuses around convenience. The rapid acceleration of developing technology is exactly that, a convenience. I remember reading encyclopedias to find out information before Wikipedia came on to the scene, and now I refer to Wikipedia at least once a day. We, as a society, have access to worlds of information with just a single click of a button. The miraculously of this luxury has been forgotten and we now see it as a standard of life. We shop online, we communicate with people across countries, we even try to find our soul mates through the internet. Carr, Wolf, and Miller all agree that technology and the internet have taken over the social world at such an increasing rate that we as a society do not really realize what happened or why. We just know what is, and we all rely on the quick and easy convenience that new found technology brings us in order to do all of our daily activities. The sad part about this is that we only think about the positives that come out of this and not the negative side affects.
In “The Coming Apocalypse” Richard Miller argues an excellent point that modern education has not been able to integrate the technology and social media that we as a society use as our main method of entertainment and learning. As an avid Gleek, I remember one episode where Gwyneth Paltrow, playing a role of a substitute teacher, would tweet her students throughout class. It was meant to be humorous, but all I could think of is how that probably got the students to participate more in the classroom, instead of just sitting there and listening. We have been conditioned so that hearing the sound of a “ding” come from our phones, computers, or other handheld devices immediately makes us think of fun and happiness, and it is a proven fact that students learn material better when they are actively engaged in the lesson. So why is the learning curriculum throughout our entire educational career unchanging? We grew up in the technology era, this is what we know better than anything, but why can it not be incorporated into our school systems and universities? I am not calling for a complete overhaul of the curriculum, because the classics that we are taught in school are classics for a reason, but they are not easy for the modern day average student to get through. You are trying to make an individual who lives off of 200 word statements and even quicker text messages to try and understand hundreds of lines of Shakespearian poetry. This just causes a complete clash of civilizations and makes the students not want to understand the deeper message behinds words that sound like a foreign language to them. And the clash is only going to be worse with each new generation. I have a nephew that knows how to use the internet, a cell phone, and a tablet and he is not even in kindergarten yet! Before you know it all higher education will be online which would extinguish jobs and the actual experience of the learning environment and opportunities that college provides.
Another idea that Miller, Carr, and Wolf agree with in each of their articles is that the massive amount of time and energy we spend online rewires our brain. The human brain never really stops developing, it can constantly change depending on it’s environment. In Nicholas Carr’s essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid”, he opened my eyes to ideas I never really thought about before even though they were literally right in front of me. I have always been a huge fan of literature whether its classic or modern. My favorite smell is a brand new book straight off the shelves and I constantly lose myself in pages and pages of written word. But a lot of people are not like me. I have noticed that my ability of, what Carr states as, deeper reading is starting to diminish. Also my attention span has become increasingly shorter in the last few years. I never would have thought that it could be because the internet and other technology and the way that everything else that I read throughout the day is written. Carr states it perfectly by saying ” a style that puts efficiency and immediacy above all else may be weakening our capacity for a kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology made long and complex works of prose commonplace”. Even traditional media has had to adapt to its audience’s new expectations due to social media. I am still stunned that I see hashtags on news channels and newspapers. It is our fault. We allow this to happen, in fact we want it to happen. We would rather be interested in everyone else’s lives and activities than our own. It makes us feel included and it is a self esteem booster, because we think people actually care about the things that we post on Facebook, Instragram, Twitter, and all the other social media networks. I honestly regret social media networks, because the majority of the time people post the most meaningless and uninteresting garbage that becomes a waste of my life after I am finished reading it. It’s all a lie. My Facebook says I have over a thousand friends, but in reality there are only maybe 20-30 people that i’m friends with on Facebook that are relevant to my life. But at the same time it gives someone the opportunity to create an entirely new persona for themselves. So there are pros and cons to the internet, but I do agree with Carr, Google is making us stupid.