In Nicholas Carr’s article Is Google Making Us Stupid, he talks about how having so much technology at our fingertips has made us have a lot shorter attention spans to think about things or read about them in books. Instead we hop right on a search engine and take the easy way out. He argues that hyperlinks are not similar to footnotes the way some people have compared them because, “Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.”
Billout points out that there are a lot of other blogs pointing out the same phenomenon. Some authors confess they don’t read books anymore just articles online. I must agree that I don’t have a lot of time to read books either (besides books for school). Most reading I do is either magazines or online just out of convenience. I just don’t have the time of patience to sit down and read for fun the way I did when I was younger.
So is the internet use really affecting cognition?
As Billout points out, the internet hasn’t been around long enough for us to know its long-term affects on us.
I found a quote from Billout’s article by Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain very interesting. “We are not only what we read,” she said. “We are how we read.”
In Gregory L. Ulmer’s Introduction to Electracy, he talks about the possibilities of new media. He compares us learning how to use the internet to the Greeks learning the alphabet. Ulmer believes that we need to exploit the full potential of electronic media. From what I could understand of a pretty hard to read article, I think electracy is essentially a kind of literacy in the modern ways of communication.
But is learning electracy really as important to our current world as learning the alphabet was thousands of years ago?
I cannot say if it’s as important as the alphabet, however being electrate is only becoming more and more important in our society todays because so many jobs definitely require applicants to be literate in digital communication. Most jobs expect you to be able to work with Microsoft Office products and social media sites as a minimum. Anything else you know is only a plus for your resume.