Monday, March 28, 2011

Shallow

Last week I was having lunch with a colleague at work and I commented that I felt my brain was changing.   I mean that I feel like the huge number of things I read per day/week are changing the way I'm learning and connecting.   I follow 230 different blogs/sites, I read a lot and I follow the news on TV, etc.  The net effect of all these inputs seem to be that my attention span is changing (shorter, but I scan more) and at the same time, I'm connecting more dots together between things I read and things going on my life.

I recalled that there was a book called The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr and after that lunch, I looked up the book and downloaded it to my Kindle.   The opening chapter was one I could completely relate to as it sounded like me.
Over the last few years, I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain...I'm not thinking the way I used to think.  I feel it most strongly when I'm reading.
The book describes someone who grew up as computers appeared and as the internet came into existence and it described the author's introduction to these new tools and how it changed his behaviors.   I've gone through the same things.  It felt like I was writing this.

The book talks about how those of us who are on the internet are being changed by the hyper-connected, hyperlinked, RSS, twitter, facebook, etc. world that we live in. We are adapting to scanning lots of material in a short amount of time instead of reading long stories/novels as previous generations have done.   The book does not attempt to define one way as better than the other or more dangerous than the other, it is just different.

There is a lot of interesting material in this book and I can't talk about it all here.  I recommend you read the book. I can tell you that I can see the effect in my own life and that I'm paying attention to it now.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

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