Me, Myself, and the World Wide Web

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The introduction of the Internet in the early 90s started a movement that is still growing today. The online realm of the World Wide Web creates a medium for people to share their ideas while also acting as a tool for individuals trying to gain knowledge. The ability to search and receive hundreds of thousands of hits in less than a second has completely reshaped the way students and businesses learn and interact with one another. In Nicholas Carr’s article Is Google Making Us Stupid?, he explores the reality that many individuals young and old have developed new thought process  due to this ideology of instant gratification brought on to us by the internet.

 

In the beginning of the article Carr says, “my mind isn’t going as far as I can tell but it is changing”. I would agree with him as I am a frequent user of the Internet and have felt similar side effects of prolonged use. In my personal experience I have found myself being less attentive when reading long article or books especially those that would be considered “dry”. I have developed a tendency to skim articles or read the first two paragraphs and then skip to the last two to get the gist of the article. I’ve developed a habit of using the find feature to search article for keywords before reading or dismissing them. Carr who was a lit major describes similar behavior and says “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”

 

Carr also describe the growing movement amongst Internet users, which he calls “power browsing”. I myself can testify to using this technique when in need of new music, articles for schoolwork, or daily browsing of current events. The search and advanced search features of most search engines has provided the ability to narrow the search fields so that the first few hits are all pertinent information to the topic or keywords that you plugged in to the search engine. This accuracy combined with other features such as “find word” and “text to speech” have been the bane of my existence and severely hindered my attention and ability to read.

 

In an Introduction: Electracy article on Networkedbook.org the idea of a new age of web-based thinking is explored. This idea of electracy is recognized as a cultural movement away from aged literary style of intellectual intake heading towards one of the online e-reading realm. This article discusses how society has been undergoing these ideological changes since the birth of humanity, and describes the movement from oral to literary communication. The article says that “electracy is to digital media what literacy is to alphabetic writing: an apparatus, or social machine, partly technological, partly institutional”. I would agree with this statement for several reasons the first being that the Internet has been ingrained in our society today as a form of social communication while also being the medium of searching for school and professional work alike.

 

As an individual who has been born into this digital age I find myself confronted with both the desire and need to use the Internet in my day-to-day life. Whether it be FaceBook chatting friends from home, receiving news updates from Twitter or scouring online databases for school research I spend a good portion of my day on the internet. In recent years I have noticed the growth in the mobile online market and it seems as if one can no longer escape the grasp of the Internet. I have begun to recognized this on a daily basis doing activities that most wouldn’t think involved the use of the internet like going for a run. Using the Nike+ app on my iPhone I record the distance and time of my run, but what doesn’t cross most peoples minds is that the Nike+ app accesses 3G networks to track your run like a GPS.

 

I think that the Internet has drastically changed social, educational, and business dynamics in our culture today. I think that it has helped in some ways while hindering us in others. I believe that it has only just begun to grow and is far from reaching its maturity. In the next few years I think that there will be new laws regulating the Internet more strictly as well as business opportunities for online and mobile markets.

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