Monday, March 28, 2011

Media Monday: Should we power down?

Seems like everybody is talking about "hyperconnectivity" and information overload in the past few days. Friday night I heard Josh Tesh ask on his radio show if the internet is making us stupid:
Is Google making us stupid? It sounds harsh, but some experts say yes. Neurologists and psychologists have discovered that when we read, our brains process Internet pages differently than they process printed pages. A difference that affects how much we learn – and even alters the way our brains work. That’s because the human brain “rewires” itself depending on how it’s used, something that neurologists call “plasticity."
Tesh argues that we need to turn off the computers and allow time for critical thinking and analysis of the vast amount of information we're reading online. Time to process and create our own thoughts and opinions about the subject matter, instead of consuming more and more short blurbs, news-bytes.

Another article on Poynter addresses this issue. The writer, Steve Meyer refects on his South by Southwest Interactive festival saying:
The challenge at an event like South by Southwest is that you spend all your time packing new ideas into your head and not enough time processing them. William Powers, author of “Hamlet’s BlackBerry,” would have told all those people to stop running around and staring at screens, and instead create some mental space to unpack everything they had seen and heard.
Meyer also quotes David Carr of the New York Times on "hyperconnectivity" saying he's so busy keeping up with email, twitter and RSS that:
“Lately I’ve been so busy promoting what I do,” Carr lamented, “that I don’t do what I do.”
So media friends, what do you think? Do we spend too much time consuming on a superficial surface level and not enough time reaching a deeper level of analysis and critical thinking?

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