Have you ever wondered what the Internet is doing to our brains? How it might be changing the way we think; our very minds? Nicholas Carr (author best known for The Big Switch and Does it Matter) best describes how exactly the Internet, and other media, are changing our lives. Carr not only explains the effects the Internet has on us, but also the other media that has been shaping our brains long before the computer was ever invented. He takes his readers on an informative journey through the years leading up to the creation of the Internet, and the change societies took with each step of the way.
Carr talks about societies that did just fine without the use of hyperlinks, text/instant messaging, and social networking, and he explains the change in people since these things have begun. He tells us that even the invention of writing was frowned upon in its earliest years and that people feared it would change them. The philosopher Socrates believed that reading would substitute remembering.
I found the book very educational; Carr writes about many of the important men in our history: Gutenberg, Friedrich Nietzche, Socrates, and many others. The cover of this book may say "What the Internet is Doing to our Brains," but there were many factors before it. He describes how our brains are always changing, always adapting to the mediums of society.
Carr also mentions a possible future for the writers of society, and especially their readers. We have entered a time when some look back on the paperback novel, the newspaper, and especially the notepad, and wonder why we still use them. Why jot things down on a piece of paper when you can do it on your phone. Many people would also rather read their books on a handheld device; though I cannot sit down with any eBook and pay attention. Carr writes that people don’t read the text in an eBook like they would with a paperback book. With the release of the eBook, people started skimming the material more, in an ‘F’ formation, as he puts it.
It worries me that the Internet will completely take over our lives, as it is quickly trying to do. It has been less than 20 years since the birth of the Internet, and already it has affected our lives. That’s not meant in a good way. I have been raised into a world of distractions, with a mind full of them. Television, Facebook, and text messaging have been a main focus for many people, including myself. Text messaging and social networking didn’t come until my late teenage years, but television was there before my first steps, as it was for many others. Now, as a young man, I notice more and more children (much younger than I was) with cell phones in their hands, and expensive computers on their laps opened to Facebook or Twitter. It saddens me to see this among so many youths, and now I can only think about what it is doing to their brains, as well as my own. I am definitely not innocent in all of this; call me a hypocrite if you will. I use Facebook, I send constant text messages, and I watch tons of television shows on my computer, but Carr has definitely got me thinking about it, as he could get you doing if you picked up his book. Of course this has been a topic talked about in many of the classrooms I have been in, but I never thought about what the Internet was doing to me until I picked up this book.