Wednesday, 7 September 2011

5 Ways The Internet Is Making Us Dumber

Google search and Wikipedia readily offer answers at our fingertips these days, and as smart as that makes us feel, I feel the Internet is actually making us dumber. Here are a few reasons why:

1.       Facebook Reminders: In the old days, as we will tell our children, there was no Facebook. ‘How did we know who our friends were’, ‘How did you know what they were doing’, ‘Where did you post your pics of you in the bathroom mirror with your phone camera’, they will ask. Yes, there was a time we couldn’t do those things, a simpler time purists will say. Another thing we didn’t have was Facebook reminders which told us when someone’s birthday was, so we had to remember it manually. By relying on Facebook for remembering something so simple, we have become lazy to remember stuff because we depend on Facebook to do the remembering.

2.       140 characters in Twitter: Twitter only allows you a maximum of 140 characters, which means you have to get point across in as few words as possible. While some people sometimes tweet longer, or break their tweets up, most people don’t and shouldn’t because that is kinda against the point of tweets. Most people sacrifice spelling and grammar in their tweets to reduce the number of characters, which leads to a disregard for spelling and grammar in general usage. And anyone who writes stuff like ‘Ur da best’ sounds like an idiot.

3.       Google/Wikipedia Search: I touched on this earlier, how these give us answers at our fingertips, but just like Facebook, this creates laziness, as it lifts the burden of knowledge. So we don’t feel the need to ever know anything because we can always google/wiki it later.

4.       Procrastination: How did people procrastinate before the internet? Internet presents a huge potential for procrastination and distraction, as an example I’m doing this blogpost instead of doing the documentation I should be doing.

5.       Disinformation: We are supposedly living in the Information Age, but in reality the Internet provides just as much disinformation as information. As Terry Pratchett said, “A lie will run around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on” (I just read that some James Watt guy said this, whatever, I read it in a Terry Pratchett book) With Twitter trending topics, rumors are easily started but not as easily stopped. You can even find two totally contrasting answers to the same question and whatever your bias is you will consider that the ‘truth’.

Till next time in Waseem world.

1 comment:

corpsekicker said...

I agree with all 5 points. In my case though, 1 doesn't apply because I never bothered to remember birthdays before Facebook anyway. Points 2, 4 and 5 are insightful and well made.

3: I struggled for a while trying to explain how the acquiring of knowledge is the difficult part and having it is the goal. The internet being just there makes the acquiring easier. Don't you google on the spot? Once you google it, you have the knowledge, right?

PS Happy Birthday.