Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Growing up around baseball my entire life, as well as playing basketball for the last 10 years, my experiences push me towards a career in the sports media. Watching my father for years, who currently is a color commentator for the New York Yankees, has sparked my interests in the media side of sports. Though sports media can be a very general term, through this class, I expect to broaden my knowledge of the current outlets used in media.
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Being able to use and even create blogs, videos, and websites are crucial skills needed in this field. Having a glimpse of all the behind the scenes action that goes into a single broadcast for a Yankees baseball game, I can understand that there are so many parts and roles that are needed to make the media outlet successful. Regardless of which sport, media is everywhere. Sports coverage is on phones, computers, TV’s and basically every technological outlet available. From announcing to interviews to article coverage, sports is a market that will never die and in a increasingly technology dependent culture, there is only room for growth in this market. The skills I learn from digital communications are a step towards my career aspirations.
As I learn these media skills throughout the semester, it only seems fitting that I will explore and report on the Furman Mens Basketball Team. As a current player, I will able to supply a unique perspective on Furman sports, and Division I Mens Basketball. As an insider, I can offer ideas and knowledge that outsiders do not have access to. I can report and cover our Furman Mens Basketball team as the Paladins enter conference play with aspirations to win the Southern Conference Tournament in March, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Both articles, “The Introduction: Electracy”, and “Is Google Making Us Stupid”,deal with the same issue of the evolution of the internet in the way we experience thinking.
To start, in Carr’s article, the main point is how the accessibility of information on the internet is slowly bringing us away from reading books and using ‘critical thinking’, which is slowly making us ‘dumber’. The best example of this is seen through Carr’s comparison of scuba diving and riding jet ski regarding the internet.
The idea is that today we fly on the surface of the water like a jet ski with the efficiency and convenience of the internet rather than scuba diving deep in the waters of thought with reading and traditional research methods. The internet alters out mental habits by allowing us to skim and find exactly what we are looking for, rather than traditional research from books. The internet is like microwaving a frozen packaged dinner, rather than buying all the ingredients to make it yourself.
The question is, regarding our minds, does the internet actually make us ‘dumber’ or just change our thinking process to become more efficient? Will we have the same concerns when internet is outdated, and the world uses technology that allows us to skim the surface even more? I believe that the internets efficiency and accessibility allows society to cut corners, changing the way we think, but not necessarily make us dumber. I do not believe we need countless hours of reading and research in libraries to have critical thinking.
Similar to Carr’s article, Ulmers, “The Introduction: Electracy”, uses symbolism and metaphors to explain the internets impact of society. To start, this is idea of electracy is understood as the ‘skills’ to understand and use the internet to its full capabilities. The metaphor he uses is the alphabet and literacy. The skills to read and use the alphabet to understand words, are a similar idea of the skills electracy requires for the internet. As Ulmer addresses the change that occurs in society, he uses similar thoughts to Carr. For example, he talks about the evolution from orality to literacy as a change in how we receive information, which is similar to the google article.
The evolution of the world and idea of electracy is understood as joy and sorrow and as a state of well-being, something that is not seen in orality and literacy. One questions that arises, is Ulmer’s explanation of electracy as an institution of entertainment.
Is this implying the institution of the internet is based around and made for entertainment and not just a different way to think and absorb information? In Ulmer’s ending thoughts, he explains how electracy needs to serve digital imaging, and also the internet as a whole, as literacy served written work. Lastly, another question; though society has evolved to electracy and the ‘institution of the internet’, which form of skills and ways to interpret information (electracy, orality, and literacy) are best for our society.
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