*Note: Week 7 was Reading Week so we didn’t have any official readings. Instead, I wrote my second assignment based on the digital analysis of various news media outlets. Yes. Exciting.*
This week’s readings really hit my core being. I found myself nodding, laughing, then nearly crying. I believe I have become addicted to the Internet. Read my thoughts below and let me know what you think in the “Comments” section.
Question: Think about the notion of “attention” and your own use of the Internet. Share some of your thoughts in the discussion forum.
I feel like my husband has written the questions this week. Am I on some sort of reality show? He’s always pestering me about being online.
“Can you put that away now? Can we sit down and watch a show? Why are you always on your phone?”
This seems to be a regular refrain in our household.
It’s true. I am online A LOT. If I’m not on my phone, then I’m on my laptop. I am either checking email, reading articles, listening to podcasts, or texting with friends. Lately, I’ve made a deal with myself that I will not check work emails after 8pm. Such an arbitrary time. Why 8pm? Why not 7pm?
But I digress …
I still check my email after 8pm; I just don’t respond until the next day. Yes I know … I clearly have a problem. But I am slowly working towards not checking my phone at all after work. Period. It’s just taking me a while to get my brain to understand this …
Carr’s article really resonated with me; I could have written it myself. You have to understand … I am an English Literature teacher. Reading is my life. But ask me about the last time I read a novel (answer: October). Like Carr, “my concentration … starts to drift after two or three pages” (2). I have stacks and stacks of books on my shelves: books I’ve purchased, books I’ve borrowed, books that have been recommended by friends and students. They will sit there until the next holiday when we are traveling and I won’t necessarily have access to wifi, thus being unable to surf the Web, thus picking up a book to read. (so many thus-es…)
My husband is not as active on social media as I am. He seems to think that I am obsessed with the Internet, which I guess is true in a way. What he doesn’t understand is how much this obsession upsets me. Don’t get me wrong; I am happy with my knowledge of current affairs, but I’m not happy with how the Internet has changed the way I read. Maryanne Wolf maintains that with the increase of online reading, “our ability to … make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged” and I tend to agree with her (4). How sad is that?
I am, however, feeling a little optimistic after reading the Nature article. Nick Bilton, author of I Live In the Future & Here’s How it Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain are Being Creatively Disrupted, believes that those who are “net savvy” have “brains [that are] learning, benefiting from practice and experience” (Bavelier and Green). Hooray for the Sage Surfer! (that’s me!)
Late last year, I decided to give up Facebook for a week (ooh! A week! How brave!!) I did it, but let me tell you, it was hard. I kept wondering what was happening, who was posting, what was I missing??
You know what I was missing? Nothing. Not a thing. After a week, I anxiously went back online only to notice that … nothing had happened. I don’t even think anyone realised I was offline. Now maybe that’s because it was only a week (a very looooong week), or maybe it’s because everyone is so caught up in their own lives that they didn’t notice. Either answer is valid. The question is: why did it bother me so much?
Is there an Internet Users Anonymous? I think I’d like to join.
Let me Google it and see where the closest location is …
Bavelier , Daphne, and C. Shawn Green. “Neuroscience: Browsing and the Brain.” Nature, no. 470, 2 Feb. 2011, pp. 37–38., doi: 10.1038/470037a. Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.
Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 2008, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.