Dumb – No, Distracted – Maybe, Impatient & Lazy – Definitely!

Maggie Jackson’s intro to her book Distracted, and Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google making us stupid” definitely makes you take a step back and reconsider the effects that social media is having not only on our culture but on our physiological beings.  I for one can say that the thought of my brain being altered because of my recent Tweeting, Blogging, and time on the internet is more than a little unsettling.

Do I really believe these tools make us dumb or distracted, I say no to maybe on the short term.  It is something new; we can’t possibly understand what the long term affects might be to our eyes, brains, reflexes, etc.  If the use persists we need to be concerned.  Like the loud music hippies and Yippies of my GenX generation, they really did suffer long term hearing loss…   it was real, even if they didn’t believe it at the time.

What I am positively sure of in the short term, is that these tools have made us lazy.  Does anyone actually walk into a library any more?  How about write a long hand letter on special stationary? I feel that their is value in taking time, taking stock and reflecting in a moment that is all ours.

Definition of impatient: Updating Facebook in the bathroom stall…and sending photos to a friend.  Yep, I heard it all “going on”.

That I am especially sure can wait…

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Talking Cats, Teaching Dogs & feeling what it means to be TTT

You all know by now that I love a good title for my posts.  Something that might intrigue you to the point you will actually click, read, and comment on it.  I personally LOL (the old meaning that is – not the new) when I came up with this title, as I thought back to last nights presentation of Internet Culture.  What I learned from class last night was just how little I know about the internet and its culture.  I liken my internet experience to someone who frequents the library, but only reads from the autobiography section of books.  It’s not that autobiographies are bad, there are just so many more books in the library to be flipped through, read, shared and appreciated.  I would never consider being dismissive or even challenging those in the library who like to read self help books, fiction, etc. ; they are not better or worse than those who read biographies – they just have different interests, they are seeking something different from their choice of books, etc.  So, this was a Ahh Haaa moment for me.

While I really don’t get the 4Chan thing, … I am ok with it.  While I am a dog person, who could not appreciate the humor of a cute chubby cat that says funny things in kitty talk? – it’s funny and we all need a good laugh some time – there are REAL are health benefits to laughing! For the more serious side of the internet, flicker, youtube, yammer, etc. these tools offer tangible value to society in terms of collaboration efficiency, mass communication efficiencies, low production costs, etc. and their high usage and massive stored content are the very artifacts proving that.  The bottom line, we are diverse – the internet is a reflection of our combined society – therefore the internet is diverse.  We have so much to learn about it…

In terms of preparation for the class this week, it was so much better than the prior presentation.  Early collaborative brainstorming, direction consensus, self assignment all worked with the help of Google +, without all of the noise created by Twitter.  Twitter could then just be used for confirmations, minor clarifications, and approvals.  There were real benefits of Google + in that everyone had equal voice and the synchronous nature ensured there were no disconnects in our thinking; it was nice also just to see everyone’s face while we were talking.  I realized personally just how much I depended on that F2F channel of communication for understanding.   The downside of Google + and Google docs is that they are still working out a lot of kinks.  The help blogs say it all – and I am one of many that can’t seem to overcome the microphone/voice  issue; it is not an isolated case per the blog/comment logs.  Hopes are they will have it fixed BEFORE the end of the semester.  While it is good to see everyone and hear everyone – having to IM in place of talking is really cumbersome and takes away the synchronization value of the tool for me a bit.  Also, Google docs doesn’t always covert powerpoints cleanly to their format; it occasionally black screens slides with effects in them and or whacks the formatting, so that resulted in some awkward moments as we shifted from presentation to presentation.  Trivial in the realm of things, but a bit of a barrier for creating a fully collaborative presentation.

Finally, the “Back-channeling” (BC) that we did last night in class (thank you Hanjun for giving me the name) was for me exhausting.  I found myself unable to really give all of my attention to the presenter the way I would normally, instead I found myself distracted by the important, inquisitive and funny items everyone was sending by Twitter.  The real time nature of the BC discussion made it relevant, but it seemed to take something away from the presenter I thought.  Perhaps BC it is something that is an acquired art form like pacing yourself in a marathon; you won’t get it the first time you go running, but with experience – you choose your sprints wisely.

I am sure the time of the class didn’t help, but with all that information coming to you from all directions – it left me to invent a new “word” for our internet language dictionary TTT – To Tired to Tweet.  In the end, I learned so much last night… but for sure, I am going on a tweeting fast today after a TB (tweet binge) last night!