In Nicholas Carr’s article Is Google Making Us Stupid? he talks a lot about improvements in technology changing the human brain. With the introduction of new technologies, like the alphabet, printing press, or even the clock, our minds start to act more mechanical. The internet is no exception to this rule, and the way the internet has changed how we think is that we have been conditioned to be more efficient. Carr argues that because we have the opportunity to jump around to different sources so effortlessly and can skim quickly for what specific information we desire, that our long term attention has suffered. Does that by itself make us stupid? He closes his article saying that there have always been skeptics when it comes to new technologies and that we should only take his words with a grain of salt.
Two of the articles we looked at talked about the relationship social media (Facebook) has with the feeling of loneliness. The one argues that having social interactions readily at our fingertips gives us reason to not have face to face interactions with other people, making us more withdrawn from the real world thus making us lonely. The other article argues that social media is only a tool for us to increase or decrease how we interact socially. A person who is popular offline with most likely still be popular online and vice versa.
The other two articles focused on anonymity online. The first, still looking at Facebook, brought up an example where drag queens were getting their profiles banned or blocked because the agreement Facebook has says you can only use your legal name, or some variation of it. The last article drew attention to sites where no names were given. These sites however inevitably turned to just braggart stories about self praise.
The introduction of this book talks quite a bit about “dog poop girl”, an incident about a girl who wouldn’t pick up after her dog that went viral. Because this girl wasn’t adhering to social norms, the internet took it out on her, posting all sorts of information about her private life. One section I really liked was the mention of confrontation. Before the rise of the internet, the only way to punish someone for stepping outside of the norm would be to physically/verbally confront the person, or to just passively give them the hairy eyeball. Now, with the ability to connect to millions of people, someone could just share a picture and let the people of the internet do the rest of the work, finding personal information and giving that to the world.
“It Takes a Village to Find a Phone”
This article focuses on the rise of more capable groups with less managing. The first half tells the story of a woman who loses her cell phone in the backseat of a taxi cab. Through the carrier, it is found out that a young girl has come into possession of the phone. When she refuses to comply, the first woman’s friend puts the story online where it receives massive exposure. There are many people online who give tips to the friend, and this eventually puts pressure on the NYPD to get involved. The ease of communicating to others with social media lets there be the creation of groups comprised of individuals with varying skill sets that want to do work, instead of needing to do work.
This article follows the story of Henry and Sarah, two teenagers who spent the majority of their relationship online in two different parts of the country. The author talks about how non-physical means of affection have been a part of relationships for centuries, but recently this has become much more common with the ability to reach out to nearly anyone in any capacity.
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