Individuals are increasingly using the internet as a key tool in their quest for knowledge. People can use search engines like Chrome and Google to find information and gain instantaneous knowledge about a specific topic. There were 3.74 billion internet users in March 2017, with over 5.5 billion Google searches per day. The Internet’s reach and penetration are increasing on a daily basis as more people become aware of its concept and use, and as a result, its influence is spreading in lockstep. Information has never been so readily available in our history as it is today. The power to learn about astrophysics read ones favorite newest book or even something as simple as watching funny cat videos are but a mere click or tap of a link. With all of these possibilities at our disposal why, should we ever slow down? A likely reason could be a change in the way that we think. As humans change to try to take in as much information as possible within an extremely minimum time, there is a corresponding change in the way they interact with others. A lack of empathy and change of the way that people think is becoming more prevalent.
One primary influencer of the change of human thinking is the social media. The ability to convey ones thoughts to thousands of people at once is a compelling concept and possibly overwhelming. An author, Peggy Orenstein outlines how she often finds herself wholly infatuated with Twitter, noticing that even the way she thinks about the things her daughter says has changed. In her article I Tweet Therefore I Am, she shares the way Twitter is taking over the way she thinks. Besides, she states, Each Twitter post seemed to be a tacit referendum of who I am, or at least who I believe myself to be (Orenstein par. 3). As she strives to boost her relevancy and image through Twitter, Orenstein begins to question if her thoughts are genuine or merely a paradigm of what she wishes her Twitter persona to be. She makes a great, yet subtle comparison to E.B. Whites book The Trumpet of the Swan. A voiceless swan learns to use a trumpet to communicate to those around him, quite like the way Orenstein uses Twitter to let her voice be heard to those who otherwise would never be able to listen. Orensteins questioning as to whether she is shaping her twitter, or it is shaping her is a not a unique one. Many people who find themselves caught in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of social media feel the same way. Is this artificial connectedness of social media a justifier of the lack of empathy and people skills that many face today?
Over 1.17 billion of internet consumers use Google representing a third of all internet users daily. As such, Google is one of the biggest influencers of the internet. As mentioned in his article Is Google Making Us Stupid Nicholas Carr agrees that social media and the internet characterize adverse impact on individuals in a broader spectrum (Carr par. 3). Though many people see this as an issue, one of the most prominent figures in the development of the internet is embracing it. Google’s Chief Executive, Eric Schmidt notices such changes. As he says himself, Google is a company striving to systemize everything. The change in the way we search the web directly affects some other daily processes. Take for instance Bruce Friedman, who regularly blogs about the use of computers in medicine. I now have lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print, says Friedman (Carr par. 6). He adds that he has taken a new way of scanning short passages of text from multiple sources online.
In conclusion, we may not know exactly how the internet is changing our minds. Nevertheless, there is evidence that it changes how people operate be it the struggle to read along, multiple texts, or the way that Twitter is shaping ones thoughts; the internet is having an impact on the ways that we think. Does this increase in productivity and speed make up for the skills we allow to deteriorate, or are we allowing our dependence on computers to grow too strong?
Carr, Nicholas. Is Google Making Us Stupid? The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 27 Apr. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2017.
Orenstein, Peggy. I Tweet, Therefore I Am. The New York Times, The New York Times, 31
July 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/magazine/01wwln-lede-t.html. Accessed 28 Sept. 2017.