An Atlantic Monthly article has been the subject of discussion on many blogs lately. I’ll link to Michael Hyatt because his is easy to remember. The actual article is “Is Google Making us Stupid” by Nicholas Carr. Many of the bloggers discussing the article claim that the Internet has caused them to develop short attention spans, and they have lost their ability to read books and longer works. I’m not aware of any so-called “scientific” research into the subject, so my ability to discuss it is limited to the same subjective experiences the other bloggers are limited to. Of course, you didn’t come to this blog for objective scientific peer reviewed research, did you?
Is the Internet making me stupid? I don’t think so. I follow more than 80 blogs on Google Reader (they don’t all update every day.) I do a lot of reading and research online. Yet, when I sit down to read a book, I’m still able to digest works written on a Master’s or even Doctorate level, assuming the material is interesting.
The one thing the Internet has done to me is make me lose patience when a written work fails to get to the point. I skim magazines a lot more because it seems like most of the text is extraneous. The same goes for newspapers. I don’t actually read newspapers, but when I read news articles, I quickly get bored. I want the headline, and some supporting facts. I don’t care what kind of BS the journalist needs to fill whatever word count he or she has.
Honestly, that’s the only thing I notice. It’s not my attention span the Internet has wrecked. It just taught me how to maximize time by finding the point and moving along. It taught me to ignore the work of lesser writers.