Digital communication deals with a wide range of technologies, including social media, multimedia presentations, cell phones, websites, podcasts, email, etc. This semester, the spring of my junior year, I’ll be taking a course on digital communication which will be taught by a professor who has worked hands-on with different forms of digi com for years. This blog will be used throughout the semester to record my attempt at discovering an online brand and style all my own, one thats creative yet classic, and fun yet witty. That sounds about right.
“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” & “Introduction: Electracy”
For our first assignment, our class had to read two articles: “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, and “Introduction: Electracy” by Gregory Ulmer.
The Carr article was interesting. It deals with the idea that advances in technology have changed not only the way we work, but the way we think, and I agree. When was the last time you actually sat down and read a book? If you’re like me, it was before the age of social media. I read the entire Harry Potter series in high school and back then I could be lost for hours in the pages of any good novel. In contrast, now simple chapters seem to take hours, whether they be in a text book or a read I chose myself, and this is because I’m so use to super-fast information and text being 140 characters or less. Social media is designed to be as quick and entertaining as possible, as well as to feature quantity over quality. So I wouldn’t necessarily say Google is making us stupid, but incredibly lazy compared to prior generations.
Try this on for size. My grandparents have always lived in a small rural town called Camden, South Carolina, and by the time she was twelve, my grandmother was cooking full meals alone. “Why can’t you cook?” she asks me now. “I can cook, I just don’t want to when we have pop tarts and ramen noodles to eat.” This is the same with today’s technology. I don’t want to do library research or struggle to remember how to spell a word, not because I’m not capable of it, but because I have an amazing tool called Google that can do it for me. I think it’d be more stupid to not utilize such a technological breakthrough.
The sad part is that while I know how to use Google, I can honestly say I never go passed the first page of search results, not because I don’t know how to, but because I’m lazy. “My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles” (Carr). Not only has the internet been developed to be as quick and efficient as possible, but it has become so quick and efficient that frequent users are associating every bit of information with the way the internet works, like books. Its interesting because this phenomena has been going on since the invention of the written alphabet. When words came about, people worried that the human memory would become weaker, which it did. But at the same time, the alphabet brought about new ways “to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge” (Carr). So while Google has made us lazy, it has also opened many doors that we hadn’t even dreamt of before it.
This idea of not knowing what doors new technology will open leads to the electracy reading, which was much more complicated than the Google reading, might I add. It described this concept of “electracy”, which basically alludes to the fact that when a new technology arises, it creates “a new possibility of reason.”
The electracy article left me puzzled, so I found another blog called Inventing Electracy that provided numerous definitions of electracy from different people who were familiar with Carr’s work. A response from Carissa Wolf helped me understand things a bit better by stating that there was a shift from orality to literacy, and now from literacy to electracy. With each shift, there are sacrifices that must be made to acquire it (as with from orality to literacy, the human memory was not exercised as much, and from literacy to electracy, there are many outcomes, such as the laziness described by the Google article). So from what I understand, we are living in the age of electracy, and electracy happens when the internet is used to open doors and level platforms that we never knew we would be able to. This concept has no ceiling.
In your opinion, what makes an interesting webpage? Whether it be a blog, social media network, or newsfeed?