is the internet reshaping your brain?

November 13, 2013

theshallows_custom-s6-c30What do you think? Are your reading habits changing because of the Internet? Have you noticed that where you once could sit down and enjoy a lengthy article or large portions of a book that now you quickly get bored and want something different? Are you as able to think deeply and at length about a subject or do you find it harder to sustain your thinking?

In his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains , Nicholas Carr says Yes!, the Internet is impacting the way we think. Read these quotes from the Amazon description of the book: 

“As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? . . . Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. . . Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. “

Also, read Michael Hyatt’s blog post on the subject.

Take a minute and think about how your thinking has changed since you started using the Internet. I am not an advocate of not using the Internet at all, but I wonder if I do need to review how much time I am spending skimming over this rich well of information and maybe spend more time in good books and complex articles.

The Internet is part of our lives now, but the question for me is – is the Internet a tool I use well or is it my master and shapes my thinking?

What do you think? How do you manage the impact of the Internet on your life?

BG