Overload

Artwork curtsy of Matthew Inman (http://theoatmeal.com/)

Have you ever heard of Nicholas Carr? No.  Your kidding? Here, let me bring you up to speed….Carr is a technological critic. He wrote numerous articles, the most famous of which are listed bellow:
Is Google Making Us Stupid
Does the Internet Make you Dumber?

The PC Officially Died Today.
Are Google Maps and GPS Bad For Our Brains

A few weeks ago I bought Carr’s book titled “The Shallows–What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains,” which is, in retrospect a continuation of his Google article above. I am not going to lie, as I read the prologue, I fell asleep. Not because the book was poorly written, in fact it was very interesting and humorous at times; I fell asleep because the contents within the book didn’t really appeal to me. How could it? I’m part of the Peter Pan Generation (Gen Y), our recreational computer usage began in 1998. I was what, 9-10 years old at the time? Even before the internet became  wide-stream, all us ‘Y-folk’ grew up on game consuls….

(Try blowing on your Portal 2 disc when it’s scratched, see if it works any better…)

What I’m trying to say is: We grew up with technology, instant accessibility, and spell check. It’s kinda hard to imagine life without it. Especially my Generation Z brother who doesn’t even remember our land line phone number–and uses text messaging and Facebooking (yes, its a word now) as the only means of communication.

BUT HERE’S WHERE THINGS GET INTERESTING… With the recent storms in Chicago knocking out power for over 30,000 residents, my family and I were one of those lucky individuals who got to experience a three-day digital detox. For three days there was no internet, no computer, no video games, our cell phones died, no TV, and especially no artificial light. Ah…Mr. Carr, this is where you come in.

After an hour or so of sheer panic and technological withdraw,  we lit up a few candles and began sharing fun facts, stories, jokes…stuff that families don’t get to do anymore because of the interference of technology.  I have to admit…it felt surreal, but at the same time euphoric. Honestly, when was the last time you got to play Monopoly with your family?

A day later I finally got to read Carr’s book.
I did not fall asleep.
I did not lose focus.
I understood.  “The more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctly human forms of empathy, compassion, and emotion.”– Nicholas Carr.

There are 204 social media websites on the internet (including Google+), the average teenager (12-19) has 10 social media profiles.  That is 16.7 hours a week just updating your status. Divide by seven, and you got 2.4 hours a day spend on Facebook, Twitter, ect. (And we both know that the number is increasing daily thanks to our 5G network mobile phones)

In two hours I was able to finish Carr’s book.
In two hours you were watching a dozen cat video.

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5 responses to “Overload

  1. Awsome article. By the way, I still have the old game consoles from when I was seven or eight. I have the Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. The last time I played a game with my family was this summer. We always play eurker (a card game) on our campsite to pass the time. Again, great article and I look forward to reading your other ones.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      Trust me when I say that you are not the only one who still owns old gaming consuls. I still have my Sega geneses and super Nintendo and they both work perfectly fine even after 20-something years.

      It’s great that you still play games with your family and friends, not many people do. Everyone just stares at a television or computer screen for hours on end. Human interaction is much needed, especially now with the rise of a digital culture. At least there is still hope.

      I look forward to reading your comments as well.
      New content will defiantly be up real soon.
      🙂

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