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As I think about Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” My initial reaction to his question, before diving in to read his thoughts, is that ‘no I believe it has many advantages to helping us gain more knowledge than taking the time to pull out a book or make a phone call to find the answer’. This past summer, I worked in my university’s admissions office, and when we did not seem to know the answer we simple said “let’s Google it”.  It seems so easy to pull up the Internet hit a search engine, and boom you have an answer.

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After reading through Carr’s thoughts, I believe he makes some valid points as to how the Internet can manipulate our brain into a shorter attention span. I believe there are many factors in which contribute to this idea. One factor being that with the 21st century moving towards a more technological base world you can do anything and everything on the Internet. Whether you are using it to research a topic for your English class, to connect with friends through different mediums, or to surf the web for different ideas for a project you are working on, there are many distractions taking you away from your main priority. One of Carr’s statements that stood out to me relating to this notion of convenience was, “the result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration”.

Another issue I would like to factor in is that I feel as though this time and day the Internet as a whole leads people to become not as motivated than they were before. Carr speaks of a blogger (Scott Karp) who writes on the issue of online media, and one of Karp’s recent arguments included the notion of convenience. With everything being a simple click of the button and having everything you need right in front of you, there is no need to get up, move around, pull out text books or use anything hands on.

After getting into more of Carr’s reading, I began to think about how personally having a text in hand is something that I have always appreciated. Reading online can be hard because I feel as though one’s eyes can get lost in the sea of the words put onto a page online. Being able to highlight and write notes in the margin is something that I know in the future I will miss once media fully takes over. What ever happened to the good ole days where, if you were want to read a good book, you could curl up on the couch and dive on in? We are now in the world of Internet, iPads, and Kindles for reading and writing, and the concept of being able to physically turn the page is lost.

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After reading an article written by Reed Ulmer titled “Introduction: Electracy”, I can relate the thought of our “technology base world” to Carr’s reading. Ulmer brought up some very good points and metaphors referring to our Internet being that of an institution in which we must become literacy efficient to be able to understand the notion of electracy. Ulmer brings in many theoretical and historical frameworks including electracy being part of an apparatus.

He brings up the question, “what is the skill set that someday may be assumed of electrate people native to an Internet institution?” One could answer many of things; maybe it has to do something with the institution online itself, or perhaps the only skill needed is having the literacy efficient skills so that you can read online and answer question.

Your Thoughts

So my question to you is this: must one really be able have the literacy skills, such as Ulmer talks about, if Carr’s concern is more about if the Internet as a whole is causing us to become less intelligent?  Is it easier to learn reading from the web, or how do you feel about books in hand?

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