Blog: 20: “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr

“What the Internet is doing to our brains”

Nicholas Carr explains that over time he has found that he can no longer keep his focus when reading a long book or article. He did a self-study on his online habits and found that because of the Internet he is having a harder time focusing on large amounts of text. He went out and asked a few of his friend, many of which are bloggers, and found that they were suffering from the same thing.

Studies had found that when online all media are mashed together. So when your reading a book online there are other mediums, like flashing ads, up-date “bings” from your email, pop-ups, etc., that distract you from the text. Unlike a physical book that you can read that is only filled with the author’s text from cover to cover.

Others have found that the way we think is changing because we don’t have to solve a problem or look up an answer by reading thought manuals, instructions, books or articles. We can go online, ‘Google’ our question and within seconds our answer appears; our brain is no longer having to work to find/learn the answers.

In the past most thought that our brains were fully developed by the time we were adults, where all the connections were made and co not be broken or changed. More recent studies have found that “the brain has the ability to reprogram itself on the fly, altering the way it functions,” according to James Olds (professor of neuroscience  who directs the Karsno Institute for Advanced Study at Georgia Mason University), (Carr, 60).

Google’s initial goals as a company is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful…to develop the perfect search engine;” this search engine that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want,” (Carr, 62). I think that Google has succeeded and is the best search engine on the web today.

In the Internet world, Google’s World, “we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation…The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive,” (Carr, 63). The faster we surf across the Web – the more links we click and pages we view – the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link – the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction,” (Carr, 63).

Lastly, Carr says, “we lose those quite space, or fill them up with ‘content,’ we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture,” (63).




I want to take a  little portion of my last (class assignment) blog to say THANK YOU to Dr. Johnson for making class fun and a little different. Assigning us readings that we had to blog about through out the semester and for showing me a new way to communicate via Twitter. It was something I never thought I would try but after seeing all the positives to it I’m HOOKED! Looking forward to tweeting with you! Have a good holiday season!

Follow Me!


I’m Too Sexy to Give a Damn

Reblogged from clementine motherfuckin cannibal:

via I’m Too Sexy to Give a Damn.

Crap! What if he doesn’t want to use a condom?

Crap! What if he doesn’t want to use a condom?.

I’m Too Sexy to Give a Damn

I’m Too Sexy to Give a Damn.

Blog: 19 Video Essay Discussion – Video Sites

For class we had to make a Video Essay. You may be asking, what is a Video Essay? It was described to me as thus: an essay, a written paper what was created by research, use of quotes and other references, the Video essay is to take the written part out and present your research by make a short video of your findings

This was a group project so as a group we chose Video Sites like YouTube, Hulu, and other sites that we devoted to video posting, viewing and streaming. We decided that they best way to get our information was to go out and ask the right kind of questions. So 2 members of our group went out to interview UTD students. We had fun (well I know I had fun… I hope the rest of my group did), they nicknamed me “The Whip” (I hope I wasn’t too controlling). Any way I hope you enjoy our Video Essay.

A Video Essay about Video Sites

Blog: 18 My Reseach Project – Positive Effects on Military Recruiting because of Social Media

For my research/critical paper we had the option of choosing our own topic. I like and dislike this option because on the ‘like’ hand I can choose something I’m passionate about, therefore it shouldn’t feel like a paper, just something work intense with a reward in the end. On the ‘dislike’ hand getting to choose your own topic can be changing and you could easily choose something that is easy (which will make you look lazy to our teacher) or you can pick something challenging to show your NOT lazy but it could bit you in the butt because it’s too difficult.

So keep the statement above in mind. I bantered back and forth with a few ideas and I have finally decided. I am going to be researching the positive effects social media has on military recruiting. I will also cover the negative side of it all but I am very passionate about military, because of my grandparents, my boyfriend, a few of my friends (and their siblings) who have all join and have served or are still serving. I was one of those that really wanted to join right after high school. I hadn’t really applied to any universities, and my test scores were a bit lower than average (as to be accepted for a dyslexic and dysgraphic child). I had spoken with a recruiter; I had talked to my dad about it. I was ready to serve, and then I had to tell my mom my plans. She begged and pleaded and cried. I knew then that I would not just be giving up my life, I would be leaving my family and they would be so worried and my mother would never forgiver herself is something terrible would of happened to me. So I backed out, went to a community college for a few years then I ended up at UTD. I can’t lie that I have a “what if” always pestering me in the back of my mind but I have to look forward and I know in my heart that what I’m doing now is exactly what I want and I am so happy!

My boyfriend, Austin, served for 2 years in the U.S. Air Force, is always telling me stories of all the training he had to do, what he was taught, how much he wished he could go back, but of his knee he cant. He is so passionate about it all; he gives real and positive advice to those that want to serve or those that just thought they might want to serve. Because of Austin I have become more passionate about my chosen topic.

What I want people to get out of my paper is that Social Media does have an effect on those that join the military, but to also remember that social media has an effect on almost everything we do today. I want to show people, especially those that don’t want their sons and daughters to join, that it’s a great honor and a mature choice to make. Of course there is always going to be a negative side but I want those that always see the negative to, at least, acknowledge the positive.

U.S. Military Branches (on coins)

Blog: 17 “Digital Nation”

FRONT LINE: Digital Nation

This episode on FRONT LINE is a follow up of Growing Up Online, broadcasted 2007.  Digital Nation hit many key points, as did Growing Up Online, so in today’s blog I’m only going to commit about a few topics that caught my interests.

Stanford has been doing research about how we multitask by using brain-imaging scans. Results have proves that multitaskers are poor at every task they do, they are unable to think clearly which means that every task they working on while ‘multitasking’ is not getting 100% of the person’s attention meaning that the task, when completed, is poor, ‘half-ass,’ terrible.

Another study was done with students; children spend about 50 hours a week with digital media. This is causing an effect, which shows children’s brain activity is small, small = better?!?!?! It seems that children and long-term use of digital media is a good thing when it comes to looking at a brain activity scan. Their activity level quality is better than a child that doesn’t use digital media.

In Asia there is digital revolution taking place. In South Korea they are called Internet cafe; a place where there are multiple computers connected to the Internet, a computer’s main used in this kind of setting is for online gaming.

South Korea - Internet Cafe

A 15-year-old boy was interviewed for this segment. His mother believes he as an addition to the Internet, it as been diagnosed as a psychiatric disorder. His grades were dropping because of his excessive gaming. His mother said he is unable to communicate with her because he is so invested in his games, he doesn’t even sit at the table to eat dinner with her. There are free rescue camps, where this 15-year-old boy is sent, to treat physical damage that is caused by excessive gaming (like eye strain, and hearing problems).  The camp gives children no access to a computer or the Internet, so in they’re ‘free-time’ children are to play outside, this is suppose to help them “connect with their childhood”

In American schools, children (as young as 2nd graders) are taught to go online with “healthy Internet Habits.” They are taught Ethics, Etiquette, and Manners while online, these studies will branch forward to teaching children about the technical aspects of the Internet. One teachers said, “education [has changed, and now] has a different purpose…technology is like oxygen.”

The last topic I wanted to touch on is how media is being used to help our military vets recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Studies (in the VHI Lab) have concluded that the human brain cannot differentiate from the real or virtual world(s). This information has been transformed into a therapy for military veterans. As part of their therapy they emerge themselves into a virtual world, in combat, where gun shots and bombs and other dangers seem like a real threat, but because it’s a virtual world the user suffering from PTSD has control of the situation and knows that he/she can not be physical harmed in this world. PTSD suffers can learn how to control their flashbacks, and cope with the stress, that will hopefully allow them to recover.

Blog: 16 “How social media can make history” TED presentation by Clay Shirky

TED: “Clay Shirky: How Social Media can Make History”

I love TED presentations. They are so cool!
This one was so interesting, Clay Shirky, explains how Social Media is making and changing history as well as changing the ways people communication between others.

Shirky says that Internet is the next revolution; it is “many-to-many.” This means that many people can reach out and communicate and share with many other people. Unlike in the past before the Internet, for example the phone is a one-to-one where one person contacts one person. A few other examples are the radio, public papers (newspapers and pamphlets), books, and television which is an all many-to-one. Many people, writers, speakers, and actors/directors can reach out and inspire, share, and communicate with one or a singly person at a time. Shirky says that the “Internet is a mash up of all technologies…everything from our past can be found online – everything is mashed up and next door to each other.” He is so right! I can make calls (for free) to anyone in the world from my computer, I can listen to the radio and watch TV shows and movies from my computer, I can read newspapers and books from my computer and I am able to do all those things at the same time if I wanted to.

“The Internet is still changing after 20 years [and] becoming more social,” says Shriky. He uses China’s more recent and deathly Earthquake to explain this statement. The news about China’s Earthquake spread faster than news has ever traveled before, and it was spread by the people of China not the news reporters. The horrible news was spread from person-to person my texting, posting, and tweeting. Civilians were sending images of the damage to Facebook and Twitter and through text messages, which lead to the spread of the news via the Internet and Social Media. The Chinese government learned about the Earthquake from its citizens. With in the first hour of the quake if you search for the Top Ten links sent/shared (in the world) you would of seen 8 of them links to China’s Earthquake and other sites like the US Geological Survey. Only a half a day later donations sites popped up everywhere. After the earthquake protests broke out because civilians found that the school buildings were not built to code and collapses during the quake killing hundreds of children.  Protesters used social media to spread the word and get more followers. The Chinese Government now has to make a difficult decision. They have to choose to open all gateways to the Internet or shut the Internet down completely. They have to act because the Internet is full of new (amateur) news that is becoming harder and harder to filter and the Chinese government can no longer handle it all.

Shirky moves on to Obama’s campaign site. Where millions of people rushed to support him then he changed his view on a particular point and his supporters disagreed with him. They made a new site that was agents Obama’s view. These, now angry and disappointed, supporters realized that Obama never shut down the site; he didn’t try to hid what the supporters had posted on his site. Shriky called this example, “Mature use of Media,” where Obama convened with the supporters and did not control these supporters.

The TED presentation ended with Shirky explaining that “[the Internet] is a way of creating an environment for convening and supporting groups.” With that information Shirky asks, “How can we make best use of this media?

Photo of Clay Shirky at TED

Blog: 15 “How Obama Tries to Win Twitter & Influence People” and “Infographic: Who Is Using Twitter, How Often, and Why?”

Infographic: Who Is Using Twitter, How Often, and Why?

How Obama Tries to Win Twitter & Influence People

Both articles were interesting reads. “How Obama Tries to Win Twitter…” didn’t surprise me. He should be trying to find new ways to connect to the public. He used Facebook and other social medias to get elected so I think it’s only right that he keeps adapting and growing with new medias to make his presence more known. He made history by being the first President to Tweet Live. He has been using Twitter to communicate with his followers by answer questions that are posted/sent in his Twitter page. In the article he answers many questions seems to have fun with it. The end of that article brings up a good point. Is this a good idea? Is it a good think that there is no longer a filter between the White House and the direct public? The reading says that there is not transparency any more; when news from the White House and about the President needed to be shared to the public it went through a filter when posted in newspapers. They would only share what they thought the public wanted to hear and what would make their papers sell. In today’s new world of communicating directly with the public, Obama could answer something incorrectly, have miss spellings, etc Which in turn would make him look like a idiot, and the public would loose all care and hope. On the other side being able to directly answer questions gives the public an answer, shows us that Obama is a real person, really cares about what we want and need. Back the negative; does Obama really know who is asking the questions? A user may be see at @coolJoe which could be a older man that thinks his hip because he can use Twitter, a college student who is interested in politics, a young kid that is asking questions for his mother (who doesn’t know how to type), or it could be something much worse like the enemy over seas. Noting that the president would answer any questions that would compromise US security. I think I’m trying to say is that because there is no filter, Obama and the White House can make mistakes and it could only be one and we all could be in danger.

So what do I want to do? I don’t want Obama answering questions on his own; he should have a team helping him, the same kind of team that writes his speeches. I do want Obama to keep using Twitter and other Social Medias; I just hope that he takes ever percussion. But at the same time I DO NOT want the White House illegally searching our Twitter pages (if you have them on Private) to find out who we really are… I don’t want this to become something that it doesn’t need to be; I don’t want US rights to be broken.

The second article, ” Infogrphic…” was a ‘fun’ article. I didn’t have much written text (traditionally) but I was a fun graph (I guess you would call it) filled with percentages and stats, and other fun facts about who is using Twitter, how often they are using it, and why.

Who, How Often, and Why people use Twitter

Who is using Twitter, How Often, and Why?

I think this image from the reading can explain it’s self. Again I found it fun and I loved all the small facts that I learned.
So if you think back to Obama trying to use Twitter to reach his followers and the public. Who is he really reaching? If only 8% of the US population is on Twitter… are we really talking back, asking questions? Is Obama really trying to connect with EVERYONE or just those that ask questions through Twitter?

Blog: 14 “Who Uses Facebook and Why?” & “A Reply to Facebook Critics” by Facebook and Phliosphy

These were two short readings, starting with “Who Uses Facebook and Why?” talks mainly about SNS’s, Social Network Sites. It says that 1 our or 3 Americans have and use Facebook. Studies have also found that children and teens do not always use Facebook, older people do use the site but Facebook is geared toward younger people. The reading talked about the Digital Drive, DD, which is a division between those who do and those who don’t have effective access to digital communications (i.e. lack of a computer, internet connection, computer skills, etc). This reading also talked about how SNS could be used as a tool to help promote a more balanced use of information through ‘pages.’ Which is something I have talked about in class and a topic that comes up a few of my other classes. SNS are also growing and are making a bigger gap between those that are more privileged to those who are less fortunate. In hope that SNS, like Facebook, will empower less privileged groups and expose people to others, new ideas, and new opinions. If Facebook is a tool that will help us connect we can learn more about things that are as close as our community or on the other side of the world. SNS also make it easier to communicated with anyone and everyone, it is a communication network.

The second reading, “A Reply to Facebook Critics,” explains how people use and interact with Facebook. It starts off with saying, “the things on Facebook are really pretty meaningless. Not that they can’t have meaning, but simply that they don’t. Or, at least, they don’t until we get our collective hands on them,” (top of pg xxii). I thought this made an excellent point. An example that was used in the reading was the “poke” a thing you do on Facebook, but why? What does it mean? Is it “someone trying to communicate with [you],” is it “a non-verbal ‘hello’,” or a flirty “kind of game of poke-and-poke-back,” or “can it be a reminder” from one friend to another (pg xxxii)? “How are we going to decide what has value and meaning in the world?” (pg xxiii)  The reading also talks about why we post things that are not important, in the section called “why I Care about Your Sandwich,” and it explains that I would care about what your having for dinner because I care about what I’m having. “Not because it’s important , or meaning, or noteworthy, but because I’m viewing it from the inside,” (pg xxvii). This reading concludes with questions; “Is Facebook a…waste of time? …Are people [a waste of time]? Is friendship?” “None cab be without our caring investment in the members of your own personal communities-by choice, by circumstance, or by birth,” (pg xxx).

Interesting discussion, I found that I agree with everything that is said in these readings. I see Facebook as a social place to communicate, network, and promote yourself or a company. I can see how those with computers are more ‘privileged’ than those without. It makes since that those with out are not relieving the same kind of commutations with a worldwide audience. I’m also realistic and know that the world will have equality, there always has to be some with more power or ‘privilege’ than others.
The second article really got me thinking. When I first started using Facebook I was one of those people that posted everything about my day, what I had to eat, What I was going (even if it was watching TV, doing homework, cleaning litter boxes, etc.). Now that I’m in college and having real conversations and discussion with others on Facebook and Twitter I find that I’m posting things are would be more interesting like a YouTube video I watched in my class, an article I read of homework or pressure that really inspired me. When I see posts like, “Dinner time…chicken pasta!” I just ignore it. I have gotten to the point where I really don’t care what you are eating (unless you made it yourself and you have a picture, that I may want to see), but over all I rather read something you are truly interested in or something that you did that was out of your norm.

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