A claim that Google is destroying our ability to pay attention
Nicholas Carr, writing in The Atlantic, says:
Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
I disagree with Carr’s thesis, which I gleaned from a quick skim of the article. Hey, look, lolcats!
Update June 10th:For a more substantive response to the article, I would point out that I do spend a lot of time skimming, flitting from link to link until I end up with something like this, but I do not experience the problem Carr has with deep reading. Concentrated reading of novels, poetry, essays, etc., is a skill which requires a certain amount of practice, but if one practices, it’s a skill one doesn’t have to lose, Google or no Google.