As I was waiting for my lunch I read a review of a book by Nicholas Carr, ‘The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember’. This examines how the internet has changed the way our brains work. Carr suggests that it is reducing our ability to think critically and to concentrate on specific tasks for sustained periods while encouraging a superficial, skimming approach to interpreting information.
He states ‘Repeating habits reinforce those connnections between brain cells so if you neglect more focused ways of thinking, those pathways will ultimately fall apart.‘ … Increased interruptions increase stress levels and reduce short-term memory.
A Stanford University study of people who regularly multi-task have shown they’re less productive than ones who don’t.Â Did you know that a pleasure producing chemical (dopamine) is released when we find new pieces of information, eg looking at tweets, blogs, emails, social networking sites etc. So we will seek out these online interruptions more often to get our pleasure fix, increasing our multi tasking activities but also reducing our effeciency!
Carr states ‘if you want to maintain concentration and think attentively you have to practice it – use it or lose it!’
I had been thinking how weird it is that so many people are now texting or working on their mobiles whilst also (supposedly) engaged in another activity like listening to a speaker or involved in a conversation.
To me this is rudness! It certainly does not give the speaker presenting information or the person you are engaged in conversation with, the respect or acknowledgement for their time, energy, information, knowledge nor you presenting good listening skills in response. What kind of society are we producing now? People who have forgotten how to give eye contact, or how to listen fully to another person but would rather give their attention to a machine! (their mobile)
I love the internet,Â this amazing technology has changed my life. However, I certainly do not want to end up only capable of writing or reading or concentrating on 140 characters at a time!
Balance that’s what it’s about. Tweet, blog and text but please do continue to read books and longer articles. Continue to have those face to face conversations giving good quality attention, with listening and talking skills. You want to be appreciated back, don’t you?
I offer consultation time for those wanting to learn how to switch off their minds, find peace and chill out techniques. I give you quality time which you then give to yourself for improved life-work balance. For thoseÂ working inÂ media, creatives and publishing – help regain that joy d’vie.
Extracts: Metro 25 August 2010, In Focus review on ‘The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember by Nicholas Carr. Article by Andrew Williams, edited by Vicki-Marie Cossar and James Day.
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