Monday, 13 May 2013

What are we doing wrong with the Internet?

Over time the Internet has been increasingly present and increasingly affordable. It gives us access to endless content and information in quantities that were never available in the history of mankind. But even the good side of the Internet can hide some inherent problems that may be changing how we assimilate the information and how we relate to it. 

The fundamental question is, what are we doing wrong with the Internet?

Studies estimate that the excess of stimuli that we receive while being constantly connected to the Internet may be changing the way we assimilate the information and also the amount that we retain this information. The problem is not the amount of information we have access to but these stimuli, which due to the fact these are constant prevent us to do the processing of memories and it assimilation. This problem has been increasing because we are increasingly connected to the Internet and constantly being stimulated by the information we receive by our contacts and also by the sources that it can provide.

It is important that we move away and we are able to isolate ourselves so that our brain can process the information it receives while filtering and store it. To portray this problem Nicholas Carr and the team of Epipheo Studios released a video where this main topic and other key issues are presented. See below (3:54):

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, released in 2010 and where this problem was presented and analysed. The question I leave to you, the reader, is if you know that you are exposed to these stimuli continuously and if while knowing that you can isolate yourself to protect from all their potential harmful effects. It is true that the Internet is an almost inexhaustible source of knowledge and it is always available (as long as there is connection!), but it must be used wisely. We should be able to isolate and stop being dependent on it. We should use it as our need but not to be immersed in all that it offers us, good and bad and in a constant manner.

One Year without the Internet

On this, you might find interesting that Paul Miller, a technology writer for The Verge, performed a curious experiment over the last year: He quit the Internet. Miller replaced his smartphone with a feature phone. He got his news through TV and newspapers. He embarked on what he thought would be a liberating journey to find himself and a life not dominated by the immediacy of information and communication. See video below (16:44):

As mentioned previously it is healthy to step away, read a book, write something by hand or just digital detox for a couple of days. But it is important to know the difference between taking a break and giving up. The Internet is what we make of it as it is important to learn how to compartmentalize the digital self from the physical self. The Internet does not define a person. It is a part of what people do and what makes you… you. But it should not be seen as core of your existence.

Miller, in the end, came to a similar conclusion:
    But then I spoke with Nathan Jurgenson, a ‘net theorist’ who helped organize the conference [on Theorizing the Web]. He pointed out that there's a lot of "reality" in the virtual world, and a lot of "virtual" in our physical reality. When we use a phone or a computer we're still flesh-and-blood humans, occupying time and space.

If interested, read more about Paul Miller experiment here:

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Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.