A quote that stood out for me in Carr came in the beginning of The Shallows when he stated, “…media aren’t just channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation” (6). Prior to reading this book I never thought about, or considered, the fact that technology as a medium such as the internet, may in fact be the cause for the way I think today. Carr notices that before the Net became such a staple in his life his concentration on paper and reading in general was a lot greater. It made me begin to wonder, as someone who grew up with technology at the tip of my fingers for the majority of my life, has it effected my focus too? I began to think about when I was younger and if my ability to concentrate for long periods of time was stronger than it is now. But as I think about it, it’s harder to draw up answers. I can’t say that this has affected me in the same way as Carr. I wonder, do I lose concentration and check my phone now simply because I have the freedom to do so whereas the younger version of me did not? Do I only lose focus when it is a subject that doesn’t interest me? By growing up in the world of technology I realized it’s harder to decipher the effect it has had on my life, my brain, and my way of thinking but the idea is intriguing and something I will not be able to avoid thinking about from now on when using the internet as opposed to a book.
This article discusses a study by a neurology professor, Adam Gazzaley, who agrees that technology changes our ability for cognitive thinking. Our cognitive abilities coincide with our ability to focus, accomplish, and complete tasks. However, the article goes on to talk about multi-tasking and how we need to limit our distractions. I found it interesting that it doesn’t expand down the same path as Carr, most articles claim we need less distractions to concentrate better. To me, that just seems to be common knowledge since you cannot focus on one thing while fidgeting with multiple other tasks. The article then speaks about why we procrastinate and the thought is similar to Carr’s; we would rather enjoy a little snippet of information, or a fun tweets/posts rather than sift through an entire piece. Our bodies have grown used to processing information quickly and concisely by contacting so much stimuli at once that our brain finds it more difficult to concentrate on specific, longer writings. The article ends with saying we need to find a balance between our use of technology, but Carr has opened my mind to a deeper possibility- that our entire way of thinking has changed and the internet is the cause.