Information Hungry

As a 20 year old student, I am stating the obvious when I say that I am a digital native. Although kids my age grew up reading books like Harry Potter and Twilight, we also grew up with Wikipedia and SparkNotes. Technology and the internet were present as I was growing up but now as a young adult our world is predominantly digital. As technology developed, my mind developed along with it. The plasticity of my mind is simply a product of my generation.

In chapter three of The Shallows, Carr talks about the newness of written and literary work. He describes how the transition from an oral world to a written world was especially intellectually demanding because of the amount of attention long-term reading required. Amongst this Carr makes the point: “Our predisposition is to shift our gaze, and hence our attention, from one object to another, to be aware of as much of what’s going on around us as possible.” (63). I believe that this point is not only the epitome of my life but the lives of all digital natives.

When I buckled down to read The Shallows, Carr’s account of his difficulty concentrating while reading could not have been any more relatable as I found myself itching to grab my phone. I came to the realization that while I was reading this book, I was merely receiving information from Carr and my mind is accustomed to acquiring a myriad of information at once from different channels all within my phone. I can receive all different kinds of information whether it is an email from the school president or a CNN video someone shared on Facebook. My mind is always wanting more information because that’s what it’s used to. I speak for my generation when I say that we want to know and form opinions about everything.

At a time where information is so accessible, all I want to do is access it. We are either pulling information or information is being pushed toward us or this is occurring simultaneously. A device as small as our phones gives us the power to know what’s going on around us not just where we live or go to school but all over the world. Even at the beginning of a literary world, way before social media was created, our minds were craving more.

In this video, part of a Social Media Revolution series by Erik Qualmann, we learn about the advancement and the power of the Internet that Carr raves about. Our need for knowledge has created many platforms that are useful and even essential to our everyday lives. For example, through an outlet like LinkedIn, I can connect with not only people I go to school with but anyone I’ve met. I completely agree with the way Carr’s point of describing humanity’s need for awareness because I am a living testimony of it.

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Author: Isabella D

I am a junior at the University of Delaware, studying English, Advertising and French.

5 thoughts on “Information Hungry”

  1. Isabella, Nice post! It’s ironic, isn’t it, that the craving for awareness that you write about often results in a sense of distractedness (at least according to Carr). And thanks for the link to the Qualman video—why don’t you also post it to our Twitter feed? ~Joe

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  2. Interesting point about how our generation is used to internet presence, it makes me think of things like Webkinz, SIMS, AIM, Runescape, Club Penguin…we never really had a chance. I agree about the information overload you talked about, we are programed to soak everything up.

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  3. I agree with Carr entirely when he talks about our predisposition to be alert, aware, etc. It’s simply in our DNA. However, I personally tend to find myself distracted by devices such as my phone only occasionally. Sometimes, I’ll be reading something that I really didn’t want to read in the first place, and perhaps my mind will be elsewhere and I’ll want to check my phone. Other times, however, I am so entranced in what I am reading that it’s as if the rest of the world does not exist. But even being distracted part of the time begs the question: Is it the boring material, or an acclimation to a digital world, that really drives my distractedness?

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  4. “I speak for my generation when I say that we want to know and form opinions about everything.” You’re certainly right about that! The reason that I personally am always distracted by my phone or the internet is because, when unstimulated, my thoughts wander to things I find interesting and that I want to know more about. How am I supposed to pay attention to some boring homework I’m not interested in when all of humanity’s collective knowledge is on the internet?

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  5. I think your post raises a really interesting point. At our age, we have basically grown up alongside technology. When we were kids technology was not completely a necessity, but as it evolved, and we grew older, technology became a vital part of our daily lives. I believe that this evolution, as you talked about, has changed the way we think. It has provided us with the satisfaction to our craving for more information and easier access.

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