Everyday Curators

An obvious take-away from Carr’s The Shallows is that the internet has changed the way we are wired. The internet has rewired our brains and it seems there is no going back. Carr makes valid points when arguing that the internet could and might be our ruin. We are living and working in a technology driven culture but it is up to us to be mindful of all the power we truly have and use it effectively. It is crucial for us to not become slaves of technology and to use the Internet as one of the many tools in our toolbox instead. Of course, we are the beneficiaries of the Internet and the web.

Our phones are grenades – with them we have the power to blow something up. Not in the literal sense but in the sense that creates a ripple effect within a medium that reaches anyone worldwide. In chapter 8, The Church of Google, Carr poses the overarching question of whether Google is helping or hindering. On page 166 Carr states: “With writing on the screen, we’re still able to decode text quickly – we read, if anything, faster than ever – but we’re no longer guided toward a deep, personally constructed understanding of the text’s connotations.” I believe that, regardless of the influence of technology, we are always thinking about what we are reading, what we want to get from what we read, what we write and every little thing that comes along with our search and usage of the Internet. As a former Communications major I learned the obvious, that, as human beings – we are always communicating. From my personal experiences, every time I find myself on Google, what I am searching is strategic and purposeful.

In my Newswriting and Editing class, Victoria Reitano, came in to teach us about the latest and best Google search tools for newsgathering. All of the tools she showed us are a testament to Carr’s argument that Google is all about efficiency. However, I came to the conclusion that we are often curators instead of creators. In the traditional sense, a curator makes decisions about what objects to select, conducts research and shares that research with an audience. Whenever we find ourselves on Google we are finding content from existing sources and building a piece based on our knowledge and research. All of these aspects give us the power to effectively tailor a specific message to a specific audience whether it is ranging from a Tweet or an article. Below is a screenshot of the Google Trends homepage.

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This is not necessarily what people are talking about but simply what they are searching for. The feelings on the topic are unknown and with this tool we have the power to influence our audience as well as know what they are looking for. Carr’s views on the Internet may be justified but it is essential to have faith in our rewired brains.

Author: Isabella D

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

7 thoughts on “Everyday Curators”

  1. Your post provides some really interesting points that I have not thought about before. I like how you explain how we are often curators instead of creators. I am currently in a creativity and innovation class, and sometimes it is so hard to come up with ideas on my own that I instantly want to turn to the internet. I have to refrain from doing so because that defeats the whole purpose of creativity, but it goes to show how much we truly do rely on the internet.

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    1. We do rely on the Internet so much, that is evident and it does make it harder for us to be creative. It is up to us to be creative on our own and work our minds in the same way we work them when we go on Google.

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  2. I agree with your points entirely. I also feel that the use of Google is not hindering our ability to understand or comprehend information. In fact, I believe it is doing exactly the opposite. I feel that the use of Google is bolstering and augmenting my capacity for knowledge. After all, Google is so full of different sites and pages that when people search for an answer or an explanation, they are bound to find one that makes sense to them. What’s more, I agree that it doesn’t matter what medium one is using and that people are curious and intellectual by nature. You brought up some great points here.

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  3. I am intrigued by a lot of what you wrote in your post. To me it is fascinating to take the part where you wrote about creativity and to put into into a larger view. As a big film fan it is incredulous to me how apparently bankrupt Hollywood has become in regards to creativity. It seems many writers and creators there cannot come up with plots or themes without running to the Internet, as evidence of so many movies being remakes or based upon popular trends that are easily found online. In their case, as well as ours, the Internet should be a resource and aid, not the source from which everything is drawn.

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  4. It is so crazy how Google manipulates their top results on searches. They can really control what the public is exposed to because most of us don’t even go past the first page. I think it has to do with who pays the most to have their websites showcased like that, but I’m not sure. I like how you touched on the connotation of the written word; it is so hard to know what people mean sometimes when you’re reading what they wrote rather than talking to them face-to-face. Jokes especially get lost in translation.

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  5. I do believe my post poses the question of what is happening to our creativity? Our minds are still being stimulated and worked when we find ourselves on Google. It is up to us to make sure we are always working our minds rather than simplifying what we do and finding an easy way out.

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  6. Isabella,

    A thought-provoking post! Your readers so far have commented on the key tension in your piece between curating and creating. (I suspect that Carr would interpret the shift to curating as evidence for the argument he wants to make!) But you’ve also got a kind of toss-off metaphor that I’d love to hear more of your thoughts about—and that’s the smartphone as “grenade”. I’m intrigued by this notion of the internet as a small mobile tool that people can use to “explode” certain situations. Tell me more!

    Finally, and perhaps a little grumpily, I’m not sure I understand what you want me to get from your Google Trends image. What point do you want to make with this image?

    Joe

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