Saturday, July 24, 2010

IMHO: People should stop blaming the internet

I read an article on The art of slow reading and laughed when I saw this:

Funny because I didn't even read the first line of the article and jumped straight to the comments.

Slow Reading vs Speed Reading

I enrolled in a class on Speed Reading before I entered law school. It taught me how to read fast and answer multiple choice questions afterward. What is the price of learning how to speed read? A relaxed eye muscle and a great way to address my attention deficit (disorder). Why does speed reading work for me? Because I learn through second reading which will not happen if I don't finish the whole thing first. When I read slowly, I get stuck at a word or a phrase and almost never finish anything. When I allow my finger or pen to guide my eyes, I finish the whole thing and when I re-read it, this time with my colorful highlights on the page, I see how useless those highlighted phrases are and note on the side that they are useless. But what really is the price of speed reading (without second reading)? Missing some very very specific details. And when they say the devil is in the detail, they were really being truthful.

The article mentioned that two researches concluded that "many of us no longer have the concentration to read articles through to their conclusion." I find myself skipping paragraphs of the SCRA and read only relevant paragraphs to the topic to which the case falls under. When the article said we don't have the concentration to reach the conclusion, I realized I don't read the cases' fallo very often.
Do I blame (sweepingly) the internet for this?

Blaming the Internet

And I quote the article:

Which all means that although, because of the internet, we have become very good at collecting a wide range of factual titbits, we are also gradually forgetting how to sit back, contemplate, and relate all these facts to each other. And so, as Carr writes, "we're losing our ability to strike a balance between those two very different states of mind. Mentally, we're in perpetual locomotion" (emphasis supplied).
No, I don't blame the internet. That's quite unfair. It has given me a new sense of home, where I can connect to people I care about and things that interest me. I feel like people who are 10,000 km away from me are just my neighbors. I say partly yes to this:

Hitchings does agree that the internet is part of the problem. "It accustoms us to new ways of reading and looking and consuming," Hitchings says, "and it fragments our attention span in a way that's not ideal if you want to read, for instance, Clarissa." He also argues that "the real issue with the internet may be that it erodes, slowly, one's sense of self, one's capacity for the kind of pleasure in isolation that reading has, since printed books became common, been standard".

In my humble opinion, the internet is not a problem. It is not even part of the issue. It is just one of those facts of life that one has to manage. It is a statement of fact: There is a tool called the internet.

Manage the users and the tool

Freedom is a computer application that locks you away from the internet on Mac or Windows computers for up to eight hours at a time. Freedom frees you from distractions, allowing you time to write, analyze, code or create. At the end of the offline period, Freedom allows you back on the internet. But paying $10 for it is discouraging. Discipline now has a price!
Before I reached this part of this entry, I clicked on at least 10 other links and post things on Facebook and read the news at No, I am not complaining. Not even blaming these sites.

So really, what or who is the problem? It is everything but the users.

Paulyn Duman
Blog #7

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