Decline or Innovation?

Today’s American culture revolves around the use of the Internet and social media sites. While Nicholas Carr gives a strong critique of the new media, Gregory Ulmer is able to take this new media and come up with a way to interpret the large amounts of information that comes from them.

In his article Is Google Making Us Stupid?, Carr tells his audience that he believes the use of the Internet and other new media sources has caused us to lose the ability to think like we once were able to. He blames this inability to think on the idea that technology is causing us to only decode information rather than interpret what we read. At some level, I agree with Carr. I do think that the overload of technology has caused us to lessen our desire to learn and to lessen our ability to think at a certain level. Its not that I know what it was like “way back when”, but I do know that it is difficult to read long pieces of text without getting distracted or tired in some way. With the short pieces of text we read on a daily basis through new technology, we have trained our brains to only work when reading similar length of information. Most people don’t enjoy reading as they used to and for that I do blame technology.

Ulmer looks at technology in a different way in his article on electracy. He believes that there is a way to interpret information from new media through this process called electracy. He says in his article that electracy are the skills used to fully utilize and understand electronic media to its highest potential. His argument is based on the idea that this theory, he has come up with, is as important as literacy is to the written word. While this may be true, the fact that Ulmer does not specifically state what electracy is within our assigned article, making his description confusing and difficult to understand. If Carr was to respond to this article, I believe that he would disagree with Ulmer on the grounds that the new electronic media does not give that amount of information to decode.

From these two articles, it seems that a debate could be going on about the importance of new digital media and how it is affecting our lives. As Carr would say we are moving in the wrong direction, Ulmer would argue that there just needs to be proper way to interpret a text. But which is correct? Are we truly going in a direction where we will at some point in the future have none of our own thoughts? Basically digging ourselves into a hole? Or will we be able to learn to properly interpret these new forms of media in order to understand the great impact they can have on a society? Also if we do end up at a point where we can no longer think for ourselves, how will we be able to continue growing a society?


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