How many of you would prefer reading a book to an article online? What about reading magazine articles over text messages? My guess is that most of you would say the ladder to both questions. You may wonder why that is, but the articles “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “The Learning Screen” make it clear as to why we prefer one choice over the other. The main idea that was expressed in both of these readings was that digital media changes the way we think. In other words, your way of thinking may even be changing as you are reading this blog. Both Nicholas Carr’s and Gregory Ulmer’s writing raise excellent points about the world we live in with technology and how our culture is shifting because of it.
Whether we agree with it or not, our minds are changing due to the increasing amount of time spent on the internet in the last decade. Tasks such as researching and looking up words in the dictionary are shortened immensely in this world of online dictionaries and articles. Carr states “Once was a scuba diver in a sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski”. Although this analogy may be corny, it emphasizes how even a distinguished writer is noticing that he does not grasp certain concepts with the same depth as before. He argues that this is due to his excessive use of online articles of which he, along with many others, skims accordingly. With such easy access to anything on the internet and other forms of digital media, especially articles online, it appears to me and many others that we are truly losing the way in which we think.
Similarly to Carr’s message, Ulmer writes about the transition between a culture of literacy to a culture filled with digital media. Ulmer digs deeper into the cultural shift, beginning with his creation of the word electracy: being knowledgeable and holding the skills to process multimedia and generally all electric media. Ulmer explains “Electracy is to digital media what literacy is to print” . I could not agree more that with literacy comes the ability to write print, and with skills regarding multimedia comes the ability to entertain through media. However, electracy has the ability to take away from our literary skills, which is the message Carr sends as well. Throughout the article, he constantly references the shift between the two apparatuses, making it clear that with new media comes a new way of thinking. By finding a common method of communication that people understand, Ulmer states that this mindset is thinking with electracy.
Regarding the question at the beginning of this post, would anyone like to change their answers? Although my answer was shying away from reading print over online articles, I wish my answer was reading magazines and books. However, in our growing electric media society, it is more difficult to do so. As Ulmer expresses, the cultural shift from literacy to electracy is changing the way we think and affecting our thought process. It is up to you to decide which path you’d like to take.
That’s all for now, folks. Hope you have enjoyed your “run” with me today. Enjoy your Thursday!