Facebook, Twitter, and other addictive websites and applications make it hard to read books or finish projects without dipping back into the hypnosis-inducing well of Internet stuff that somehow feels like important work but is basically stories about bears stealing cars.
Facebook is turning my mind to mush and I don’t like it. The IQ drop is palpable, and it’s really beginning to get on my nerves.
I’m no Internet critic. Nor am I some dude who’s nostalgic for the romantic bygone era of steam engines and Fatty Arbuckle.
My dad’s a digital design engineer, and some of my earliest childhood memories involve making cardhouses out of computer punchcards. I had an Atari 2600. In high school, I co-ran a BBS, using a dedicated phone line. (If that term’s unfamiliar to you, Google it and be astounded by how cool I was.) I founded a daily online magazine in college (1999), and obtained my first post-college job at The Christian Science Monitor’s relatively new online division.
So I know the Internet fairly well, and I’m comfortable not merely with its conventions, but also with its roots.
But neither am I a lifelong computer and/or Internet advocate, because it’s always struck me as something that isn’t “good” or “bad” any more than books, or radio, or television are good or bad. The Web is a medium. It’s a powerful new medium, and it can be filled with wonderful, thought-provoking information and context – or videos of cats playing the piano poorly.
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