Is The Internet Making YOU Stupid ?

by briancollins 14 replies
This has probably been mentioned here before, so my apologies for that, but I found this interesting - Is the internet making us stupid? | Internet Marketing News and Blog | E-consultancy.com

In partciular these sections -
"The internet has changed the way we consume and "process" information and thus has changed the way we think or, more appropriately, don't think"

""They found that people using the sites exhibited 'a form of skimming activity,' hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would 'bounce' out to another site. Sometimes they’d save a long article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it."

I found this section quite apparent as the first time I cam to this article I scrolled through it, only reading bits here and there. This was one of the bits I did read .... oh the irony !

It reminded me of the way sometimes we are drawn to the highlighted or bold sections on a salespage, or the text placed inside a fancy graphic.


"Carr argues:

"The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds.

"In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking." "

Would this then discourage the reading of an article or ebook, that we wish to study and learn from, onscreen. Would it be advised to print it off and read it this way ?

I could go on picking bits out of that article and making comments on it, but I wont bore you. It was very intresting reading though, let me know what you think !
#main internet marketing discussion forum #internet #making #stupid
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Is The Internet Making YOU Stupid ?
    Oh hell, I sure hope not. With assaults on my brain ranging from water fluoridation, microwave, to censurship, I don't know how many more assaults my poor little brian cells can handle *sitting in corner drooling*
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    Sal
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeRogers
      Is the internet making me stupid?

      Naaaah... I was already that way when I got here. :p

      Now cell phones on the other hand...

      Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Hi Brian,

        I think people over-estimate their understanding of other people and generalise way too much. (forgive the idiosyncratic nature of that first line - I couldn't resist)

        The assumptions made in the text you refer to are just a persons opinion and I think proper study would have different conclusions.

        If you consider the way people shop - but the difference between men and women.

        In my experience, women are more likely to go around looking at all of the options and then return the to shop with the best product, whereas guys tend to just buy the first thing that fits the idea of what they wanted.

        If you didn't test for men and women you could end up making a massive generalisation about shopping behaviour based on the bias of men and women in your test.

        In the study of how people browse for information, you'll get skim-readers every time but if they're all men you'll probably see different overall patterns than if they were all women.

        I'm not focusing specifically on gender but you get my point.

        Without having a solid foundation for the testing, you can generalise into almost any conclusion you want - you get what you measure.

        Politicians are great at this.

        So, I guess what I'm saying is - I wouldn't put any weight on people making such conclusions without evidence to support the information they used to come to it.

        Since everyone is slightly different - the results you get for such studies have a LOT to do with how the test is conducted. (what type of information were they reading?. someone reading about diabetes would probably have different reading patterns to someone reading weather reports)

        Andy
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        nothing to see here.

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        • Profile picture of the author HeySal
          Skimming is an old method of sorting through much info until you find what it is you are looking for. If we were to read every bit of everything we encountered on the Internet, sure we might get an education - but exactly how long do you think it would take us to do so?

          Perhaps the person who wrote that article or did the study has never been to a College library and watched students skimming material and searching for the relevant material in a sea of irrelavent black and white squelch?

          Actually, glimpses of what is irrelevant while sifting for the relevant will broaden the readers awareness of issues and facts even when they decide not to go in-depth in those areas.
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          Sal
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          • Profile picture of the author dbh
            Adult ADHD could also be a factor for some. I've always 'skimmed' an article first, especially if I'm in a hurry or looking for something specific. Its nothing new actually, I was doing it with Reader's Digest, magazines etc. long before the internet existed as it does now.

            I've also learned to apply the same technique to certain audio sources as well, but gotta be careful doing that - Wife isn't too happy when I only skim what she says and get only what I'm interested in.....

            - Darrell
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            • Profile picture of the author dbh
              Forgot to mention, there are so many smart people here that sometimes the Warrior Forum makes me feel stupid . Does that count?

              - Darrell
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              I don't have ADHD and I skim everything I read. I'm a quick reader who reads several books a week for pleasure and I scan things online quickly to sort out the highlights and ignore the chaff.

              I see the internet as a positive educational force when it comes to reading. Even those who have never read for pleasure offline may become more effective with the written language because online they must be able to read and process info if they want to participate.

              Downside for me is that I often dislike videos. Much harder to scan out the fluff and I find myself fast forwarding a lot. I'm one who looks for written versions because I can read in 15 minutes what a video might take an hour to tell me. I guess the huge popularity of videos is the online version of having someone tell you what's going on - so you don't have to read it yourself:p

              kay
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              • Profile picture of the author Jelasco
                I agree with Sal- this is really nothing new. Technology like search engines and hyperlinking just makes it easier to skim than when everything was in printed books.
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    • Profile picture of the author colinredk
      In one way, it's true. Internet Marketing is making the common man stupid. There is that belief that if it's posted on the internet, then it's true. That belief had its roots in a prior incarnation: "if it's TV (or in the newspapers), then it must be true."

      IM is an exercise in numbers. As a media, IM is numbing internet users into submission to respond and click to some pretty lame ads.

      (But, of course, it's just my opinion that they're lame because they look lame. Usually, only the website owner knows how good the returns are. I had this conversation for a friend, she does copy for an internet copy, and they run some websites, email blasts and newsletters, and I mentioned that their pages and ads look lame. Her rebuttal was to the point. The company netted 30+million dollars last year. I couldn't argue with that.)
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      • Profile picture of the author briancollins
        Thanks for the replies everyone, getting the thoughts from others on the same things I see and read is a very positive pro for me, so cheers for the insights.

        Now I'm going to make use of the multi-quote feature, impressive addition to the WF !

        Originally Posted by chriswight View Post

        The concept of the lead supposedly comes from the US Civil War where journalists had to convey the most important information of the story as quickly as possible over telegraph, lest they be pushed aside by soldiers sending vital info or the telegraph line being cut.
        That's well interesing I never knew that !
        It would make a great pub quiz question, ha.

        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        Hi Brian,

        I think people over-estimate their understanding of other people and generalise way too much. (forgive the idiosyncratic nature of that first line - I couldn't resist)

        The assumptions made in the text you refer to are just a persons opinion and I think proper study would have different conclusions.

        If you consider the way people shop - but the difference between men and women.

        In my experience, women are more likely to go around looking at all of the options and then return the to shop with the best product, whereas guys tend to just buy the first thing that fits the idea of what they wanted.

        If you didn't test for men and women you could end up making a massive generalisation about shopping behaviour based on the bias of men and women in your test.

        In the study of how people browse for information, you'll get skim-readers every time but if they're all men you'll probably see different overall patterns than if they were all women.

        I'm not focusing specifically on gender but you get my point.

        Without having a solid foundation for the testing, you can generalise into almost any conclusion you want - you get what you measure.

        Politicians are great at this.

        So, I guess what I'm saying is - I wouldn't put any weight on people making such conclusions without evidence to support the information they used to come to it.

        Since everyone is slightly different - the results you get for such studies have a LOT to do with how the test is conducted. (what type of information were they reading?. someone reading about diabetes would probably have different reading patterns to someone reading weather reports)

        Andy
        Hi Andy,
        Just about got your idiosyncratic comment, that's a very good point you made, I guess another factor too would be the type of enviroment the studies were conducted in, whether they were similiar to that which the studee was used to when surfing, and so on.

        Originally Posted by dbh View Post

        Forgot to mention, there are so many smart people here that sometimes the Warrior Forum makes me feel stupid . Does that count?

        - Darrell
        Indeed, some intelligent remarks in this thread, they would be added to my "warrior smart cookies list", if there was such as thing ;0)

        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        I see the internet as a positive educational force when it comes to reading. Even those who have never read for pleasure offline may become more effective with the written language because online they must be able to read and process info if they want to participate.

        Downside for me is that I often dislike videos.
        Indeed a good point. I haven't read a book for many years, since I finished "education".
        In the last few months I've read a few, which is a big improvement. This was due to me buying books based on subjects that interested me. The interest was created after some net research, so I guess it all ties in.

        Excellent point about the online videos aswell, I agree, although it rather goes against the trend of everyone putting videos on salespages!

        I guess the conversions must go up by keeping the reader on the website for longer ?

        Originally Posted by colinredk View Post

        In one way, it's true. Internet Marketing is making the common man stupid. There is that belief that if it's posted on the internet, then it's true.
        I was refering to the internet as a whole, as a media, no set part of in such as internet marketing in particular.
        Nothing is fact!
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  • Profile picture of the author chriswight
    This is the same behavior people exhibit when reading the newspaper, and we've been conditioned to do so.

    There's mention of this in the book Made to Stick, about how articles use what's called the inverted pyramid style, where the most important information is contained in the first paragraph of an article. In journalism, this section is called the "lead" and it makes or breaks a good journalist.

    The concept of the lead supposedly comes from the US Civil War where journalists had to convey the most important information of the story as quickly as possible over telegraph, lest they be pushed aside by soldiers sending vital info or the telegraph line being cut.
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    Chris Wight
    www.ChrisWight.com

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