By Edita Bardhi
ESU hosted award-winning author Nicholas Carr for a one book discussion last Wednesday in Abeloff Center for the Performing Arts.
In his discussion, Carr spoke about the various themes found in this semester’s One Book, One Campus “The Circle.”
Through a presentation titled, “The Mind in the Net,” Carr addressed what the internet, social media and technology is doing to the way we think.
He first demonstrated this matter with a reasonable cover page. The page included a screenshot of a kindle, a cellphone and a keyboard all in use. Carr explained in his speech how he wanted to choose a picture that grasped his overall perspective.
“Beyond being an advertisement for Apple computers, I think this image does suggest a couple of important things about how we live today,” said Carr.
After allowing the audience to observe the picture, he educated them of how a random email was sent to him with this photo.
The sender’s intension was to share with Carr the environment for which he was reading Carr’s book “The Shallows.”
“But he wasn’t reading it in a printed copy, he was reading it on his kindle,” remarked Carr.
Even so, Carr admitted that if it were not for the internet, he would not have received the photo.
As he continued, Carr explained how the photo portrays how much our day-to-day life revolves around technology.
He mentioned how the small acts of looking at the cellphone, looking at our computers and using apps to do things is something that we should consider.
“What inspired me to start thinking critically about the influence of technology and how we think is my own experience. I realized sometime, about 10 years ago, that I was having trouble concentrating. I was having trouble paying attention to pretty much anything with an extended period. And I felt it when I sat down and tried to read a book or even a long article. I realized that I was only able to read a couple of pages before I started getting bored of the book,” shared Carr.
He continued, “It began to strike me that maybe my use of the technology, and I was a big fan of the technology, was in fact having a deep effect on the way I think.”
A key point mentioned in the speech is how people who have technical devices are aware of the environment found on the internet.
Normally, an average person would need to go to the library, attend events and ask various people to gather information. Instead, we have the capability of doing that through the internet.
The concern is that people become comfortable with receiving things in matter of seconds that they begin to undervalue time.
Carr later explained how things such as social media, internet and technology are a pure distraction to the brain.
“We are constantly distracted by our devices. They are notifying us and alerting us. They are virtually tapping on our shoulders telling us, “Hey, look at me.” And what this is, is constantly breaking our train of thought,” said Carr.
At the end of the discussion, he shares how reading a book through a printed copy has more benefits than an electronic version. We may not be able to interact or receive updates, however that is an advantage.
He refers to this as “the technology of the printed book.”
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