Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Tag: DR

The Internet May Cause Distraction and Inability to Learn

by on Jul.11, 2010, under Storage

Warning: The Internet May Cause Distraction and Inability to Learn

EMC logo

If Nicholas Carr is correct in his recent book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, you will not read this entire blog post. The main idea of the book is that the internet causes our brains to be easily distracted and also makes us less able to learn deep ideas as we skim more and read deeply less.  The book digs into the science of how the human brain learns.  The brain has “plasticity” – meaning that it will adjust to the activities that it does often, similar to what our muscles do.  Carr lays out the history of communication from the first written world, through the mass production of books, to the internet age and analyzes the impact that these technologies have on society and the human brain.  As he points out in the book, for every new technology, there have been those that have said that it will doom the way that we think or take away the very things that make us human.  But this time, according to Carr, there are real issues.

The Internet Distracts People with…SQUIRREL

Like the dog Dug in the movie Up! (SQUIRREL!) – internet users can find it hard to stay focused.  While I agree that almost any repetitive activity can potentially become addictive, I believe that most people can take control of the tools that they use for communication rather than letting them control you.  Even in pre-internet days, the draw of interrupting technologies was there – do you finish the task that you’re working on, or answer the ringing phone or watch TV (or even read a book)?  The brain can get so used to a stimulus that it will make you crave it when it’s not there – this even affected Dilbert back in 1996.
The difference with the internet is that it is everywhere and people can become like a mouse pressing a lever for a pellet by constantly checking email, RSS, Facebook, or Twitter.  These activities can be properly worked into the flow of the workday rather than as a distraction from getting things done.  Personally I know that I have a tendency to want to stay connected and respond rapidly to messages. (Disclosure: Hi, I’m Stu and I’m an internet addict, see me on Twitter)  The more we allow ourselves to be interrupt driven, the more our brains will see that as “normal” and it will become harder to stay focused for longer periods of time.  Recent studies (including some in the book) show that the cost of context switching is larger than any gains for multitasking.  You have the power to take control of your environment: finish conversations without interruption, check messages when you’re done with a task, not when an alarm tells you that it comes in.

Reading vs. Skimming

If you’ve read this far, congratulations!  In the age of the internet, most people skim rather than read.  The book describes that people read in an “F” shape, that is that they read the first line or two, then partial lines and eventually just start scanning down the page.  As a blogger, I try and keep my posts short (500 words for most posts or 1000 for a deeper discussion) and also try and break up the text visually with some bolding, italics, headers and photos.  Carr also says that even the basic web format with hyperlinks is very distracting.  Each hyperlink that you reach makes you think about clicking it and if you do will you ever get back to where you started (for this article, I put some links at the bottom rather than throughout the text).  There is fascinating research in the book which explains how memories are created and the science behind short term and long term memory.

“How do users read on the web?”…”They don’t”

While in general I feel that Carr is a bit of a pessimist about technology, I do believe that he is correctly raising an alarm on this topic.  The argument in the book is that as we skim more and rely on the internet to store information rather than our brains that our brains will have less context for problem solving or deep thoughts and that we become shallower.  Mass production of books brought learning to everyone, the internet increases information flow, but potentially we understand and internalize less.

There are a few ways that we can still absorb information in the internet age.  Of course the first is to read deeply – I’d recommend picking up The Shallows if you’ve found this discussion interesting (I think that it should be required reading at colleges). Another way is to write; the process of organizing your thoughts and translating them into words helps your memory and critical thinking.  A third way is to have deep discussions with friends and family – nothing like a lively debate to get the brain going.  A final way is just to give yourself some free time to think – where new information isn’t flooding in so that you can sort and process what you’ve brought in.

I consider myself a pragmatic optimist on the new technologies.  Like some of the optimists in the articles listed below, I believe that the internet age brings proliferation of information and opportunity for a globally connected community.  It’s the core of the company that I work at now.

Where do you stand?  Are you an internet optimist? Do you believe that there is validity in Carr’s positions?  Will the internet turn people into shallow shells that can’t function without computers?

Here are some related articles that I’d recommend:

Are You An Internet Optimist or Pessimist? The Great Debate over Technology’s Impact on Society by Adam Thierer  (Adam also reviews The Shallows)

I Know I’m Not the Only Internet Optimist… by Andy McAfee

Carr’s article from The Atlantic: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Does Multitasking Lead to a More Productive Brain? from NPR

A couple of posts of mine discussing similar topics after reading a book by Neil Postman

Nicholas Carr on The Colbert Report


Share

Update your feed preferences

URL: http://emcfeeds.emc.com/l?s=100003s2f6pa6831qks&r=rss2email&he=687474702533412532462532466665656470726f78792e676f6f676c652e636f6d25324625374572253246426c6f67537475253246253745332532466a6e31544d4a7636766f51253246&i=70726f78793a687474703a2f2f626c6f677374752e776f726470726573732e636f6d2f3f703d31313137

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , more...

Is there a technical Sociological term for “truthiness”

by on Jul.09, 2010, under Storage

Is there a technical Sociological term for truthiness

EMC logo

I’m going to Bitnorth in August. Its going to be geeky and awesome, and I can’t wait. I have to present. Everyone going has to present. I wanted to present on the idea that there since there is still a digital divide, is it possible that the new social rules that are emerging will impact a population that can’t participate in creating these new rules. And is that a problem?

But given the situation in the Gulf of Mexico (I’m from the Florida Panhandle), I’ve changed my idea just a little bit. I’m actually writing this blog post in the hopes that someone can help me with some terminology.

The background story

Since all of my family and lots of my friends still live on the Gulf Coast, I get pretty frequent updates on what is actually going on. What I hear from them is different than what I hear on the news up here in New England (where this week I heard more about Linsday and LeBron than the oil spill), or even in the newspapers back home.

Friends from a bit further west of my family (New Orleans to be exact) say the same thing – the news that is being reported is not matching the reality that people are seeing and living.

What is going on in the Gulf is very strange.

We know millions of gallons of oil are being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and they are using an extremely toxic substance to break up the oil, and that they may have drilled into a methane bubble. What we don’t know is what impact that will have on the health of the residents of the Gulf Coast, because no one is sharing the information that could help Gulf Coast residents and visitors come to their own conclusions about the dangers of living near this oil spill.

Back to my Bitnorth presentation

Here’s my idea – what happens when in this day and age information imposters use social media to control the message about an event that will impact everyone? What happens if information imposters are very social media savvy, and are able to use “truthiness” to futher their own agenda? What happens when information imposters are able to game the system to seem as if they are more relevant than people or organizations trying to get the real information out there to people? What happens if these imposters know how to work people to gain their trust, so that they are the ones with high affinity?

What happens to our idealistic view of how social media can be used to improve and connect the world?

My main question for all of you is this: is there a technical term for this concept of “truthiness”?

Update your feed preferences

URL: http://emcfeeds.emc.com/l?s=100003s2f6pa6831qks&r=rss2email&he=687474702533412532462532466665656470726f78792e676f6f676c652e636f6d25324625374572253246416476656e7475726573496e436f72706f72617465456475636174696f6e253246253745332532464e71624231647239316951253246&i=70726f78793a687474703a2f2f676d696e6b732e656475626c6f67732e6f72672f3f703d373633

Leave a Comment :, , , , , more...

EMC Proven Professional Community Roundup – Week ending July 9, 2010

by on Jul.09, 2010, under Storage

EMC Proven Professional Community Roundup – Week ending July 9, 2010

EMC logo

This post is cross-posted from the EMC Proven Professional Community on the EMC Community Network.

Here are some of the highlights from the past week in the Proven  Professional Community:

Knowledge Sharing Articles

The July articles were released last week. In case you missed it, topics ranged from DLP (data loss prevention) to email archiving and retention to deduplication to DR (disaster recovery). Check out this year’s publication schedule for more info.

There were also some good comments on one of this year’s winning articles: SAN Performance – Getting the Most ‘Bang’ for your Buck. If you have read the article, what do you think about John’s methodology for documenting, analyazing, remediating, and reviewing all elements of your SAN? (I thought it was a really good article – could have used something like this 5 years ago when I was working as a sys admin).

New Proven Professional Certifications announced

Blogs of interest to Proven Professionals

As usual, Proven Professionals are blogging about the cutting edge topics in the information and storage management industry:

Did I miss a good post? Let me know in the comments.

Housekeeping

Please remember to mark your questions answered once they’ve been answered, and assign points to the people who helped you out. You never know when we’ll decide to do something with those points!

Why did you get Proven? Last call to participate in the poll.

What were you up to this week?

We’ve completed the first week of Q3. Who has been goaled to get a new Proven Professional certification this quarter? We’re here if you have questions on how to get started, ask away in the Proven Advisor: Ask Us section of the community.

That’s all I have for this week. Keep safe, and we’ll do it again next week!

Update your feed preferences

URL: http://emcfeeds.emc.com/l?s=100003s2f6pa6831qks&r=rss2email&he=687474702533412532462532466665656470726f78792e676f6f676c652e636f6d25324625374572253246416476656e7475726573496e436f72706f72617465456475636174696f6e253246253745332532466c3356755831796c506e30253246&i=70726f78793a687474703a2f2f676d696e6b732e656475626c6f67732e6f72672f3f703d373539

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , , , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...