Twitter has made my brain lazy.
Actually, it all started with having children. I remember hearing how Sesame Street really changed children’s entertainment and learning with its rapid-fire, constant bombardment of stimulation. It made sense, small children don’t have huge attention spans so if we want to keep them engaged for an hour or more, we have to keep the stimulation changing. There was also plenty of criticism that we were ruining children’s ability to focus for long periods of time. I think the critics were wrong; it wasn’t the kids’ attention spans we were hurting, it was their parents’.
By the time the daughters were in middle school, they were doing fine. They were both avid readers, they could focus on long-term goals and projects, and they could also multitask. Yes, that was the new buzzword. The next generation of workers would have to be experts at multitasking and Sesame Street had made it all possible. Problem was, I was now starting to joke that I must was developing adult-onset ADD. I got distracted more easily than ever. Things haven’t gotten better.
First I stopped flipping thru the newspaper and instead just looked at the online version. I found myself clicking thru to full stories less and less often. Then I started following the Houston Chronicle on twitter. Now I get most of my news via 144 character tweets. People will ask if I heard about something and I reply, “Yeah, I heard about that via twitter but I didn’t actually bother to look at any details.”
I try to pretend that I care about things enough to want more information about them. I’ve tried online news aggregators (meh). I subscribe to email newsletters full of info and links (so easy to delete). I follow blogs (I stop paying attention because they post too much or too little). I follow people on twitter, but I pay more attention to the people who tweet snarky one-liners than the ones who link to other stories.
Part of my issue is reading on electronic devices. I think I am caught in the Sesame Street trap of expecting my electronics to be mindless entertainment or rapid fire stimulation. Part of my issue is cynicism. Do I really care enough about anything to learn more about it? Then there’s the guilt factor. I should be multi-tasking! I should be getting so much done! I should not be sitting on the couch for two hours reading this book. I should not be sitting at the computer for hours trying to form coherent sentences on my blog.
Education has changed so much and is continuing to evolve. The way we learn has changed so much and is continuing to evolve. And some days it feels like my lazy brain is being left behind. Thanks twitter.