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Old 06-12-2008, 11:55 PM   #16
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I was kidding - I figured someone would come and make a joke about porn.

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Old 06-13-2008, 12:02 AM   #17
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I'm sure there will be more comments. Give it time.

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Old 06-13-2008, 12:06 AM   #18
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:24 AM   #19
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Hey guys, I've probably made like 5 posts ever in FYM...but this thread really grabbed my attention. I think Irvine's original post really laid out some interesting and thought-provoking questions and I wanted to add my two cents.

I think this quote is the key:

Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post

in some ways, i feel as if the internet has improved my skills ... i feel as if i'm writing as well as ever, perhaps better due to the snappy, quick, no-fat, no-bullshit writing that posting requires, and i'm able to expose myself to a wide variety of thought and writing styles that in turn (positively) affect my own.

^ I feel the same way.

If you feel that the internet, and posting on message boards etc., has helped your writing...well then that is obviously a good thing...and I wouldn't doubt that it has helped. It's helped me.

I think that, like you said, the "no-fat no-bullshit" style of posting...along with the overwhelming wealth of information on the internets...purely and simply helps when it come to communicating intelligently.

If you "surf" the web as much as I do, or as much as I'm sure everyone here does, I feel that helps more than hurts when it comes to engaging with people in real life conversation. Because of the information available we are well-versed on a WIDE range of topics (both intellectually stimulating and not so stimulating). This can only help us.

Anyways, I guess my point is that the Internet is more of a good thing than it is a bad thing.

Lorelai Gilmore said it best - "The Internet is more than just good porn these days."
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:25 AM   #20
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My experience has been different.

I haven't noticed a decline in my ability to read deeply--if anything I've read more in the past year--thanks to various book clubs I'm a part of--than I have since. . .probably elemetnary school (discounting the summers--I typically read massive amounts during the summer). And if I skim in FYM it's more for lack of time than lack of interest.

It's fair to point out though that I probably spend far less time on the internet than your average Interference poster. For some reason everything I do related to the interent seems to take me way longer than most everyone else--posting my blog or here in FYM or just plain surfing. As a result, I don't go very far afield on the internet. Even here on Interference I find that I only have time for either FYM or the journals (or blogs as they are now known)--rarely both. And I almost never get to other forums that interest me like Lemonade Stand or Zoo Confessionals or websites like Slate. I just don't have the time to do as much as I'd like online. I'm not sure why that is, but it is, and maybe if I were more deeply steeped in the online life I'd have trouble concentrating and reading deeply also.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:38 AM   #21
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It's swings and roundabouts, isn't it.

I have gotten to the point over the years where I mainly read blogs. As in, that is mainly what I use the Internets for. And the ones I prefer (as opposed to the ones I tire of) tend to be lucid, thoughtful and sometimes lengthy (both the post and the resulting thread of comments). So I read a lot of that stuff in lieu of newspapers, and it isn't so different from reading a book, with the proviso that long periods at a screen are physically taxing (fucks my back up for one thing).

Ultimately, I'd say my concentration span tailed off alarmingly early in this century, through no fault of the internet. Since then I've forced myself back into books. Fiction and non-fiction. The imaginative escape of books is so important, and unfortunately the only drawback with the online medium is, as I said, for me it is physically taxing. My computer not being a laptop I can't use it any other way than sitting at a desk... and that's just as well probably. It taxes the eyes too. But no, it doesn't deaden my mind.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:09 AM   #22
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"How many of you former English majors and avowed novel enthusiasts loved philosophy class--at least, back when you were forced to take it in college--and still nominally keep on your 'list' a few philosophical works you'd 'like to read someday,' but in truth, doubt you'd have the patience to think that way anymore?"

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Old 06-13-2008, 06:47 AM   #23
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I don't know about "stupid" but I do know it can make you dislike humans more than you ever thought possible, at times.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:31 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
Anyone see this same phemonenon being present in audio-visual and audio media as well? Or is this just a written-medium thing?
I love U2's live DVD's but I have to have several beers before I watch 'em because otherwise the every-two-seconds video editing technique drives me nuts. Any Hollywood 'blockbuster" made in the last 15 years suffers from the same thing.
Of coarse I know the reverse is true and people under 30 get restless at the deliberate pacing of an Alfred Hitchcock movie or the wide-angle static shots of Howard Hawks or John Ford.

Concentration is actually a skill that must be learned and practiced. Video games and channel-surfing in place of reading isn't really fostering of this quickly-becoming-lost art.
But I don't want to get off on an ADHD rant.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:37 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post

Concentration is actually a skill that must be learned and practiced. Video games and channel-surfing in place of reading isn't really fostering of this quickly-becoming-lost art.
But I don't want to get off on an ADHD rant.

i agree. i think the brain is endlessly malleable.

i also think that the under-30s can take in way, way more information in a smaller amount of time than the over-30s.

but it bothers me when i see movies edited like trailers.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:42 PM   #26
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I think this thread started by BonosSaint relates to this topic:

Reading through this thread, I find myself nodding in agreement with so much that's been posted here. I find that much of the time, I have an annoyingly high degree of ADHD-like symptoms, when it comes to concentration in general, and specifically with reading. Maybe someone can study it, and call it TL;DR Syndrome?

Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
i think the brain is endlessly malleable.
That's something that was discussed in BonosSaint's thread, that brain plasticity allows one to adapt to their learning environment.

I think that a large part of it is that in our culture today, we literally have information overload, with any subject/fact at our fingertips online, and the way that many other forms of media present information in MTV edits, as you said, and in sound bytes. Before the internet entered our lives, I think we generally learned at a much slower pace, allowing for deeper, more substantive learning, as opposed to the omg!zillionsoffactsflyingatmecan'tshutitoff kind of information that we're exposed to today.

Maybe that's part of the reason why the older people mentioned in BonosSaint's thread were able to remember more than the younger people, because they're probably not heavy internet users, and haven't lived most of their lives subject to the sheer volume of information that many of us have, and thus haven't developed ADHD symptoms?
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:39 PM   #27
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I don't read less because I have the internet; I read less because all I do at work all day is read. And I don't want to read more when I get home, to be perfectly frank. And if I do, it'll be a newspaper or a magazine, because my brain needs a break from this type of activity. I think reading all day can get as repetitive as factory work in some respects.

I know this to be true for myself because before I worked in this profession, I read a lot more and spent equal amounts of time on the internet. But back then, I spent my days in the lab working with my hands, and so I craved a good book at the end of the day.
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:01 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by randhail View Post
I definitely see some what you're talking about and what the article (the small portion of it I read) is talking about. I used to be able to study for hours on end without getting too distracted, but now I feel like I have really bad ADHD. I feel like my mind has been trained to read and process headlines and short news releases. Reading the long articles takes too much time away from reading more headlines and blurbs. I feel like I need to read everything and forsake depth. I may think my knowledge base is becoming broader by gobbling up headlines but in reality I probably know less about more and that's not necessarily a good thing.
At least I now have something other than just "age" to blame it on.
Between the two I have to wonder which is giving me the most problems.
I still read alot, but do find myself starting more than one book at at time. Then I get on line and get into something else altogether different.
I really like the part where you say, "I probably know less about more and that's not necessarily a good thing".
It's seems to me that I know a great deal more but can't access and recall it as quickly as a google search and that fustrates me.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:02 PM   #29
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well said sue!! I feel the same way!
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:00 AM   #30
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I didn't grow up with the Internet and it's really only a little over three years that I've owned my own computer (which is really a little less time than I've been on Interference which I joined while sneaking time away at work) While I'm awed by the amount of information available on the internet and have become dependent on it for the ease of access of information (both for research and to jumpstart me to new interests) as well as the thrift factor of reading the New York Times and the Washington Post daily without actually having to spend money for them, I don't find the medium condusive for lingering and savoring.

I actually have more impatience for short pieces and although I don't read as much as I used to, when I do, I want books in the 800 and up range of pages. I want to get lost in the language and the characters created in a novel. (That being said, it's not like I am reading long, dense works on theoretical physics. But since I didn't read them when I was younger, they wouldn't be a great gauge on whether my comprehension skills have decreased)

What I have noticed, though, is my increased capacity for using the Internet for escape and a decline in my writing--which I haven't determined yet is from a loss of skill or a loss of interest. It does take over. I find myself coming on to the site to read the most recent posts in threads in which I have absolutely no interest as well as the ones in which I do. Which means I am using it as a substitute for something or other.

I do feel less of a grounding, less of an ability to synthesize the information. I jump from topic to topic on the internet, which is good for expansion and quickness and lousy for reflection and depth. So I seek depth when I'm off the net. Sometimes that means
I'm going to print a hard copy of an internet piece and consider it the old fashioned way, lingering over a piece of paper without the urge to immediately jump to another piece before I've fully reflected on this one. I deliberately slow down. Which is on the whole better for my psyche.

All that being said, I wouldn't give up having all this at my fingertips. I just have to use it better.

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