The Twitter Trap
STUDENT NAME: Pretty Vaddi
Student Number: 300782105
Instructor: Evelyn Holmes
The Twitter Trap
Bill Keller in “The twitter trap” published in The New york Times (18 May 2011) notes that he felt as though he had poisoned his daughter by allowing her onto Facebook. He equates it to giving a drug and sees it as eroding a youth’s intellect or skills development memory skills, math skills, penmanship, innate sense of direction, attention span, problem solving and decision making abilities. Given his daily job, he is well aware of the global appreciation for the internet. However, what are the costs, the personal costs? Recently, the advancement of technology has started to accumulate some controversy. Nowadays we rely on internet each and everything, it became a complete part of our lives. The social media pages created to keep us connected seem to follow us everywhere. Big companies can now grab our attention not only with their billboards, but with their Facebook and Twitter pages as well. In The Twitter Trap, Bill Keller argues that these new forms of media are “eroding characteristics that are essentially human: our ability to reflect, our pursuit of meaning, genuine empathy, and a sense of community.” He sees social media as aggressive distractions an attempt of contemplation. In many ways he may be right, but technology has a lot of benefits as well. Although advances in technology threaten the way we absorb and understand information, we must learn to incorporate the changes and use them to our advantage.
Keller for his part, worries that technological advancements are dissolving basic human traits such as togetherness and deep thinking. Although many of the arguments against technological advances are valid, they are simply proving that the way we perceive information is changing and we must learn to adapt to this new way of learning. In moderation, these changes could even be beneficial. One of the most troubling changes to me is the decrease in use of books, but I admit that I find the Discovery or History channel to be much more interesting than a book of the same topics. When used for learning or news coverage, the television is a spectacular technological advancement; it is only the shows such as Jersey Shore or The Bachelor that are really detrimental to our learning. Still, there are plenty of books featuring the same shallow concepts, ‘Snookie’ even wrote one of them. During any era of society there have been options of entertainment that are detrimental to our well-being. All sources of information are beneficial simply based on the way they are used.
Nonetheless, as Keller points out in his article, the way that society processes information has evolved greatly over the years. At one point, individuals were able to memorize entire novels because there was no way to mass produce literature. So does the loss of this skill mean that our memories are faltering? In short answer, yes. Still, we must question whether or not those skills are necessary today. Memorizing an entire book today may award you with media attention, but it is not a trait worth mentioning on a resume. Today people are expected to quickly make connections and evaluate situations, skills not affected by our smaller memories and shorter attention spans. The fact is that the world is ever changing and we must be ready to adapt to what comes next, if human memory is required in the future than we will readapt to accommodate it into our learning. Still, more troubling than the idea of losing memory capacity, is that we may lose these essentially human characteristics. Fortunately, if these new media are used correctly, even this may not be a concern. Look first at ‘a sense of community.’ Many arguments against Facebook and Twitter are that they give as a false persona of belonging, when really they are pulling us apart, Martineau, R. (2011, October 5). A response paper to Keller’s...
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