Back In My Day, We Didn't Have These Young Whippersnappers With Their Facebooks And Their Googles
from the where's-my-sliderule? dept
It looks like Nick Carr is actually a bit late to the game in blaming the internet for making people dumb these days. Someone else is coming out with an entire book called The Dumbest Generation, which claims that today’s kids are totally screwed up thanks to the internet. This book has received enthusiastic reviews from folks, such as a Chicago Sun Times columnist, trotting out the modern version of the “those young whippersnappers” lines. The evidence? The fact that kids use the internet more to communicate with others, rather than to suck at the teat of the established “authoritative” media.
Romenesko, however, points us to a fantastic response from another reporter, Steve Rhodes, who points out how dumb it is to call this generation dumb thanks to the internet. In fact, he makes the point quite clear, by noting that the idea that the established media, such as the Chicago Sun Times, is somehow a bastion of intelligence is easily debunked:
And I’m not sure where a Sun-Times columnist gets off complaining that the Internet is dumbing down America while the paper is running a “Which Team’s Fans Are Hotter?” contest.
As for all that communication going on? That helps make people smarter:
I’m a Facebook fan. It’s very powerful, and I’ve hardly begun to exploit all of its capabilities…. I feel smarter after spending time on Facebook; I feel dumber after reading the local newspapers….
He then gets the other columnist to admit that he’s never even seen Facebook, despite bashing it as being a terrible thing for kids to be using all the time.
I’m not trying to pick on Lazare – well, actually I am – but he’s emblematic of a newspaper creature that is just beyond me. See, he didn’t want to know what he was talking about. He just didn’t want to know….
But newspapers went off the rails at just the moment the Internet flourished as an even better place to do journalism and communicate with people. It should have been a glorious melding of the minds for a better, more creative and fun and civically inspired tomorrow, but all newspaper people could see was the threat, not the opportunity.
So, again, just as with every generation, there will be a group of folks who complain that today is somehow worse, and “back in my day” things were somehow better. None of it’s true. Things change, the world adapts — and if you choose not to, things may seem worse, but it isn’t in any real objective sense. But, in the meantime, for those folks who are scared of change and afraid of actually recognizing how the changing world is full of opportunities, it means there’s an opportunity to sell silly books with provocative headlines. Moral outrage ahead! The kids are using Facebook rather than flipping baseball cards and throwing jacks!