Some negative uses of social media


Digital/Bi-lateral/Twitter brains

The Internet is changing the way the brain reads

- there is evidence that humans are developing digital/bi-lateral/Twitter brains with new circuits skimming through the torrent of information online. ie artificial skimming. This is an alternative way of reading and is competing with traditional deep-reading circuitry developed over several millennia, ie more in depth processing.

- US adults now spending 5+ hours per day (2013) online via computers and mobile devices; this is an increase in 3 hours since 2010. In Australia, the average time spent online has tripled over 10 years with 80% spending the equivalent of 1 day online per week.

- even though the brain is plastic and it is constantly adapting, it is not designed for reading, ie there are no gene for reading as there are for language or vision. Spurred on by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and the Gutenberg printing press, the brain has developed reading capacity.

- before the Internet, the brain mostly read in linear ways, ie one page led to the next page, etc.. The book's layout and reading in print helped us remember where key information was to be found in a book. But the Internet is different

"...With so much information, hyperlinked text, video alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all - skimming, searching the keywords, scrolling up and down quickly. This is non-linear reading..."

Michael Rosenberg, 2014

"...we are spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scrolling and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, our daily habit of jumping, clicking, linking is ingrained in us......we're in the new era of information behaviour, and we're beginning to see the consequences of that..."

Andrew Dickson as quoted by Michael Rosenberg, 2014

- comprehension and learning are still superior when using a traditional approach to reading, especially when under pressure


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