Of late there have been a host of articles about an “overdose of the Internet” in general. I am not sure which of these articles/posts started it all but here is a list of a few that I came across over the last few weeks and snippets from them. Maybe its a sign that many are being gripped by an overdose of the Net? Fundamental questions are starting to be asked about the long term implications of browsing and its impact on productivity?
According to market research firm comScore, in May the total number of Internet searches conducted in the U.S. alone was about 10.7 billion — up nearly 20 percent from 9.1 billion searches in May 2007 (got this data from GigOm ). In other words, more and more people are relying on the net to do things and the rest of the world is soon going to follow suit.
Is Google Making Us Stupid? (article in the The Atlantic)
I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. What’s Google Doing to our minds? (Related article in the Mercury News)
A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to one measure by RescueTime, a company that analyzes computer habits. The company, which draws its data from 40,000 people who have tracking software on their computers, found that on average the worker also stops at 40 Web sites over the course of the day.
Lessig is a who in “Who’s Who,” a scholar who’s crusaded against overprotective copyrights, promoted Net neutrality and agitated for good government. He’s a Stanford law professor who regularly speaks at the world’s big think-fests. He’s a rock star among the digerati, a blogger (of course) who recently decided against a run for Congress.
And despite it all, once a year he makes a deliberate decision to go off the digital grid – no blogging, limited e-mail, few phone calls – for a month.
“It’s with a heavy heart, and much consideration, that today I would like to announce my retirement from blogging.” Jason McCabe Calacanis, July 11th 2008. He raises some interesting points about why he switched to a mailing list from blogging.
I agree with most of these articles. In fact, some ground rules might be overdue. Adults who have easy access to the Net will do well to set aside “browsing time” much like TV watching time and adhere to it. “No email ” days at work are likely to become more common place and less of an experiment. Children would do well to get on the net at a later age rather than sooner . I have other ideas in mind too. But, frankly, I didn’t think you’d make it this far on this post 🙂 If you are reading this sentence you are probably in good shape and don’t need to worry about the net having adverse effects on your ability to concentrate. Congratulations!