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The Nicholas Carr article in the Atlantic – Does Google make us stupid? – has generated a lot of commentary. Carr himself has just pointed to an Edge discussion and an Encyclopedia Britannica discussion.
I have commented on the perils of distraction a couple of times recently. Once when talking about the ease with which you can be distracted by the ‘time-saving’ integration ability of the Flock browser (which I still use, I fear) and again when pointing to Fred Stutzman’s attempts to resist the encroachment of the network into the productive time in which he codes, writes, creates.
I have been interested in the discussion around the Carr article. The focus has tended to be on consumption, on the apparent difficulty people have with immersive reading.
I confess I find this less of an issue than immersive writing. I still read books, maybe not as many as at some other times of my life. However, I am beginning to find it more difficult to write in a sustained way (no great harm there, I hear some of you say ;-). No doubt one reason for this is that I typically write on the laptop, which is also where I intersect with the network. Most of my sustained reading happens away from the network.
Recently, when trying to write something I find that I am turning off the network on the laptop and relying on the Blackberry for email. At home this poses a difficulty though: despite living in a well covered area – inside the city of Columbus – I find that coverage fades if I am not near a window, and even then will sometimes give up. So even though I am not distracted by email, or by my RSS aggregator, or by looking at Facebook statuses go past, I end up walking around with the Blackberry trying to grab some network to synch up!