I don’t think so, but it could be changing the way we all think. Nicholas Carr, who is something of a Google-baiter, is more worried and has penned a thought-provoking essay on the subject over at The Atlantic. I knew he was on to something when, although i was deeply interested in the article, I felt like clicking away before finishing the third paragraph.
I resisted temptation and felt all the better for it.
Here’s a taste for those of you so deep in the throes of Google-induced stupor that you can’t get any further:
“The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen … As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations. Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year, The New York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts, its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.
“Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives—or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts—as the Internet does today. Yet, for all that’s been written about the Net, there’s been little consideration of how, exactly, it’s reprogramming us. The Net’s intellectual ethic remains obscure.”