Bill Cutshall’s Weblog

June 22, 2010

Facebook is Making Me Stupid

Filed under: Politics,Whimsy,Wisdom and Trivia — billcutshall @ 11:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I should qualify that.  Facebook is making me stupid-ER and I am sure it is the “status update’s” fault.  I used to think.  I used to try to string ideas and concepts together into coherent points, arguments, hypotheses, ideas, and sometimes even fiction.  Now I simply dump snippets of stuff into my Facebook status and move on with the rest of my day.  It’s making me rusty; a fact that attempting to write this paragraph serves to painfully illuminate.  I need to do something about that.

Of course the obvious solution is to declare a temporary moratorium on my Facebook activity and get back to blogging but I doubt I’ll choose that path.  Facebook does serve a beneficial purpose in my life and I’m certain that posting status updates does, inside the context of a healthy balance of communication outlets, make me a better writer and thinker.  Given the leash, I tend to be wordy; a tendency that posting status updates (good ones, anyhow) requires me to address by exercising discipline and creating economy through vocabulary and sentence structure.  Unless I want to end up pruning a dead tree, however, I need to balance economy with wordiness and blog while I ‘book.

So why do I care about being a good writer?

By nature I tune out when other people talk.  A lot.  The two main reasons I tune out are that the people to whom I am listening are either unable to concisely make a point or unable to string points together into an argument or idea.  Metaphorically, bloggers ramble and tweeters are shallow.  Faced with limitations on length, tweeters don’t endeavor to create meaningful communications and limit themselves to merely observational material while bloggers, freed from the constraints of length limits, strive to create meaningful communication but often devolve into blathering.  I want people to listen (not “heed”, “obey”, or “follow” . . . just listen) when I talk.

Uninteresting or irrelevant, that’s no way to go through life, son.

And there, inside my observation of how my technology habits shape my ability to think and communicate, is the visible shape of a larger issue in our society.  The forms of communication we choose are limiting our individual abilities to think and communicate.  We are becoming a society of bloggers and tweeters that are unable to create and maintain a useful dialogue about the issues we face today.  We debate using one-liners, find truth in soundbites, insulate our opinions in islands of like-mindedness, and end up creating elaborate realities on unchallenged, uninformed foundations.  We are abandoning our ability to see the whole picture and that frightens me.

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m not sure if I should agree with you, debate you, or come up with some witty one-liner and ignore the issue all together. It’s a topic I’d love to have a conversation about over a few beer next time I’m in Austin…

    Comment by Brent — November 8, 2010 @ 12:07 pm | Reply


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