A Video Created by Jason Pinshower, Mike Mara, Shane Latham, and Katie Ericsson

 

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Text Created by Jason P.

“In her book, Distracted, Maggie Jackson argues that the advent of the Internet and various other technological ‘distractions’ will lead our society into a ‘coming dark age.’ These distractions such as text messages, Google, e-mail, and instant messaging are hindering our ability to think deeply. ‘We can contact millions of people across the globe, yet we increasingly connect with even our most intimate friends and family via instant messaging, virtual visits, and fleeting meetings that are rescheduled a half dozen times, then punctuated when they do occur by pings and beeps and multitasking’ (13). However, I do not agree with Jackson for various reasons. For one, she fails to express to her readers why it may be easier for some people to connect via messaging or online outlets. For example, in the section of her book titled ‘Focus: E-mailing the Dead and Other Forays into Virtual Living,’ Jackson uses the example of the loss of a loved one to show how ‘virtual graveyards’ are hindering our ability to grieve over the dead. She stresses the importance of the actual act of coming together as physical beings as a way of healthy grieving but she ignores that it may, in fact, be easier for some who were not as close to the loved one to post on a Facebook memorial page rather than grieving with the person’s family. This particular argument by Jackson appeals to me because it relates to something that occurred in my life.

A few years back I was attending college in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was my first semester and I had made quite a few new friends from all over the country. Then winter break came around and we all went back to our respective states for a month. One day, over break, I received a phone call from one of my friends who lived in Texas. He was crying. He had just been contacted by the parents of his roommate, who was from Washington, telling him that his roommate, our friend, had passed away in an automobile accident. We were stunned, however, it was impossible at that time of break for all of us who knew him to get together to grieve in person. So the next logical step for us was to post on our dead friend’s Facebook page or to send text messages to one another talking about the memories we had shared with him. In this sense, Jackson’s argument does not work. It wasn’t feasible, or even possible for us to fly to Washington to attend his funeral with his family. His Facebook page, then, became a place that we could all come together to grieve his loss. In a sense, the form fit the content.

Jackson fails to account for instances in which technology can actually work as an important meeting place. Sure, it may be fitting for the brother, mother, father, or sister of the deceased to grieve in person, in fact, it would be problematic, in our culture, if they didn’t. This leads to another flaw in Jackson’s argument; its one-sidedness. Jackson tends to speak to a demographic that may not have grown up with the technologies that younger generations have and she fails to recognize this.”

Text Created by Mike M.

“Dude, couldn’t agree more. I mean sure she has a relevant point at times throughout the book. But what really annoyed me about it was that she made most of her arguments with logic that revolved around her personal beliefs. While reading her book, I was reminded of another book that I had heard promoted on the Colbert Report called The Shallows, written by Nicolas Carr.
Check out the similarity between their arguments:
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/314134/june-30-2010/nicholas-carr
However, Maggie Jackson’s argument was much less scientific and much more belief driven.
I’m tired of scare tactics from people who are good at arguing but don’t have a valuable point.”

Text Created by Shane L.

“Hey guys, I was very intrigued by your comments on Maggie Jackson’s Distracted. Your thoughts on this subject inspired me to search for evidence contrary to her argument (a search which ironically enough caused me to distract myself from my homework, LOL). I discovered the article In Defense of Distraction, by Sam Anderson. Anderson makes the case near the end of the article that distraction, especially distraction as it relates to multimedia, can be beneficial. See the full article here:
http://nymag.com/news/features/56793/

Thanks for your thoughts!

Shane”

Text Created by Katie E.

“This is an interesting subject. Many people seem to subscribe to Jackson’s points about technology and its ability to overwhelm the human mind; however, I found an article in Wired magazine that discusses the reality that ignorance has not ...been created by the Internet as many suggest, Jackson included. The article responds to multiple books and articles including Distracted by Maggie Jackson, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30) by Mark Bauerlein, and Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob by Lee Siegel. The article makes a valid point that although there is evidence that a vast population of people are failing to cope with the large amount of available information and that ignorance is a problem in contemporary western culture, there is no direct causation that the internet is to blame. He makes a really great point when he states: ‘The explosion of knowledge represented by the Internet and abetted by all sorts of digital technologies makes us more productive and gives us the opportunity to become smarter, not dumber. Think of Wikipedia and its emergent spinoffs, like Wiktionary. Imperfect as they may be, the collective brainpower contained within these kinds of sites and the hunger for learning and accurate information they represent is something human history has never known before.’ –Wired article, title ‘Start,’ by David Wolman. The underlying point: the Internet is not inherently good nor evil; it's a function of the information accessed on it.”