The Internet has allowed us to get the knowledge we seek in a more efficient manner than in the past. Our behavior patterns are adapting to fit this fast paced world the Internet has created.
The Internet is simply enhancing the information we already know and making information more accessible. In “Get Smarter,” Jamais Cascio claims, “We don’t have to rely solely on natural evolutionary processes to boost our intelligence. We can do it ourselves.” We learn and we grow because it’s part of the world we live in. The Internet supports this idea by offering a wealth of information at our fingertips: this is changing our behavior, personality, and habits. However, there are some who prefer the old while others prefer the new; which is the same as tradition or innovation. In earlier generations different references were used for specific topics: books were used for research, newspapers for current events, etc. However, the Internet provides all of these references at one time.
Behaviorist, Abraham Maslow, said, “ If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” We resort to the Internet in the same manner; it’s the first “tool” we think to use when searching for anything. Maslow also claims that, “If you are hungry and thirsty, you will tend to try to take care of the thirst first…thirst is a ‘stronger’ need than hunger.” As a society we’ve become so accustomed to using the Internet that we’ve grown dependent on it, choosing this fast paced source over the traditional method of looking through a book. This results in a behavior change because we expect things to come to us so rapidly that we’ve grown antsy. In Kim Krause Berg’s article “The Impact of the Internet on Human Behavior (third door media, July 19th 2009) Linda Stone, a technology leader, is quoted saying, “We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.” The Internet gives us the ability to search for information at lightning speed and fulfills our need to get word done faster and more efficiently.
Some may argue that it is this speedy process that’s taking away from our brainpower: Nicholas Carr claims in “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” that the Internet is “rewiring our brains.” This does not prove true because our brains are not being rewired if we’re choosing to use the Internet over a book. However the Internet is “rewiring” our behavior through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. It has become natural for us to talk to family and friends over the Internet but it has also become an outlet for cyberbullying. In the March 30th, 2008 article of the New York Times,“Cracking Down on The Cyberbullying,” Juli Charkes states “Name-calling, popularity contests and general mean-spiritedness have long been a part of adolescence. But today’s electronic version provides anonymity and a breadth of distribution that can imbue seemingly innocuous remarks with a far more potent impact; the Journal of Adolescent Health report said electronic aggression is directly linked to a range of difficulties, including behavioral problems at home and at school.” This shows the negative effects the Internet has on our behavior: because we’re not face-to-face with the people we’re communicating with, we are more inclined to say whatever we want without thinking about the consequences.
When we created language, we increased our memory. We adapted to the words we created and learned to use them in everyday life. As a parallel, its happening with the internet. Once books were made, it was only a matter of time before they made it to the continuously growing internet. In this continuously growing and developing country, it was only a matter of time before schools and libraries made printed goods available online. To use another example, which is closely related to students, our Comp 1 class has a blog titled, “The Last Newspaper.” In the beginning of the year our Professor, David Hodges, explained to us the evolution of the Internet and theoretically how everything is becoming technological. Books became available online and we as a society learned to adapt to it. We learned how to use an online newspaper, such as the New York Times, to find answer and information. At the beginning of the semester we were asked to order the New York Times which we would use as our text book, but as the semester went on most students resorted to the New York Times webpage as their source. Even though we received the newspaper, we are so used to the fast pace of the internet that we chose to use the online version instead. This choice is completely behavioral; we just expect quicker results versus sitting down and finding the time to read through a book or a newspaper.
Our behavior has altered to meet the guidelines of society: we yearn to have information more readily available and as result have grown dependent on the Internet. We look to the Internet for solutions to the problems we need answers to; whether the problems are positive or negative, our behavior is being influenced by the anonymity the Internet provides us. As the world continues to introduce new technologies, our behavior will continue to change.
1. Begley, Sharon and Interlandi, Jeneen. “The Dumbest Generation? Don’t Be Dumb.” Newsweek. Vol. 151 Issue 22, June 2, 2008, p42-44. EBSCO Publishing Service
2. Boeree, Dr. C. George. “Abraham Maslow.” Copyright 1998,2006. Personality Theories.
3. Charkes, Juli. “Cracking Down on The Cyberbullying.” 30 March 2008. The New York Times.
4. Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic. July/August, 2008
5. Cascio, Jamais. “Get Smarter.” The Atlantic. July/August, 2009.
6. Krause Berg, Kim. “The Impact of the Internet on Human Behavior.” 19 June 2009. Third World Media