Posted by: itslikethatweb | November 9, 2012

The Medium is Definitely the Message

It feels wrong to be this close to my computer screen directly after being informed, in great detail, that the Internet has been sneaking into my brain and rewiring my neurological functions throughout my web-connected life. It didn’t exactly come as a surprise, but now I feel like I need to wrap tinfoil around my cranium.

The act of reading this book in itself has proven to be a strange, revelatory experience. As I sat on my couch, The Shallows in hand, I felt a tight spot buried somewhere deep inside my brain slowly loosen, as though my mind was delighting in consuming knowledge from a surface that wasn’t electronically lit from within. It must have been something like relaxing.

It’s significant that Carr chose to deliver his narrative in the form of a book, after explicitly stating that even literature scholars have trouble sitting through more than a few paragraphs these days, but it was a smart choice. I immediately recognized the effects of constant internet use reflected in my own struggle to concentrate – that ugly “permanent state of distractedness” Carr talks about in Chapter 6 – and was sad to find myself brimming with nostalgia for a medium that I just don’t enjoy the same way I once did.

In the prologue, Carr echoes that McCluhan quote we keep hearing: “The medium is the message.” Imagine The Shallows as a film or online article. How would its message be altered? What would be lost?

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