Posted by: itslikethatweb | November 18, 2012

Love in the Time of Internet

While The Shallows plumbs the depths of the Internet’s effects on our brains from an intellectual standpoint, Carr’s analysis gives rise to the need for a secondary analysis of the way our Internet-wired brains impact our human relationships. He touches on the emotional and sociopsychological effects intermittently throughout the book, but I noticed myself longing for greater detail concerning how the Internet’s eclipse of direct human interaction has changed us as social creatures.

In an article called “Five Emotions Invented By the Internet,” Thought Catalog blogger Leigh Alexander lists five distinctive emotions spurred by web-based social interactions. Each was uncomfortably familiar, particularly the first: “A vague and gnawing pang of anxiety centered around an IM window that has lulled.” Although the low-commitment conversations generally held via IM are shallow and likely arbitrary, our fear of being dismissed from the attention of another Internet user, without clear cause, is manifested in this newly-hatched emotion. We feel at once vaguely hurt by and ambivalent towards this possibility of dismissal.

With emotions such as these in mind, one wonders how we are evolving in relation to one another. Face-to-face conversations, for example, seem to generate increasing levels of anxiety, but as Carr points out, oral history and human connection were once the basis of our information exchange system – not to mention our society.

How do the Internet and web-based social interactions affect our emotional and interpersonal health? 

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