The Shallows

Reading Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows has been an interesting experience for me because I can identify with what he writes about. I first started using a computer when I was about eight years old, and in retrospect, I must admit that computers and the Internet have changed the way I think and live. I used to be an avid reader of physical books, but once I got my hands on the Internet I became hooked and basically stopped reading altogether. I guess I would now classify myself as a “marginal reader,” because I skim things and probably miss out on a lot of valuable information. Nevertheless, I feel like the Internet is more useful and life-changing than any book will ever be.

Even though Carr consistently “disses” the Internet, it’s hard to argue that the Internet essentially took the world and made it into one small community. Thanks to the Internet, we can now stay in constant contact with friends, relatives or even strangers regardless of whether they are across the country or across the globe. In my opinion, the Internet provides a channel for people to live and enjoy life together. About a year ago, I saw a story on the news that compared the divorce rate for World War II soldiers with the divorce rate for soldiers in Iraq. The story claimed that World War II soldiers got divorced three times more often than U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The reason for this dramatically lower divorce rate (according to a university study), is the Internet. Thanks to the Internet, soldiers in Iraq are now able to do things like Facebook and Skype their spouse, and this fosters stronger long-distance relationships that are less prone to divorce.

One of my favorite songs (called “Swing Life Away” by Rise Against) has the following line: “Are we getting closer, or are we just getting more lost?” Even though I love the Internet, Carr has forced me to wonder: IS the Internet bringing us closer, or IS it just getting us more lost?


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