Call for a Slow-Word Movement
| Peter Klein |
If you like slow food, maybe you’ll like slow words. Forbes columnist Trevor Butterworth (via John Hagel) calls for journalists, educators, parents, and executives to spend time in the information superhighway’s slow lane:
the crisis of journalism is, at this point, sufficiently real to be seen as part of a wider conceptual crisis brought about by new-media technology: a crisis that is located, primarily, in the cognitive effects of acceleration and its cultural backwash. In short, a relentless, endless free diet of fast media is bad for your brain. Generation Google — those who have never known a world without the Internet — it turns out, not only cannot use Google effectively, they don’t even know enough about how to search for information to know they can’t use Google effectively. The idea that the kids are whizzes at multimedia tasking is a platitude confected by middle-aged techno gurus to peddle their expertise as explainers of generational difference. In fact, relentless multitasking erodes executive function. And while the brain may not be overloaded by 34 gigabytes of brute information a day, it appears that too many of these mental quanta are the equivalent of empty calories. PlayStation and texting need to be balanced out by reading novels, handwriting (for old-fashioned digital dexterity) and playing with other live people if you want your child to develop to be an effective, skill-acquiring, empathetic adult.
The tone is a bit curmudgeonly, even for me, and smells like yet another apologia for the Old Media. Some good points, nonetheless. And I’m sure there’s material for a good multitask principal-agent paper in there somewhere.
Here’s wishing you a Curmudgeonly New Year!