In the spoken word section of the Fringe magazine was David Schneider for one day only at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. His title question ‘Is the internet making us more stupider?’ rings true for me and I’m sure many others. Since the internet revolution began, we have witnessed the dumbing down of content and a growth in fascination about sharing anything from what you are having for dinner to how you are feeling on a frequent basis.
Schneider focuses particularly on Twitter and begins his presentation with a question to the audience to see who is not currently using social media. Conveniently there were two people near the front, who looked over 50 and over skeptical about using social media. Nevertheless he did a great job of explaining the phenomenon and highlighted silly examples on Facebook and Twitter of what people tend to post. This included a heartfelt message from a girl who had just lost her father with a comment from her brother (using her Dad’s account) to scare her as a zombie, back from the dead.
His focus on Twitter included the power of celebrities and the retweet. Beyond his funny examples was the serious tone that the internet is actually taking up too much of our time and it’s like walking into a room with a serious intention to do work only to waste the day commenting on funny videos or photos. He even included a Twitter map to summarise what he feels makes up the website.
Schneider had brilliant comic timing and delivered a sharp presentation that highlighted some funny but worrying facts. In answer to his question, I feel we are all doomed to trivial bits of information and need to spend more time in the real world. Perhaps we should go back to pen and paper to get work done, that’s if we can remember how to hold a pen.