Over at the New Yorker, George Packer has an interesting and important essay about social media and its effects on culture, particularly the news. “Any journalist who cheerleads uncritically for Twitter is essentially asking for his own destruction,” he says. I’m not sure he’s right about that, but there are lots of hidden costs we fail to consider. The essay is short and worth your time.
Here’s a taste:
There’s no way for readers to be online, surfing, e-mailing, posting, tweeting, reading tweets, and soon enough doing the thing that will come after Twitter, without paying a high price in available time, attention span, reading comprehension, and experience of the immediately surrounding world. The Internet and the devices it’s spawned are systematically changing our intellectual activities with breathtaking speed, and more profoundly than over the past seven centuries combined. It shouldn’t be an act of heresy to ask about the trade-offs that come with this revolution.