Cognitive Surplus- For Better or for Worse?

There are approximately 7 billion people here on planet Earth, and of all those people about half of them have a second home…
The Internet.

Here in the US it’s almost unheard of to not have access to a computer, let alone a smartphone glued to your palm.

We use it everyday. From babies who can’t even speak, to questionably stylish tweens; from millennials to Gramps and Aunt Sue.

We are all connected. Demanding instant gratification because we literally have the world at our fingertips.
From babies drooling all over Mommys iPhone 5 with Youtube playing songs from Rudolph…
To Tweens hosting their own( not very exciting) reality shows via Snap chat…
To Millennials searching the depths of the internet to find out the answers to their homework, even though their professor made it clear the textbook holds all the answers…
And finally to Gramps holding down his home button to ask Siri what the weather will be like or where he can get fresh rolls the cheapest.

There is an abundance of information- but have we ever considered if its hurting us instead of helping us?

This topic has me split straight down the middle. In so many ways I’m totally pro internet, but when I take a step back Its almost terrifying to see how much “fluff” my head is filled with.

As far as knowledge I do feel like without the internet I may not be as intelligent as I am today. I’ve spent my life as straight A student, but I can admit I’m lazy. I’m sure if I had to do everything the old fashion way, looking up every fact I needed to do any assignment, it probably wouldn’t get done well. The beauty of the internet is the convenience. In a way I can know a little about everything. I can take away what I really want from topic, rather than trekking through acres of brush for the one flower I want, it is right there served on a silver platter. I feel that that has made me smarter. The internet makes me a more engaged learner, therefore it increases my yearning to learn more often. Not to mention when relevant topics are sitting right in front of my face I am more likely to want to learn about them. I myself have become super up to date on news and politics because it is conveniently placed at my fingertips.

Though, like everything in this world, there is some serious negatives to the internet. Ask any college student what the latest Buzzfeed article was about, or how to make chocolate cake in a mug and they will most likely know the answer. There is an abundance of information on the web, but is it sometimes to much? I mean really, do you know how many videos I’ve watched of hamsters doing something ridiculous, or how many spongebob memes I’ve spent 5+ minutes laughing at. I know more random facts than is probably deemed normal. I can admit, my head is full of fluff. I know a lot about nothing it seems, which is good and bad in a way. I mean truthfully theres a higher chance of me talking to my peers about something funny I saw on the internet than something I read off a database. So maybe thats the good thing about fluff, it encourages social interaction, and social interaction will most likely increase your knowledge in one way or another.

I can’t give a definitive answer when it comes to the topic of cognitive surplus. It is an answer that I feel differs from person to person. It is up to us to chose whether to use this surplus of information for better or for worse.

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