His core point — that you can excel in many pursuits and professions simply by cultivating an ability to focus — is an intriguing one. I don’t agree with everything in Newport’s book. His chapter on social media is a little embarrassing. But I think he’s onto something with his focus on … focus. He’s not alone, of course. As always in times of profound social change, there’s a long list of backlash books, including Nicholas Carr’s lauded The Shallows (which, maybe intentionally, takes its time in getting to the point) as well as more strident polemics like Andrew Keen’s The Internet Is Not the Answer. Many of the critics worry about permanent brain changes (or damage, depending on your viewpoint) caused by chronic distraction.
We know now that our environment philippines photo editor does physically change the brain in significant ways — and, in fact, that technology has always deeply changed us. are irreversible is hard to say. The science is very new, and it’s a bad internet habit to get overly attached to the latest breathless “reporting” on neuroscience. But we are getting rewired, and it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on that. Yes, social media is a big part of the problem We have games, and apps, and on-demand information, and hyperlinked text, and all of these are shaping us. But probably no technology is as guilty of the dark side of distraction as the internet social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Blab … wherever it is that you like to hang out instead of thinking about something thorny.
Even when they’re valuable, social platforms can gobble a depressing amount of time. Worse is losing time and energy getting into internet squabbles with people who have no commitment to any form of critical thinking. Note that even Neil DeGrasse Tyson got sucked into a fight about whether or not the earth is round. (Spoiler: Yes.) We have more access to shocking stupidity than we ever have before. We get to see the outpourings of everyone’s sad, ignorant uncle on Facebook. Entire political candidacies have been based on this. (And because of confirmation bias, I have my own candidate in mind when I write that … and you have yours when you read it.