The Guardian reports that Lady Greenfield, Professor of synaptic pharmacology at Oxford and the director of the Royal Institution, is warning that social sites on the Internet are turning us all into a collection of blabbering infants. Some choice quotes:
[S]ocial networking sites “are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity”.
Oops. Greenfield goes on to put forward the possibility that there’s a link between all this short attention-span theater and the tripling of prescriptions for attenion-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Oops again.
Another interesting observation:
Social networking sites can provide a “constant reassurance – that you are listened to, recognised, and important”.
This facet of it is really interesting to me. Growing up, I never had casual friends, only a few close friends. As we gather buddies, followers and “friends” through social networks, you can’t help but wonder if this key distinction – from a real friend to one that you added to your list on Facebook – will be lost on a new generation (or already is).