Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lady Greenfield: Social networking is turning us into babies

Patrick Wintour, political editor guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 February 2009 10.52 GMT
URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/feb/24/social-networking-site-changing-childrens-brains

Wintour wrote an article, Facebook and Bebo risk 'infantilising' the human mind'. His article basically talks about what Lady Greenfield thinks of the social networking sites and how they are changing the way children think and behave, making them selfish with matching attention-deficit-disorder.

Are social networking sites turning us into babies? Does Bebo? I don't use Bebo and therefore can't comment on it; but the name has that similar 'goo-goo' sound babies make...or is it just because both words start with the letter 'B'...

I've been using Twitter and FB, and I don't think they have negatively affected my attention span. Tweets actually make me more attentive, since I could scroll my tweet updates and could easily catch an interesting tweet that deserves my full attention. I would even click on the provided link and read the entire article or watch the video clip and leave a brief comment. Now that I'm slowly making my way back to blogging, I can spend a few minutes and write something about what I've read. Attention is needed when you write, right? Even when you're writing nonsense, it still takes effort to whip up a few words of total B.S.

Now do Twitter and FB influence my identity? That's a loaded question. On FB, I use my real name and add friends and family to my friends' list. Got my entire network of real people who knows 2 or 3 things about me. Aside from my brothers and sister, and a handful of dear friends who could tell the best or worst side of me, the rest of them probably just know a few stuffs about me- mostly good ;-) But do I need to have multiple identities- I don't think so.

Ok, I hear you saying, what about your twitter account? You're using a different name- what's 'motherchina' about? If you're one of my closest friends in college, you won't even ask that question since you're probably one of the culprits who gave me that nickname. Back in those days, we either use silly nicknames (based on our chracter/physical looks/shortened first names e.g. Lalls for Lally, Helgs for Helga) or last name e.g. 'Dux' for Duco, Sison, etc. As for me, I was re-baptized with 'motherchina' because of my chinky eyes. I don't know how and why they came up with 'mother', I seldom cursed or is it my selective memory kicking in? Anyway, the name stuck with me. Now that I'm living in Taiwan, I have not yet heard any politically-loaded comments addressed to me. Yeah- other people may associate the word China (in motherchina) with something else, but who cares? There's a history behind that name, and that's what matters. That's one side of me you probably didn't know.

Wrapping this up, do social networking sites 'changed' my brain? For the better I hope. As I get older, I do find myself forgetting names, losing bits and pieces of my childhood memories and even events that took place less than a decade ago. With FB, I get to re-connect with cousins, many of whom were still little babies when I left for Taiwan- this brings back forgotten memories. I also get to re-connect with my former students- their connections and presence on FB remind me of what kind of teacher I was--likeable I hope (othrwise they won't even add me to their list), and yes a couple of occassional comments like "I miss you or I really enjoyed your classes" make me think of the reason/s why I ended up teaching.


perhaps this article does not relate to me afterall. She was referring to children- not  40-something-gal like me ;-)

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