A brain expert called Lady Greenfield (professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, Oxford, and director of the Royal Institution) has suggested that “Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity”
I’m not sure is this is the first time that she has looked at the media landscape that surrounds us – but surely she doesn’t see this as a new development. Throughout the history of time, these symptoms have affected people regardless of one too many tweet or poke. I can see her point and I’m sure that the use of SMS and even email to an extent has had an effect on writing skills – but I’d be more inclined to look at the benefits of communication and of maintaining a dialogue – no matter how that dialogue is maintained.
Anyway, isn’t what is being communicated more important than how it is communicated. Structurally magazines like ‘hello’ and ‘grazia’ offer cohesive narrative, but the content is complete shite…
Greenfield warned: “It is hard to see how living this way on a daily basis will not result in brains, or rather minds, different from those of previous generations. We know that the human brain is exquisitely sensitive to the outside world.”
Seems like a classic case of nature and nurture. Our environment will always shape us but to see only the negatives of social networking doesn’t seem to be that openminded. And isn’t the process of brains and minds differing from those of previous generations called ‘evolution’?