"Is Google Making Us Stupid?" - A Critical Analysis of Nicholas Carr's essay
Does the internet change the way we think, or, more luridly put, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (Carr). This is the question that Nicholas Carr in an essay in The Atlantic tries to raise and to answer. When reading Carr's essay, the question arises whether the existence of the medium internet and our extensive use of it has an effect on how we think and if so, whether it is a negative one, as Carr in his essay tries to make the reader believe. With the increasing importance of the internet not only the way we work but also the way we think changes, but that does not necessarily mean that we addle.
First, Carr describes how he himself experiences the effect that the internet has on him, and declares, "I'm not thinking the way I used to think."
By painting a lively picture he aims at achieving two goals: inviting the reader to contrast the narration with his or her own experiences and establishing a mood that fits his argumentation. This mood is also created when Carr uses words with a negative connotation, e.g. when he describes internet users as "tripping from link to link" (emphasis added) and states that links "don't merely point to related works; they propel you toward them" (emphasis added).
In a next step, Carr enlarges the number of referees. He introduces a statement of a colleague of his, Clive Thompson, who agrees that the internet has heavy effects on the way we think but is absolutely well-disposed to the internet. To attack Thompson's optimism, Carr refers to communication theorist Marshall McLuhan who, already in the 1960s, was skeptical about the way the media affects our thinking.