Good For The Brain: The Modern Intellectual & The Internet


My mom worries. She’s a Jewish mother, that’s what they do. If you don’t believe me, just ask the good folks behind Twitteleh. But seriously, my mom worries about everything. Am I eating enough? Am I eating too much? Am I wearing a sweater? Does the fact that I’m wearing a sweater mean that I’m feeling sick?

Like all good Jewish mothers, my mom doesn’t confine her concerns the simple realm of the practical. No, my mom likes to fret metaphysically too. Are her children leading productive lives? Are they satisfying their creativity and intellects, or are they simply filling their time with ‘mindless drek?’ ” Is all this modern technology really just making it easier for them to tune out, veg out and cop out when it comes to critical thinking?

Needless to say, my job in social media doesn’t exactly ease these worries of hers. From Twitter to Texts From Last Night, I know my mom worries that my time is being used for far too many less-than-meaningful pursuits. Not that I totally disagree. I too have to remind myself that sometimes it’s good to just turn off the computer and pick up a book. That my brain needs that kind of stimulation just as much as it needs to enjoy the latest viral video making the Twitter rounds.

But,  I’m still a firm believe that it’s entirely possible to inhabit both worlds at once;  intellectual life and internet life can co-exist, and in fact, complement one another.Like Michelle Slatalla says here, sometimes modern technology can actually help us find new ways to slot some cerebral activity into our distracted daily lives. Besides, if I hadn’t just read her post, I wouldn’t be nearly as excited to get done with work, get home & get back to the book I’ve been reading. Now, if everyone would just stop distracting me on Twitter…

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