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Not With a Bang but a Twitter

Posted on Apr 14, 2009
twitter whale

Can plugging into online social networks via Twitter or Facebook lead to some kind of computer-aided moral decline en masse? A study out of the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute seems to suggest that this may be an imminent side effect of living in information-overloaded societies.

Daily Mail:

The study raises questions about the emotional cost of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks such as Twitter.

The impact could be most damaging for youngsters whose brains are still developing.
USC researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang said ‘For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and reflection.

‘If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality.’

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By NYCartist, April 16, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

I agree with comment by Ben Coleman: the DailyMail! Ouch.  (I know it from a link from HuffPo. The entertainment/celebrities junk articles are gossipy, but the medical, disability, assisted suicide articles are heavily right-wing slanted.  For good info on the latter, see Stephen Drake’s Not Dead Yet blog;  Drake is opposed to assisted suicide. )  I don’t twitter, but wanted to read the article and comments.  I think in cavepeople’s times, folks were saying new things would rot kids’ brains,too.

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By Louise, April 16, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Very easy to believe, ‘cause the short and simple sound-bite has always influenced the small mind. Not to say it doesn’t take a big mind to master the method and engage in the exchange. But processing the thought is lost when another thought comes rapid-fire back! Especially if stupid thoughts are sponged in as fact.

How does one engage in intelligent discussion of any issue when it has to be condensed to 140 characters or less? Well, one masters the art of abbreviation speak. But that can lead to problems since abbreviations can have multiple meanings. So the practice of choice is a simple observation. Followed by another simple observation. Or simply reducing life to a series of one line jokes. Jokes are good. But jokes can be bad if they focus on a negative that targets someone and can lead to someone getting hurt. Which brings me back to the article.

Lack of empathy coupled with quick and cruel humor is dangerous, but not knew. We see it every day. And we see the consequence of that behaviour every day. But with Twitter, potential negative consequence broadcasts far and wide in an instant format.

Even though there are many who use the practice of twittering to broadcast important info, for most who become addicted, twitter is just a knew tool to occupy the mind of the simple minded, and create the illusion of self as the center of the Universe.

Twittering gives new meaning to the word thoughtless.

Imagine a roomful of adult students all talking out loud, all at once. Do you suppose that group might hear one word their professor is saying? For that matter, do you suppose they might understand anything anyone else is saying? Twitter removes the need to listen to the other and wait your turn.

Ask anyone in any service industry. How great is it to deal with a customer who isn’t twittering, texting or on their cell-phone, while someone is trying to conduct business? How great is it to interact with someone who actually functions in the here and now of real live people in the very real world?

Perhaps what this study actually learned was how many humans with a blunt sense of morality, there already are. How many humans already lack a ‘moral compass’ and are already severely lacking in emotional development. I’m not blaming Twitter for that. That observation is only re-inforced by the study of the new addiction.

Personally I prefer a good conversation. But even that ability is threatened because compulsive twitterers have forgotten how to conversationalize. Ask them a question more than two sentences long and watch their eyes glaze over. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to even discuss twittering, because to do so requires the ability to give a moment to processing a thought.

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By blogdog, April 16, 2009 at 2:20 am Link to this comment

Leads to moral decline?!?! Rethink that… probably just to becoming a “twit.”

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By Ben Coleman, April 15, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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Please don’t link to stories from the Daily Mail!  I am a fan of Truthdig, and I’d rather not discover half-way through one of your posts that it was cross-posted from this worthless right wing rag.

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By everynobody, April 15, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
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Happily in a harmless way,
I come to twitter away,
and play, say and so,
where to go?
Go to the twittersphere
and my dear,
play, play, and play,
it’s only today you waste away,
so whose to say
you waste away

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By Izin, April 15, 2009 at 2:00 am Link to this comment
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This is so stupid. Of course conservatives would feel this way. Technology bad, face to face human contact good.
That is all well and good if you have money and are able to take time off work to have that “oh so essential human” interaction, but for the majority of people that is not an option. And the ability to stay connected through social networking sites is a godsend for those people.
The fact that people who grew up digital (i am one of them 22 and ive always had a computer, internet, and tv ((but not in my bedroom )) ), yes our brains work differently than our grandparents did, but who is to say that in itself is a bad thing? Id rather live today with our technology and more equal opportunities than a few hundred years ago when all around things were not so good!
I was raised to be conservative but from our human ability to reason i’ve since turned a new leaf and embraced liberalism like most intelligent people of my demographic :D

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By Travis F. Smith, April 14, 2009 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

Classic, Ed, classic.

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By Ed Harges, April 14, 2009 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment


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