Every couple months I see another article saying that Facebook or Twitter makes us more vacuous, less intelligent, shallower people. These articles are usually in places like The New York Times, or from researchers at universities with a study linking low grades to Facebook usage. Thing is, these prestigious sources of information are missing a simple point -- people are idiots.
The average American is already more vacuous, less intelligent and shallower than a New York Times editor or a university researcher, the only thing that has changed is that the Ivory Tower uses the same Internet as the Motel 6. All the celebrity gossip, fart jokes and obsession with trivial drivel is suddenly in the same place as news from the bow shock from the Viking mission or the European Parliamentary debate on the draft budget for 2012.
The studies that people are bad students when they tweet and spend hours on Facebook are reminiscent of the studies that said that students that go to too many parties or listen to rock and roll are bad students. It’s not the fact there are way more interesting things to do than study, it’s the fact that some students choose to study and others choose to do something, anything, other than study.
That intellectual divide cuts both ways -- we have people running for President who say they “don’t believe in Science,” as if “Science” was a belief system. But we also have people saying, “Facebook makes you dumb” as if dressing your cat in a sailor outfit was somehow caused by the need to post a photo on Facebook.
For the intelligentsia, may I quote Antigone by Sophocles, "No one loves the messenger who brings bad news." Or if I may quote the 6.9 billion people who don’t even know who or what Sophocles is, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” If you want to judge a world that you’re seeing through the Internet, you’re not exactly proving your superior intellect, anyhow.
So, I might have to agree with the editorials and the studies. Except it isn’t that Facebook makes us dumb it’s that it lets us peer in on other people’s lives and feel smug that we’re not as stupid as those OTHER dumbasses.
At least I'm not an intellectual dumbass... Oh wait. Damn.
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