If you think Facebook is frying your brain, it’s not. You are.

Dan Fonseca "If you think Facebook is frying your brain, it’s not. You are."

The web is a reflection of self. It’s a mirror showing us what we want to see. It’s not biased – we are. So why are people worried the internet is rotting their brain? If anything, they should be worried about themselves.

Understand that technology is agnostic

Jeff Jarvis, author of Public Parts, a book on technology’s role in shaping our ideas on what constitutes public and private spheres, states that “technology is agnostic.” As far as the internet is concerned, it’s all ones and zeros. It doesn’t matter if you use the internet to search for pornography, chat with friends on Facebook, or use it to brush up on the history and significance of Picasso’s Guernicia on Kahn Academy. It’s all the same to your internet browser. Like liquid filling a mold, the internet becomes what you want it to be. It takes the shape of what defines it.

More choice means more responsibility

Many grew up with their mothers reciting the cautionary tale that “too much television would turn your brain into mush.” With 6 media conglomerates controlling an immoral 90% of all media, mother (as she usually is) was right. Television content is biased media. In fact, most media is biased (this blog is no exception) but that’s another discussion entirely. You see, with the internet, we have an ever growing number of media choices and thanks to net neutrality those choices are not meddled with – at least as much.

To put that into context, currently, as of mid 2012, Facebook alone nearly accounts for a billion unique voices publishing on the web. If Facebook where a nation, it would be the 3rd largest one on Earth. It would stand right behind China and India. Compare those billion unique voices to the 6 offered by the media conglomerates. Just think, you have more unique voices standing in line for a bathroom stall at a local bar than in all of television. Let that sink in for a moment. However, this comes with a caveat. More choice means more responsibility. Browsing the internet requires more active intent than your simple TV channel surfing.

Our internet use is a reflection of ourselves

If you view the internet as a “cute-kitten-video-generating-machine” you may be too late. You need to check yourself. Why haven’t you gone out and explored what else the web has to offer? Why have you not contributed? Why haven’t you published anything on Tumblr, WordPress, or YouTube? If you think Facebook is frying your brain, it’s not. You are.


*Sean Rogers1 photo was altered for this post.

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5 responses to “If you think Facebook is frying your brain, it’s not. You are.”

  1. Tetoro's Lair (@TetorosLair) says :

    Great post again, very interesting and thought-provoking!
    The comparison between Internet a modeling clay has never occurred to me, but it is entirely true : Internet can take any shape we desire, according to what we want to see/read/hear. It is all the more true with the new tools available to select the people, online magazine or organizations we want to follow.
    And compared to the times before Internet, when your friends were following the same newsfeed as you were, nowadays, the true gem to know people over Internet who can have completely different source of news, thoughts and culture : thus creating an intellectual emulsion.
    (Hope the egg was delicious)

    • Dan Fonseca says :

      Yes exactly! It’s up to you to make the internet what you want it to be. I just find it frustrating when individuals call Facebook or YouTube a “waste” of time. It’s a “waste” of time because you make it so. Look at yourself, not the technology. Thanks for weighing in again!

  2. Marcella says :

    Dan what a great post.
    A vivid piece of reflection for all of us.
    Having accountability on our own actions and how this tool can be optimized to serve the common good. Great words for all control freak moms. Will pass on.
    In spanish we say “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres”….guess this applies to our virtual society also.

    • Dan Fonseca says :

      I like that quote very much! A lot can be said of your character by the environment you put yourself in, online and offline. It’s a great point. Gracias Marcella!

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