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This is MORE than a Big Idea!

October 19, 2007

I was reading Gordon Hotchkiss’ “Just Behave” column over at this morning titled, “Some Big Ideas for a Friday”. I went on to have my mind completely blown far too early in the morning by the idea that our brains are being “re-wired” by our internet usage. It sort of reminded me of the old “The Internet is Making Us Stupid” bumper stickers. But, that’s certainly not what Gordon is inferring at all.

You can read the full column here, and heady reading it is, too. But the idea is that as humans, it is true that how our brains work is literally effected by what and how we learn – and what we are exposed to. So, as new generations grow up with tools like spell-check and the instant information available in search engines, how are we going to change as humans? And what effect will that have on how advertising is perceived and ultimately how effective it can be.

One of Gordon’s last points was something I could relate to. He noted, “People of my generation were forbidden to take calculators to school. You had to learn your times tables by rote, so you could function at a base mathematical level. I always found this a little silly. If I have access to a calculator, why did I need to learn the times table? It’s not like I was learning some higher mathematical truth. I just drilled it into my head that 8 times 7 equals 56. What if the internet becomes the portable calculator of the next generation? What if we stop worrying about the skills we required to navigate our world and turn ourselves over to the power of search (and even, in the physical world, the power of GPS)? And how might this change the reasoning process in my children, or my grandchildren?”

This was certainly thought provoking first thing this morning. I think I’m going to have to read the article again.