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Radio Berkman 158: Thinking About Thinking About the Net

July 14th, 2010

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg

Take a look at the headlines of any major newspaper or news magazine. Check out the non-fiction bestsellers at Amazon. The net is on everyone’s minds.

Or more specifically, the way the net is on our minds is on our minds. Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows paints a bleak picture of what the net is doing to our plastic brains, cheapening our relationships, and ruining our attention spans. Clay Shirky’s recent release Cognitive Surplus on the other hand celebrates the web’s power to enable quick, smart, crowdsourced action and creativity.

Hundreds of other authors and thinkers have responded with their own variations and theories on what the internet is doing to us, and what we are doing on the net.

With all of this thinking on the net, we thought it was time to do some thinking on the thinking on the net. And luckily we have two great thinker thinkers in house.

Our very own David Weinberger has suggested jokingly that there should be a Myers-Briggs test for net fanaticism, while memetracker and ROFLCon founder Tim Hwang has grouped net thinkers into schools. Today, they explain how different thinkers think on the net, and importantly, why the heck everyone’s so interested.

What kind of net thinker are you? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

Reference Section:
David’s Myers-Briggs Test for net fanaticism here
Tim’s Schools of Internet Thought here
More net thoughts, smarter vs. dumber, optimist vs. pessimist, from Clay Shirky, Nicholas Carr, Andrew McAfee, Adam Thierer, Sherry Turkle, and Jaron Lanier. And of course Statler & Waldorf.

Photo courtesy of lukepdq

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