Over Christmas break I read some of Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows. He premises that internet usage is changing the way our brains work and use information. I’d have to agree with that, because I know myself and other members of my generation process things differently. We look for information in different places, and googling for an answer is almost second nature while we would never look at a physical encyclopedia and probably haven’t picked up a printed dictionary since 1999.
Carr says that one of the biggest impacts is the effect of linking, and the way it conditions us to process many different rabbit trail sources of information. We have become accustomed to constantly pursuing whatever looks most interesting and stimulating.
Just recently I was thinking about the tendency among some of my friends to call each other by first initials and last names. It happens most when the names and initials happen to work together and just have a nice ring, but occasionally we modify the last name into a shorter version that sounds better.
I started wondering why we do this, and it occurred to me that at my school, email aliases are first initial and last name. We’re getting so used to interacting online that we call each other by our online names even offline.