Home > Social Media, Social Media Tactics, Twitter, Uncategorized, Wine Marketing > Social Media and Networking- Are We All Becoming Idiots?

Social Media and Networking- Are We All Becoming Idiots?

I have heard about, read, watched and pondered deeply about people declaring that Facebook, Twitter and Blogging is destroying our brains. Where has reading gone? Why don’t kids play anymore, or old folks gather to play chess? What about college students meeting for coffee to discuss the unique relationship dynamics between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre?

I have a bachelors degree in History, Political Science, and English, with a minor in Philosophy and a MA in Social Anthropology, am I allowing a finely tuned noggin to turn to dust by permissing myself to be immersed in these new fangled Social Media Networks?

During a discussion with one of the countries greatest Social Media minds, Chris Pirillo, a week or two ago, I caught myself admitting that Twitter has forced me to re-think making a point. It has conditioned me to make my point quickly, clearly, and in a way most everyone can understand. As an English major, and someone who has been public speaking and teaching for many years, this was an interesting revelation to me. I also feel that my years of archival research experience were a joke compared to the access of information I have now, the type of information, and who it is coming from. OK, so maybe the content has changed a bit… but so has my life. I went from 15 hour nights spent in the NYU library ten years ago, researching one question I had about Elenore Roosevelt’s involvement with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to tweeting “What’s the best Banana bread recipe” last night, and getting 30 answers in 10 seconds.

It is obvious that the type of information we get from each other over these social spaces is quite different than the information found in archives and the works of Nietzsche, Marx and The American Anthropological Association, but who cares! The information is relevant and applies to our every day lives… and it comes real time! I have not lost the book worm nerd in me… the girl who reads Shakespeare well into the night, just because I tweet. If anything, I have exponential access to new information, not to mention friends and connections with people who I truly believe “are there for me”. I write this, by the way, as I eat a banana muffin- the recipe of the grandmother of someone I have never met who is on Twitter. It’s the best muffin I’ve ever had. Her name was “Grandma Jo”.  A few key take-home points: 1. I like muffins. 2. I am not an idiot, and neither are you, we just like to tweet and connect on Facebook.

“Not everyone would think that the actor Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter musings on his daily doings constitute part of “the universal body of human knowledge.” But the Library of Congress, the 210-year-old guardian of knowledge and cultural history, thinks so”. See HERE for a recent New York Times article about Twitter and historical archiving.

  1. May 5, 2010 at 2:41 pm


    Well done argument. I didn’t realize the depth of your college education. Social Media is definitely NOT making us stupid, it IS connecting us more quickly to the information we need/want.


  2. May 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Well said! I’ve never been more connected with my community than I am today. Those who still look at social media as MySpace pages and Facebook updates are sadly missing the point. Social Media is a communication revolution, and it’s exciting to see and be part of.

    Now if I could just find a good $20 bottle of Merlot I’d be set! 🙂

  3. May 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Dang! Check out the brain on Barb! You really are a hyper achiever. There was a point a while back before I started using Tweetdeck, that I actually did feel like I was getting dumber. Too much information coming in, such a short attention span that I was reading and writing 10 different things at once and not doing any one of them really well. I find that when I am writing I have to turn off twitter. It’s just too distracting.

    • May 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm

      Yes, I can see it being a distraction of sorts for certain. I suppose it all depends on who you are following, and what you are looking to get out of the experience. At first, I too wondered what slippery slope I was sliding down, until I connected with big brains and started realizing the power and benefits of it all, and that like a cocktail party, there are people in the room you connect with, and others you don’t!

  4. May 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Great post! And the technology that has made twitter, facebook, et al. possible also makes archival research much faster and far more effective than days of yore.

    See you on twitter. 🙂

  5. May 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm



    I am conducting a five year study on the advent of social media, winemakers’ attention to and consumption by it… and the rise of VA in wines.

    Stay tuned…


  6. May 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Stacy – you can get a gold medal winning Merlot for 20 bucks at Hard Row to Hoe under its Shameless Hussy label 🙂

  7. May 6, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I like twitter. I like wine. I like you! I’m no dummy. Quick and to the point.

  8. Thom
    May 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    You go girl! You are my hero and to think you were putting in 15 hour nights in the library when you were 13 wow!

    • May 6, 2010 at 9:36 pm

      Smart ass… I’m in my 30’s. Good skin thanks to mom! I get carded and then the grocer/tender looks at me in disbelief.

  9. May 7, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Come to Santa Barbara, and go wine tasting with me. http://www.ppwinetours.vpweb.com and then show me how to work all these wonderful media sources that are available to most the younger generation. I haven’t got a clue yet to this moment what I’m doing on FACEBOOK, and tweet tweet, twitter, well that’s still a total mystery to me. Maybe next winter when things slow down a bit and I can take time to sort it all out… Anyhow I just wanted to really just say hello, and tell you how much I really appreciate all that you have tried to do for me Thanks Barbara. Your a great little gal from Seattle….. “Your Wine Country Cabbie! in Santa Barbara California

  10. May 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Speaking from the ‘old guy’ quadrant, I love social media. It’s especially fun to do trad media AND new media. They are quite different. I would encourage you – and others – to explore both. Old media (print) is not dead. It’s morphing. It’s wise to do both if you have the ability.

  11. May 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Good meeting you last night.

    I’ll add my first time comment: social media is simply changing the way our knowledge management works. In our current society, anyone with a mobile phone has near limitless access to both factual and social information.

    The hurdle that makes people think “stupid” is the simple fact of shutting down under the processing crisis of having ten thousand information channels to choose from.

    My basic recommendation to most folk: Until you decide to buy a radio tuner and figure out how to work it, all this stuff just sounds like static.

  12. Mike
    May 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Nice post. I don’t think anyone would argue that our hyper-connected world is making us stupid, in fact, the mean literacy is rising and more people are writing than ever before, which can only be a good thing.

    The problem I have is people confusing the ability to absorb, transmit and manipulate information, with the ability to synthesize information into knowledge. There is an enormous amount of information out there (some of it good, some of it bad) that anyone with Internet access has available to them. Never has access to information and literacy been more democratic, but information isn’t knowledge, and from what I’ve seen anyway, knowledge is what is in short supply these days.

  13. Fay
    May 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I think social media can help us a lot, but we just have to keep the balance between online community life and offline community gathering 🙂

  14. Steve Kroll
    June 27, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I’m not worried.

    If anything, I find that social media occasionally bombards me with more information than I can process. Is my attention span shorter? Maybe, but I prefer to think I’ve become more adept at quickly scanning an article to determine if it’s of interest, and moving on if it isn’t.

    I think the question is not “are we all becoming idiots?,” but rather, are we in danger of becoming like the hive-like Borg race of television’s “Star Trek” franchise, constantly plugging into “the collective” and assimilating the experiences of others, rather than engaging in activities that foster individualism and creativity?

    Most of us are probably safe. But I suspect that more than a few of the Ashton and Britney followers fall into that category.

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