August 18, 2005

"What effect is all this blogging having on the brains of bloggers?"

Ask Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide. Why it's a good question:
[O]ur mental activities actually cause changes in the structures of our brains--not only what we think, but how we think as well. ... After surveying the general range of materials that the blogosphere has to offer, we believe the following basic largely supportive conclusions are warranted:

1. Blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking.

First, there are blogs and there are...well, blogs. The best of blogs are rich in ideas and promote active exchange and critique. Rather than creating closed communities of like-minded troglodytes, these best blogs foster conversation, interactions with other blogs and other information sources, and invite feedback from their readers. Posts can form "threads" or links to other Web materials where readers can examine primary source material or articles that offer competing ideas and views. Blogs that follow this format are far from simple substitutes for television or video games. In fact, they are an ideal format for promoting critical and analytical thinking....

2. Blogging can be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking.

To remain popular with readers, blogs must be updated frequently. This constant demand for output promotes a kind of spontaneity and 'raw thinking'--the fleeting associations and the occasional outlandish ideas--seldom found in more formal media.... Raw, spontaneous, associational thinking has also been advocated by many creativity experts, including the brilliant mathematician Henri Poincare who recommended writing without much thought at times "to awaken some association of ideas."

3. Blogs promote analogical thinking....

4. Blogging is a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information....

5. Blogging combines the best of solitary reflection and social interaction....

Bloggers have solitary time to plan their posts, but they can also receive rapid feedback on their ideas. The responses may open up entirely new avenues of thought as posts circulate and garner comments.

Read the whole thing.

Great post.

I feel that I came to blogging with a brain ready to do exactly this and previously severely frustrated by an inability to do this. And I am also very aware that blogging has really affected my mind, mostly in good ways. For one thing, it's gotten me past that severe frustration of not blogging.

As I write this, the little kid across the street is screaming: "A worm! A worm! A worm! Oh! Ah! A worm! A worm! A worm! Oh! Ah!" And I'm already thinking, I want to blog about that.

Then I realize I don't need to start another post. That quote and my wanting to blog about it fit quite well right here, illustrating what blogging has done to my brain. In some ways, I feel I can think more clearly and quickly about what matters — in a bloggish sense of what "matters," which includes that worm quote. And I have a cool feeling of being able to pay rapt attention to whatever I'm thinking and writing about while still being ever distractable.

12 comments:

Kathy Herrmann said...

This is your brain. This is on brain on blogs....

phillywalker said...

People who do not read blogs (or read only blogs written by excitable teens or weird ranters) are suspicious of what is, after all, a wonderful combination of three awesome human activities: reading, writing, and conversing.

I have friends who sneer when I present information I have read on a blog: Where did you get that from? A blog?

As though blogs are inherently inferior forms of writing and communicating! Of course, they have no well-reasoned arguments for thinking this.

I think part of the problem is the word itself: too much like blah, log, bog, sog, and Odd Ogg (anyone remember that toy?).

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy Herrmann said...

How about...

Blogification
Blogify
Blogalyze

Dave Schuler said...

Obviously, blogging should be mandatory.

duvidil said...

Late night free association:
Did you ask the kiddo which type of worm, the kind that tunnels through the soil or the internet?

Hoots said...

How in the world do you find stuff like this nearly half a year after it's published? That strikes me as near magic. Very impressive.

amba said...

It was Ronni Bennett who found it. I was lucky enough to spot it on her blog Time Goes By, and I sent the link to Ann because it made me think of her. I say this not to "out" myself as a middlewoman but to point out how we pass information along in the blogosphere. If not for your question, this would have (and maybe should have?) remained just one of those mysteries. Now the real question is, how did Ronni find it?

amba said...

Oh, and I think it was G as in Good H as in Happy who first found the Eide Neurolearning Blog.

Alcuin Bramerton said...

What is a blog?

A blog is a voluntary extension
Of the conscious self
Into the planetary domain
Of awareness.

A blog is a single neurone's
Singular contribution
To all that is
In the nervous system
Of the planetary mind's
Human intellection department.
Golly.

Two things
Are becoming apparent,
Of course.

First, blogs and dreams
Are beginning to merge
In consciousness.
What is the difference
Between a blog and a dream,
After all?
And who cares?

And second, the planetary Blogos
On Earth
Is beginning to interlink
Functionally
With the much larger interplanetary,
Intergalactic
And inter-dimensional
Levels of being which,
Through a nexus of data links,
Keep a benevolent eye
On each other
For the greater good
And enlightenment of all.
Crumbs.

But what of words?
With regard to the emerging
Vocabulary of the weblog world,
The semantics
Of cyberspace,
Perhaps it is the case that
Cosmos and Blogos
Interpenetrate spiritually,
Ecosphere and Blogosphere
Interpenetrate metaphorically,
And Ecosystem and Blogosystem
Interpenetrate experientially.

Blogic, perhaps, is Biotic
Rather than Abiotic.
Or might it be Devic?

The philologist behind you
In the fish shop
Knows that the word "devic"
Comes from the Sanskrit "deva"
Meaning "shining one".

He also knows that Sanskrit
Has a significance beyond
The sub-conscious
Of the sub-continent.

But all this could be a lot of tosh.
Tosh is the pabulum of toshers.
But not all toshers are politicians
And yesterday's self-serving saviours.

Some toshers write blogs.
And some bloggers write tosh.

What is a blog, actually?
And which tosh is veridical?

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sangeetha said...

very impressive post...
keep bloggong!!!