Baroness Susan Greenfield "told the House of Lords that children's experiences on social networking sites 'are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity'.
Arguing that social network sites are putting attention span in jeopardy, she said: 'If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviours and call them attention-deficit disorder. ...
She also warned against 'a much more marked preference for the here-and-now, where the immediacy of an experience trumps any regard for the consequences. After all, whenever you play a computer game, you can always just play it again; everything you do is reversible. The emphasis is on the thrill of the moment, the buzz of rescuing the princess in the game. No care is given for the princess herself, for the content or for any long-term significance, because there is none."
(Patrick Wintour, political editor guardian.co.uk, 24 February 2009)
2) Leading neuroscientist Lady Greenfield on the impact of spending hours in front of the computer and what makes a friend.
"In introducing the theory of how immediacy functions in remediation, Bolter and Grusin quotes from Michael Joyce's significant writing of hypertextual pedagogy to remind readers of digital media that 'replacement is the essence of hypertext, and in a sense the whole World Wide Web is an exercise in replacement: 'Print stays itself; electronic replaces itself' (43-4). It is also obvious that Guy Swift as a counterpoint to Arjun in the novel embodies the concept of constant replacement in digital remediation. Guy's transformation in last section of the novel signifies the interplay of hypermediacy and immediacy, making it easy for him cross over the limit between his net-worked self, the hypermediated self or the windowed self he assumes when he has his laptop in hand presenting his projects to his clients, to the new virtual self, immersing himself within the virtual space really controlled by himself for the first time. The interaction between hypermediacy and immediacy shatters the binary opposition and blurs the demarcation in between, enabling easy crossovers from the transparent virtual selfhood to a social network of multi-selves."
(Ariel, University of Maryland English Department)
"An interface is basically a layered structure with layers of code where the top layers are progressively oriented towards the human while the bottom layers address the machine. At each layer, and between the layers, the interface translates and negotiates between the machine and the human. This translation leaves traces that are perhaps most visible when the machine breaks down or when a breakdown of communication occurs. Such traces are of course not desirable when designing a user-friendly interface. Still, the translation should not always strive to be automatic, smooth, and seamless. We need critical interfaces that give the user insight into to the workings of the machine and software, which would also give the user better possibilities to develop unforeseen and 'un-designed' uses."
(Olav W. Bertelsen & Søren Pold)