Cognitive Surplus

I have unfortunately suffered from “senioritis”, which is to blame for my late post of my chapter summary from Cognitive Surplus. I have regained my motivation and back in the game! As those of you who have read, the first chapter started off by comparing Gin and TV for these are both reactions to societal problems; gin being the reaction to dramatic social change and the inability to adapt and TV the reaction to free time. He continues to state how although we know that TV aids in making us unhappy we continue to watch it. It actually makes us addicted to dreams of materialistic things while hindering our motivation and drive to get to those dreams. It has also made us underestimate the importance of interpersonal relationships. Then he brought up the point about how one hundred million hours has been spent on editing Wikipedia articles compared to the roughly two billion hours Americans watch TV every year; that would be 2000 wiki per year if we decided that as our passerby time activity. We would be doing something productive that benefits us all since the usage of Wikipedia has grown tremendously. I found this quote on page 14 that I thought was really important and interesting, it states “its also easy to assume that the world as it currently exists represents some sort of ideal expression of society, and that all deviations from this sacred tradition are both shocking and bad. Although the internet is already 40 years old, and the web half that age, some people are still astonished that individual members of society, previously happy to spend most of their free time consumer, would start voluntarily making and sharing things. I think this shows how we live in a consumer demanded society. He then goes into how people are starting to watch less television due to the Milkshake Mistake which has two parts to it: in context of media there is a focus on the tools over the behaviors and that the consumption of media is just a habit not tradition, so its easier to break than people believe. This then sparks the idea of us beginning to participate in creative acts with our spare time. He brings up this idea of “lolcat” which are images that feature a cat with some sort of text attached intended to be humorous and he states that it’s the stupidest kind of art yet its purposes is to show us as long as we as consumers can create it, it will continue to arise. Perfect example of this can be seen on twitter when people circulate around memes with their own customized words. Then he goes into talking about how media is like a triathlon with three events: people like to consume, but they also like to produce and share. And with all the recent technologies it become much easier for people to do that, like for instance Instagram where you can view other people’s pictures while also taking your own. He ends with explaining that the means, motive, and opportunity are the how’s, whys, and what’s, behind what we choose to do with our cognitive surplus.


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