Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Feed by M.T. Anderson


Feed by M.T. Anderson was a challenging read for me because I am very resistant to reading science fiction. Although this was not my favorite book, I still found it to be thought provoking and I can understand and appreciate why young adult readers and fans of science fiction novels would enjoy this book. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the book, one thing that motivated me to keep reading was Feed's similarity to our world. Today, we are constantly spending time in front of "feeds." These may not be in our brains, but they are easily accessible on our phones, computers and tablets. We are able to access tons of information and are always being exposed to new information and media. What is scary is that companies are able to access the things that we look at on the Internet and tailor the advertisements that appear on webpages to what we are looking at online. For example, I recently was searching for a new pair of earrings. Now every time that I log onto Facebook or do a Google search, advertisements appear on the sides of my screen for earrings. It is like the computer is reading my mind just as if it were in my brain. After this realization, I thought, maybe Anderson is right; Maybe the Internet does tell us what to think. Or at least, it has an impact on our thought processes and choices. 

Furthermore, like the characters in Feed, information is readily available to us and we can access it quickly and easily. However, it is so accessible that people may be confusing collecting knowledge with thinking critically. A professor of mine once said that everyone today thinks they are an expert but he cautioned that anyone can do a few google searches. But to be a true expert, it is important to take that information and be able to analyze, critique, and apply it. That's a skill not everyone has. 

Although not everyone engages in this critical thinking, I hated how many of the teens in Feed were portrayed as mindless and overly impressionable. They came off as having no authority over their own feeds or technology itself. In our reality, this is not the case. The Internet has plenty of smart teens who are in control of their feeds and "the Network." They use the Internet as a platform to think critically and to use it in productive and meaningful ways. For example, there are numerous teens who blog, join forums, create YouTube videos, and so on to talk about things that matter in our world and to start conversations that may inspire others to think in a new way. I think it is important to remember that there is some good that can come from the use of technology and the Internet and it is important to acknowledge both the good and the bad that comes from it. 

1 comment:

  1. One of the things I like about BLOGGER as a tool for creating online learning logs (for academic purposes) is that you *can* limit the amount of outside "interference" or advertising that takes up the page. The writer has a great deal of control over what information is shared and the options the reader has when constructing their own reading.