The two chapters illustrate the impact of the Internet on people’s lives. Unlike common believes that the Internet causes a lack of interpersonal conversations, the authors do not view this effect in a negative light. Instead, Harris suggests that the current reality informed by the Web is simply unavoidable and cannot be judged on the negative and positive dichotomy. To prove his point, he includes historical and empirical data, structuring his analysis with the use of parallels to science, as well as providing his account. Goldsmith, on the other hand, states that the Internet is the basis for the increased socialization among humans by presenting personal examples of his family members.
Both Goldsmith and Harris use the first-person language in their analyses of the role of the Internet in modern society. By using the “I” pronoun, the authors incorporate their reflections into their narrations. For instance, “Let’s Get Lost” starts with the statement: “I’m wasting time on the Internet” (Goldsmith 7). The sentence is simple, yet descriptive of the content of the chapter and the book in general. In one statement, the author presents the readers with his analytical view of how he spends time on the internet. Yet, his later examinations in the chapter prove that this statement, which seems to have a negative connotation, is, in fact, incorrect and by “wasting time” he learns much useful information.
Additionally to incorporating the word “I”, Harris operates the “we” pronoun. He writes: “We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop” (Harris 18). The author argues for the shared experience of all human beings living in the era of technological advancements. He also describes in detail how his generation is unique because they lived both with and without the Internet, and are, therefore, able to see the differences between the two realities.
“Let’s Get Lost” argues for the positive impact of technology on human socialization. To support his argument, Goldsmith addresses common beliefs of the detrimental effects of the Internet by thoroughly analyzing the experiences of his family members. In the analysis, he suggests that the Internet improves the interaction between the author’s son and his friends. The author states: “They’re functioning as a group, yet they’re all independent” (Goldsmith 18). Such independence is informed by the separate connections the members of the group have to their devices. Goldsmith evaluates their behavior using seemingly opposing statements in a manner of juxtaposition. Yet, by sharing content seen on the Internet, the teenagers interact and stay together as a group.
Harris, on the other hand, gives a combination of personal and scientific accounts to prove his point that the current reality is largely informed by the Internet which cannot be escaped. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of online interactions, the author highlights the pressure of feeling important in the context of these connections: “I must be very, very important” (Harris 22). Furthermore, he states: “I must be needed, necessary, crucial” (Harris 22). The repetition of the word “very”, as well as the accentuation on the strong adjectives further add to the overwhelming experience of living in the era of constant online connection.
Moreover, Harris incorporates specific references to provide more evidence for his point in a form of research. He references scientific data: “Dr. Small points out that this atmosphere of manic disruption makes my adrenal gland pump up production of cortisol and adrenaline” (Harris 22). By including scientific terms, Harris gives his examination more credibility, operating on the reader’s ability to see the chapter as a reliable source of information rather than simply a subjective analysis.
The two chapters present the reader with the view that the Internet is a necessary tool in contemporary society and should not be seen as having a solely negative impact on humans. Goldsmith creates a purely personal account of his family members suggesting that the Internet enriches social interactions. Harris, on the other hand, incorporates both subjective and objective stylistic techniques to argue for the important, yet the overwhelming effect of technology.
Goldsmith, Kenneth. “Let’s Get Lost”. Wasting Time on the Internet. New York, Harper Perennial, 2016, pp. 7-39.
Harris, Michael. “This Kills That”. The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection. London Current, 2015, pp. 17-43.