Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bill Keller

The shortcomings of social media would not bother me awfully if I did not suspect that Facebook friendship and Twitter chatter are displacing real rapport and real conversation, just as Gutenberg's [printing press] displaced remembering. The things we may be unlearning, tweet by tweet ─ complexity, acuity, patience, wisdom, intimacy ─ are things that matter.

My own anxiety is less about the cerebrum than about the soul, and is best summed up not by a neuroscientist but by a novelist. In Meg Wolitzer's charming new tale, "The Uncoupling," there is a wistful passage about the high-school cohort my daughter is about to join. Wolitzer describes them this way: "The generation that had information, but no context. Butter, but no bread. Craving, but no longing."

from: The New York Times Magazine, The Twitter Trap, May 22, 2011. Bill Keller is the executive editor of The New York Times.