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This New York Times cover story has inspired quite the debate. What effect is social media having on students? Are they too distracted by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and text messages to focus on their homework?

Don Tapscott, the author of Growing Up Digital and Grown Up Digital, had this rebuttal on the Huffington Post.

I think that this is a really interesting discussion, and from reading the comments on some of those sites, I see that it’s quite a polarized debate. We’re living at an incredibly interesting point in history, as our society shifts from a world of atoms to a world of bits. Everything seems to be going digital, and while there are obvious benefits to this digital revolution, there are also some serious limitations and potential pitfalls that we have to be careful of.

When we browse the Internet, opening tab after tab, are we really focusing on anything of any substance anymore? How does this fragmented and disjointed flow of information affect us? Do you know many people under the age of 30 who can sit down and read a book for two uninterrupted hours?

I’m about to start reading Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, which he adapted from his thought-provoking Atlantic article Is Google Making Us Stupid?

I just read the very optimistic Macrowikinomics recently, so I’m curious to see how these books compare. Tapscott and Williams mention Carr’s book near the end of Macrowikinomics, and agree that it raises some good points.

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