It’s 3:17 a.m. as I write this and I’m guessing it will be about 3:40 a.m. when I’m done. We’ll see. I can’t sleep, which is unusual, and I’m hungry but too tired to eat. I’m also thinking that what I’m about to write won’t make any sense at all, but I’ll take a stab at it.

I’ve been reading a few things online and thinking a lot. Mostly, it’s about attention spans and intelligence or what is perceived as intelligent these days. It seems like the Internet might be hurting intelligence or maybe a very specific kind of intelligence.

I like to read a lot. I’m going from one book to the next and I feel like I can’t have enough material around, so I surround myself with books and magazines. You know, to feel safe. I’ve been this way for the last seven or eight years – before that, I mostly read magazines and books required for school. Now, I like non-fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Steven Pinker, Christopher Hitchens, Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins. I am not a big fan of fiction, but I’m trying to get into it. Oh, and I absolutely do not like Malcolm Gladwell. I think he’s a fraud and anyone who thinks he’s clever is intellectually bankrupt. I read his two books and I can see exactly why they wowed the double-digit IQs of America.

Every so often, I don’t mind the 300-words-or-less articles or blogs. Brevity is so championed these days, but I think it’s because of the Internet and how it’s ruining everyone’s attention span and intelligence. It’s affecting me, too. I find it increasingly difficult to get through a few chapters in a book in one sitting or to read a feature (which could be several pages long) from a magazine like The New Yorker. Even in my writing, I’ve found that blogging, something I do for a few sites, has hurt my ability to read and write pieces that do more than summarize an issue.

Short articles, brief videos, and snippets of information overload the Internet and our minds. It seems anything that requires mental effort is a major deterrent for most people. Maybe I should make this blog entry really long so that most of you readers will go away.

Speaking of informational snippets, I find it hilarious when people try to make themselves sound intelligent or enlightened because they have an RSS feed. Good for fucking you! Yes, let’s talk politics or technology and enlighten or humiliate each other based on who’s read the most blogs. Please, impress me with your knowledge acquired from skimming through your Google Reader and the hundred word blogs you’ve written yourself based on scant info. Better yet, let everyone know how pretentious you are by writing about it on Twitter and linking to it.

What I love to do is sit and watch sometimes. Blog worlds are set on fire when tantalizing news hits the wire and everyone goes crazy talking about whatever is currently hot. Whether it’s true or not, it doesn’t matter; the hive mind is already at work into setting the “facts” into stone. Real smart. But what I love most are the people who decided to take two minutes to think about the news and decide its wrong and then tell everyone why.

Wow, because you did some fact checking or some critical thinking, you’re a genius! (And I love how casually some of these folks bring up the news, too.)

Here’s my problem with the Internet: Because information travels quickly and everyone is trying to get the news up before everyone else, journalistic integrity goes down the drain (something I’ve been accused of several times in the past). Fact checking is a thing of the past. Blog now, check facts later.

I have four minutes left.

So, the Internet is destroying intelligence. Sure, it’s bold and brazen to say so but it’s true. No one can stand to read anything that’s longer than 300 words anymore. (It surprises the shit out of me that the Amazon Kindle is flying off the shelves, figuratively speaking, when no one really reads books anymore – to kinda paraphrase Steve Jobs. That’s marketing power.) Most videos people view online are less than five minutes long. When searching for information on a subject, people will hit the back button in less than a second if it takes them to some page that (gasp!) is longer than two or three paragraphs.

I think I’ve finally mustered up some energy to get up and get food. On second thought, nah. I’m just going to sit here comfortably and go through my feeds so I can feel remotely enlightened and then wake up and forget everything I skimmed over.

It’s 3:40!