What can Augustine, who lived in the 4th century AD, teach us about 21st century internet habits? Tony Reinke has the answer in "Why We Click Stupid Links."
By “stupid links,” I mean hyperlinks on the Web that do nothing but tap our kneejerk curiosity. They do little for us because they have little to offer. We click, we read, we watch, and often we feel dumber for it.
Such clamorous links litter the Internet, offering up celebrity gossip, bizarre crime stories, violent videos, and sexual images — each link asking for little more than a click (such a petty request).
So just how pervasive are these links? As I write, the CNN home page features these seven hyperlinked titles as “Top Stories”:
Augustine and Idle Curiosities
- Crack-smoking mayor won’t quit
- Was pushed husband blindfolded?
- Woman killed in cougar attacks
- Misquotes fuel Tom Cruise attacks
- Deer pierced in the face by arrow
- Guess who’s back in skinny jeans?
- Do astronauts clean their undies?
The magnetic pull we sometimes feel to headlines like these predates the Internet and the evening news. It was a concern taken up by church father Augustine, born on November 13, 354 A.D. (more than 1,650 years ago).
Augustine reflected on the temptations clouding and distracting his own heart in his classic of church history, The Confessions....Curious? read the article at the link.