I wasn’t going to respond at all to New York Times Executive Editor’s plaintiff, if hyperbolic, critique of all social media, “The Twitter Trap,” but I’m hearing Carville-like yelling in my ear and realize I have to. Far, far too many powerful, brilliant, important people who should know a lot better are blaming technology for all kinds of things, and I better come clean and start entering the debate at that level. So, okay: ‘IT’S NOT THE TECHNOLOGY, STUPID!“ It is just so hard to believe how many reputable intellectuals, writers, scientists, social scientists, and even educators are willing to indulge in a specious logic that they would never allow on another topic. They like to say that the Internet makes us shallow, stupid, distracted, lonely, or, in the case of this piece by the executive editor of the New York Times, that it somehow compromises us morally and spiritually: "My own anxiety,” Keller writes, “is less about the cerebrum than about the soul.” I can only imagine an executive of his stature snickering with derision remembering how so-called “primitive people” said exactly the same thing about photography. Here are two facts: (1) we now know from the new science of attention and the most recent findings in neuroscience that our brain is not, as was previously thought, an inheritance that comes with all of its components fixed and certain; the brain is a learning organism and that means it is constantly changed by its environment, but what it experiences, and by its interactions. But (2) except in B-horror movies (“The Brain that Wouldn’t Die” or “The Brain from Planet Arous” and so forth), the brain doesn’t power itself and it doesn’t power us. The brain R us. That is, what we experience our brain experiences. If we give it a steady diet of junk food or alcohol or Ritalin, it changes. If we give it a steady stream of “Jersey Shore,” that’s what it learns. If we give it a steady diet of item-response multiple choice testing (the ridiculous form of testing which, we know, does nothing except prepare students to do well on that particular form of testing), it learns how to think like those tests. If we inspire ourselves to curiosity, expose ourselves to challenges and then succeed and reinforce our ability to take challenges, our brain learns how to extrapolate from challenges. And if we spend all day on line doing idiotic things, then, well, that is what we learn how to do well—spending all day on line doing idiotic things. We are what we do. Our brain is what it does. But that’s not about technology, it’s about humanity. Between the human brain and the computer screen, comes us, our will, our desires, our habits, our training, our work, our incentives, our motivations, our culture, our society, our institutions, all of the things that make us human. It’s NOT the Technology, Stupid! It is about what we–you and me–do with the technology. It always has been, it always will be. This is not to say technology doesn’t matter. It does. We are fifteen years into the biggest communications revolution since the invention of steam-powered presses and machine-made ink and paper. That mechanization of printing technologies suddenly made books and newspapers affordable to the masses for the first time in human history. That happened starting in the late 18th century and it had a lot of people very worried–including Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both of whom worried that a new U.S. ideal of representative democracy would become anarchy if the “rabble” had all that unfettered popular culture (novels, mainly, and newspapers), without a preacher to keep them on track reading only and exclusively from the Bible (the one book ordinary people might have owned prior to the mass printing revolution). Being doers, not whiners, Jefferson and Adams both, in different ways, set about thinking through what institutions needed to change if, in fact, a new technology had put books into people’s hands for the first time. They thought about the concept of universal public schooling, for example, since you needed not only to educate people to read but to educate them in how to read wisely and sanely.