The influence of the internet to our reading habits is not a small matter. Ellopos Blog has published on this in the past and it will continue to seek better understanding of the whole subject. Here follow excerpts from an article by Patrick Kingsley (Guardian).
Better read slowly – and prefer non-digital, paper books
According to The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, a new book by technology sage Nicholas Carr, our hyperactive online habits are damaging the mental faculties we need to process and understand lengthy textual information. Round-the-clock news feeds leave us hyperlinking from one article to the next – without necessarily engaging fully with any of the content; our reading is frequently interrupted by the ping of the latest email; and we are now absorbing short bursts of words on Twitter and Facebook more regularly than longer texts.
Which all means that although, because of the internet, we have become very good at collecting a wide range of factual titbits, we are also gradually forgetting how to sit back, contemplate, and relate all these facts to each other. And so, as Carr writes, “we’re losing our ability to strike a balance between those two very different states of mind. Mentally, we’re in perpetual locomotion”.
First we had slow food, then slow travel. Now, those campaigns are joined by a slow-reading movement – a disparate bunch of academics and intellectuals who want us to take our time while reading, and re-reading. They ask us to switch off our computers every so often and rediscover both the joy of personal engagement with physical texts, and the ability to process them fully.
“If you want the deep experience of a book, if you want to internalise it, to mix an author’s ideas with your own and make it a more personal experience, you have to read it slowly,” says Ottawa-based John Miedema, author of Slow Reading (2009).