10 reasons why we should all be reading more (you won’t believe what they are!)

The problem with the sudden influx of easily digestible information and the rise of the phrase TL;DR is a multi-faceted problem that cannot be easily solved. In my opinion, many authors on the internet tend to use a whole bunch of completely and totally unnecessary words in their posts in order to sound like they are actually really very smart. Or perhaps they are trying to fulfill a secret word-count quota that only they know about. In fact, this very paragraph could be edited to somewhere between a third or a half of its current length. With technical communication, wordy documents are especially grating since the real object of technical writing is to convey meaning in the most direct way possible. Many poorly written articles on the web are simply too long and deserve the retort TL;DR.

The flip side to this, however, is the unholy plague of listicles (an “article” in the form of a list) posing as real journalism. Seriously,stuff like this  is quickly filling the internet, making it harder and harder to find anything of actual value to read. Now, I know what you all are thinking..”this old codger needs to get hip to the new and the now, we are young and we are leaving dusty old print media and anything over 140 characters in the dust.”  I would caution against such a brash philosophy. Are there any scientific studies that show people who read entire books regularly are way smarter than people who read tweets and status updates all day? Probably, but I don’t need to reference any of them to tell you that that statement is 100% correct. (please note that the internet is awful and I hate everything. After a quick google search of “Do smarter people read more?,” the first twenty results were listicles. If you need information to be crunched into a list so that you can digest it, you should go back to preschool where your mommy and daddy will also cut your pb&j into triangles and remove the crust for you as well.

I can provide real data too, not just snarky conjecture. Apparently, all this googling and wikisurfing is changing how our brains process and store information. Instead of keeping all those interesting tidbits of “knowledge” in your memory, your brain creates a database entry point instead. What this means is that your brain does not remember the information that you went to look for. Instead, it remembers where you went to look for it.

The solution is simple yet also probably impossible. Everyone needs to set a higher standard for what they are willing to read. Buzzfeed isn’t rotting your mind, but it is wasting your time on, at best sub-par entertainment, when you could be doing literally anything else. As the famous philosopher, Drake said, “You only live once.” So why not make the best of our lives and strive to challenge ourselves intellectually and creatively every single day?

 

Sources used

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/01/the-fatal-arrogance-of-tldr.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/bricesander/celebrity-fashion-lines-you-totally-forgot-abou-wn2y

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/health/15memory.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Too_long;_didn%27t_read#GFDL.3F.3F.3F

 

2 thoughts on “10 reasons why we should all be reading more (you won’t believe what they are!)”

  1. I found your post to be a very fun read, despite the fact that it was lengthy and not in a list format. Actually, it wasn’t lengthy at all, but it is in comparison to majority of the articles that I see flooding my Facebook. As you have mentioned, there is an “unholy plague of listicles (an “article” in the form of a list) posing as real journalism.” I see at least one “listicle” on Facebook on a daily basis, and I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of reading them. I am entertained as I read the list, but at the end of it I realize that I just wasted a few minutes and I didn’t actually read anything useful. Unfortunately, I don’t see “listicles” going away any time soon. We live in a world where attention spans are extremely short and people don’t want to dedicate more than a couple of minutes to reading an article.

    I find it very fascinating that the way we retain information is actually being influenced by technology. The study mentioned in the article “Internet Use Affects Memory, Study Finds” is evidence that we are beginning to rely too much on technology, to the point that our memory is being affected. Therefore, I don’t think you’re being an “old codger” with your views about the articles that are taking over the internet. I believe that we have substantial reasons to worry.

    Works Cited:

    Cohen, Patricia. “Internet Use Affects Memory, Study Finds.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 July 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. .

  2. I was hoping to see a list or something but I got something i didn’t expect. The title of this post was a bit misleading and I must admit it made it harder for me to follow your post considering I was reading or glancing through the sentences while trying to find out 10 reasons why i should be reading it. The third paragraph also discouraged me a bit because i couldn’t make a clue of what the first 2 lines were about but i do agree my brain kind of skips the unfamiliar language and just shoots straight to what exactly i was expecting to see. This tends to typically happen because we are accustomed to expecting something even if it is a main point when we read and when we are unable to find it right away, we continue to skip lines until we finally approach the information we were originally seeking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.