A great article by Nicholas Carr has appeared in my reader three times in the last day or so. Nicholas laments the loss of our ability to read deeply. Google, Blogs, RSS, Podcasts and Wikipedia provide us with the ability to find out anything or say what we think about anything whenever we like. Is this bad?
Tony Karrer reckons it’s pretty good and we should blog about it, Tom Davernport says it’s inevitable and we’ll just evolve and Mind Hacks rejects the premise that anything other than out behaviour is changing.
I sit somewhere in the middle. I scan through 70 odd blogs in my reader every couple of days, only stopping to absorb or comment on those that particularly tickle my fancy. I scan the news headlines and read the first paragraph to get the gist of what is happening in the world. That said, I often crave analysis. I regularly find myself seeking out in-depth articles, podcasts and documentaries that discuss an issue at more than a superficial level. I sometimes get the feeling that while I have read 100+ articles in the last couple of days I have not really learned anything. At this point I agree with Tony, I really build my understanding of an issue when I blog about it, or if it doesn’t relate to my blogging ‘world’ sit down and discuss it.
Short, sharp updates are vital to keep up to date with what is going on in a rapidly changing world and while we may be spending less time on one article, we are now reading 5 articles on the same topic presenting a range of different perspectives. The nature of the reading and information consumption may be changing but will that result in a more sophisticated analysis of an issue?