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Has the Web changed your reading habits?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
To be honest, I think it has affected mine. When reading a book or long essay, I often get the urge to run to the PC and Google something of note. It's become harder to spend two or three hours immersed in a text. Are our brains becoming indices. http://theamericanscene.com/2009/05/...in-is-an-index
post #2 of 17
Absolutely. Undoing this shift toward a miniscule attention span is first on my to-do list ATM.
post #3 of 17
Hell yes. I wish I could ctrl+F some of my overpriced textbooks. Would save me a lot of time.
post #4 of 17
Not really. I can still read several pages before feeling a need to do something else.

Seriously though, I've always been able to read intensely for several hours straight if I enjoy what I'm reading, or if I think it is important enough. I've polished off about 1000 pages of technical reading in the past 2 and a bit weeks. And I don't use google when I read, unless I'm really confused about something, which is almost never.

I skim articles when I read online, but usually because they're only marginally interesting to me in the first place.
post #5 of 17
I can still sit and read a book for hours. I can't recall most of what goes on unless I've taken the time to analyze it separate of the the reading though- this isn't a major change for me though. I also don't read as much because I'm busy on the web. So I guess yes, it has changed my reading habits a bit. Edit- also, I found that bit about indexing to be very accurate with regards to how my mind works.
post #6 of 17
Yeah. I have much less time to read than I used to because of the internet. When I force myself to shut off the computer I can still read a book the way I used to though. But it's hard to not use the internet. I feel like I'm missing something when I'm away from it. Edit: What the Internet has really fucked is my movie watching. I'm in the middle of watching The Last Picture Show on my laptop right now, but I got a sudden urge to get on the internet. I disgust myself.
post #7 of 17
Up until three years or so I would read the print additions of 2-4 daily newspapers. Lately I read everything on the web, about 2-4 hours per day.
post #8 of 17
While I'm at it, the web has fucked my sleeping habits all to hell. I need to wake up in 5 hours...
post #9 of 17
I think the internet actually encourages ADD. Makes a lot of people's attention span lesser and lesser, so sitting still reading just "one" thing is almost impossible to do for an extended amount of time.
post #10 of 17
Here's a great program from NPR about this exact topic: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=91543814 "Is the Internet Making Us Stupid?" and another article http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and the blog post that I side with, arguing against the Google article: From http://eripsa.org/blog/2008/06/distraction/
Quote:
The article argues that even if we take in more textual information in the information age, our response to these texts is more reflexive and superficial. When we read online, "We tend to become 'mere decoders of information.' Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged." I’m not entirely sure why this is something we ought to worry about, but more importantly I’m not convinced that the premise is right. Personally, I find myself reading longer articles more thoroughly since I started blogging, because I am looking for specific quotes or themes that I want to echo here. While it is true that I read very little off-line, it is also true that very little of what I want to read is only found off-line. The trick, of course, is that what I read online is fairly tightly constrained by what I am looking for. Since my interests are pretty narrow and well defined– in other words, since my ‘rich mental connections’ are already formed– these interests ultimately guide my web crawling to places that encourage deeper thought and analysis. Such an approach ought to satisfy critics of the internet, who worry that the unguided dancing across hyperlinks leaves us without any unified narrative to tie together these disparate and otherwise unconnected patches of information. Since I bring my interests to the net instead of waiting for the net to give them to me, I remain coherent throughout the crawling experience, and can therefore exercise my intellectual needs in a satisfying manner. However, against the critics I would argue that unguided free play on the net can be incredibly instructive for shaping the interests and themes that ultimately begin to guide a mature use of the net. It is in this sense that Google isn’t merely a replacement for the automated routines of brains, but instead is something like an tutor that helps us sort out the tangle of information to make real the possibilities and pursuits that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle.
post #11 of 17
I'm trying to get back in the habit of reading books. I used to devour books from the library. Now I just devour styleforum. Still, I wonder if we're also becoming better able to handle multitasking -- switching back and forth from one task to another. There's usually some period of reduced efficiency as you switch from one task to another, but this period of reduced efficiency might be reduced as we become more accustomed to switching.
post #12 of 17
The net has made me realise how much I love books. I enjoy the actual holding of a book in my hands, feeling the paper and turning the pages. That, plus most of the wisdom of the world is in books, not on the net.

The internet is good for instant access to information, but quite frankly I am reading books more and more, and spending less time on the web. But that's just me.
post #13 of 17
I've recently been limiting my daily Internet time so I can maximize my reading time. I know that it's possible to do "serious reading" on the Internet, but most of my webtime is spent goofing around -- lurking forums and messageboards, looking at photos of naked chicks, and reading bar & restaurant reviews -- time which could be better spent reading something worthwhile.

My self-imposed Internet rules are now 20 minutes per day to take care of serious things (e-mail, bank & credit card accounts, and all that stuff) and 20 minutes for anything else. Only time will tell if I can stick to the plan, especially when there's so many photos of naked chicks on the Internet.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vito View Post
I've recently been limiting my daily Internet time so I can maximize my reading time. I know that it's possible to do "serious reading" on the Internet, but most of my webtime is spent goofing around -- lurking forums and messageboards, looking at photos of naked chicks, and reading bar & restaurant reviews -- time which could be better spent reading something worthwhile.

My self-imposed Internet rules are now 20 minutes per day to take care of serious things (e-mail, bank & credit card accounts, and all that stuff) and 20 minutes for anything else. Only time will tell if I can stick to the plan, especially when there's so many photos of naked chicks on the Internet.

I feel your pain. There is a tug of war going on inside me between Samuel Johnson and Kim Kardashian.
Not a pretty picture...
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
I feel your pain. There is a tug of war going on inside me between Samuel Johnson and Kim Kardashian.
Not a pretty picture...
I'm with ya, bro. For me, it's a struggle between Tolstoy and Jennifer Walcott. Tough choice.
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