Saturday, 16 June 2012

Why the internet is destroying our attention spans and love of books

There is something about everyday life that stops me from reading. I'd like to say it's because I'm too busy, but that would be lying. I believe the answer lies in modern technology, notably the internet. I blame it entirely for making me have the attention span of a four year old and not to mention ever too busy, doing quite literally nothing but looking at old friend's Facebook pages, to even attempt the challenge of reading a book. Four hundred pages of my attention, I personally feel, deserves me receiving a medal upon completion. I think it's the brightness of a laptop screen that draws me in, as opposed to me looking at a yellowing page in which the text is fading after years of sitting on a shelf. Maybe a Kindle could solve this, but alas I do not have a Kindle right now.

Is it not sad to know that newspapers are a dying breed? That a newspaper corporation (The Independent) actually had to create a smaller "bite-sized" read for consumers? Maybe I've lost numerous readers already due to the daunting length of all this text. I will I have to admit however, I do prefer the portion size of The I in comparison to lengthy broadsheets. The reason for newspapers and perhaps the old fashioned hobby of reading dying is only because we, as a nation, a global community and a world have become used to receiving small chunks of information at a time. How does this tie in to the internet? I hear you ponder. Here is the thinking: if you're anything like me, the first thing I do when I open up the internet is open up a tab for this blog, a tab for Twitter, a tab for Facebook, a tab for AOL mail and a tab for my university email. It's almost become routine. So, with an initial thought to just check on my blog, I end up automatically opening five tabs, if not more. I instantly multi-task, without necessarily knowing it. I constantly flick tabs, because after looking at my ever expanding wish-list on ASOS, suddenly I want to know the definition for 'insouciant' and then I need to use Wikipedia to verify all the useless bits of information I've discovered. 

So yes, the prospect of reading does indeed seem daunting to some nowadays. I am however proud to declare that I overcame this issue recently and in the past month I have read three-and-a-bit books. (Granted two of those were on holiday, but give me some credit.) I think it's important to take time out of your day, away from your computer, laptop or iPhone, to indulge yourself with a book, or even a magazine if that's all your day can really fit in. Maybe not the I'm-marrying-my-dad-and-my-mum's-my-bridesmaid ones though, because I hate to say it but they are actually just picture books with captions. Buy a content heavy one, and just enjoy an excellent past time. I guarantee you'll feel relaxed and at peace with the world afterwards. Well, maybe not the latter. I never said I was a miracle worker.

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