We are also HOW we read.
It is often said that the Net is the new printing press. It also produces in the “reader” something new.
[T]he style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. 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. (…)
The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking. (the Atlantic)
Couldn’t agree more. We tend to read between lines, looking for key terms and prioritising the sentences that contain them (as google would) thus only reading chunks of text and we tend to substitute the reflection that a single source would trigger for the search for consensus from an overwhelming variety of sources.
Sometimes it’s nice just to read offline, disconnecting WiFi and HSDPA lines to be isolated from distractions and alone with our selected and downloaded texts.
Best regards 😀