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Nov 6, 2009

The Internet and the damage done (to story-telling)

We're seeing more articles like this one in the Times: Click, tweet, e-ma

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We’re seeing more articles like this one in the Times:

Click, tweet, e-mail, twitter, skim, browse, scan, blog, text: the jargon of the digital age describes how we now read, reflecting the way that the very act of reading, and the nature of literacy itself, is changing.

The information we consume online comes ever faster, punchier and more fleetingly. Our attention rests only briefly on the internet page before moving incontinently on to the next electronic canapé.

Addicted to the BlackBerry, hectored and heckled by the next blog alert, web link or text message, we are in state of Continual Partial Attention, too bombarded by snippets and gobbets of information to focus on anything for very long. Microsoft researchers have found that someone distracted by an e-mail message alert takes an average of 24 minutes to return to the same level of concentration.

The internet has evolved a new species of magpie reader, gathering bright little buttons of knowledge, before hopping on to the next shiny thing.

I love that last line about magpie readers.

I can see the problem, but I think it’s about discipline. Avoid multi-tasking.

If you’re going to read books (and you should) or even long articles; you need to switch off the devices and focus.

Don’t worry, twitter will still be there – or something even crazier will have replaced it.

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