Does Anyone Read Anymore?

Are advances in communication taking us back to caveman days?

The library, encyclopedia and physical dictionaries are headed the way of the dinosaur. Around the world newspapers are folding and robbing a generation of the experience of dirty fingertips as a result of a good Sunday morning read of the week past’s news. The Kindle and Ipad out sold most book store chains this past holiday season. So, I ask – does anyone read anymore?

Possibly the answer is in the incessantly repeated questions of a generation with an apathetic approach to information seeking. While generation X were information seekers – thrilled to save a trip to the library when they could  find a plethora of information awaited at the end of an ear piercingly noisy dial up connection, in contrast Generation Y is just not enthusiastic about reading to access the very knowledge they seek.

Doubt my apparent old aged view of the upcoming generation? Find proof in the very existence of SEO – Search Engine Optimization which is, among other things,  the “science” of “wordsmithing” a website to ensure that summaries and key words can attract the “modern web user”.  There is even a course on writing for the web! Translation – information short hand for dummies.

Now, don’t be aghast.  I am not insulting solely those under 25. No no. My question as to whether anyone reads anymore is also candidly aimed at my contemporaries who will spend hours on social media posting questions but are too lazy to ready the responses!

We have been nurtured to seek information in “bite sized” pieces. In fact, my very own definition of information served up on Web 2.0 (the modern internet) is similar to that of Burger King’s famous slogan – Have It Your Way! Get the information when you want its, how you want it and in any form you desire.

Enter YouTube – the internet’s answer to reading! I have learned to use my new camera with YouTube. A friend learned to drive a stick shift! And many of my students learn what good and bad social media usage looks like with YouTube… text is so – passe!

As communication evolves, it seems to be taking a step back. Cave men told stories and used hieroglyphics. Today’s earth dwellers supplement language with abbreviations, acronyms and share their life stories by punctuating same with emoticons.

Quite possibly the rationale of the modern communicator’s obsession with not putting so much emphasis on reading would be “We all liked the pictures in bed time stories growing up so…Y NOT? Cavemen and modern men unite! Pictures forever. Down with words!”



One Response to “Does Anyone Read Anymore?”

  1. Mark Lyndersay Says:

    I don’t think it’s writing vs video as much as it is good, succinct writing vs compelling video.
    Both require the full attention of their audience, but video commands both eyes and ears while writing must stir the imagination.
    Those are different challenges, each so specific that I’m not sure they can readily be compared in the way you’re doing it here.

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