"Society of Skimmers" is an Article written by Michael Agresta on the advantages of reading offline and the defects that come with reading online. In this regard, the author discourages online learning due to increased use of communication technology by many people. The Article combines researches of several people on the effects that online reading has on the mental health of individuals. According to the Article, linear reading is more memorable than online reading. In their argument, online reading involves the skimming of several web pages without necessarily concentrating on any of them. Additionally, those reading online face the temptation of skimming the content, reading it, or clicking away to find even more newer news. Further, the article claims that the internet is an obstruction to civilization and to the personal quality of life. As such, online skimming of content is a behavior that requires conscious management by the victims.
Dillon, Carr, Markman and McDonald, opine that good reading habits can only be established and practiced by turning off all devices that are equipped with internet. Surprisingly Markman is of the opinion that maintaining offline reading provides a lesser challenge than other personal life disciplines. Dillon, on the other hand, states that the use of internet in reading has the net effect of rewriting our brains in a permanent way. In his opinion, Dillon proposes that reading online can be overcome by avoiding the internet and reading offline. He compares reading online to the ill effects of some food items to sedentary life. Carr, on his part, says that online readers treat their minds as computer hard drives where they have to lock a lot of information into their biological memory. As such, the mind becomes an artificial memory, which cannot hold the information that it is bombarded with from online reading. As such, the article is a proponent of offline reading as opposed to the use of the internet.
I concur with the opinions of the various individuals in the Article as well as that of the author. Indeed, online reading is detrimental to our memory. In this regard, the mind is bombarded with lot of information that it cannot permanently store. As a result, online thinkers have a very shallow memory, which cannot hold the skimmed information for a long time. Additionally, online information is never fully understood. This is because of the many WebPages that an individual opens. Getting one piece of information makes the reader to open another website looking for a more refined and relevant piece. This process goes on and on until the mind is very exhausted. At the end of the day, the reader will have skimmed several pages without necessarily paying attention to any particular one. In this case, the mental status of the mind is affected as the skimming habit brings discomfort to the normal operations of the brain.
From my personal experience, online reading is very addictive. In this case, an individual feels the urge to open a website after the other without necessarily looking for any particular piece of material. When I open a particular website, I am tempted to either read one or two sentences from the content of the website or skim the content. More often than not, I am even tempted to skip the content without having a clear picture of the general information of the webpage. In this regard, I end up opening many websites and never having a general overview of any of them. Specifically, I have to reply to some emails, chat with some of my friends on Facebook, WhatsApp and other social websites, and read a particular interesting article. This becomes very difficult as the concentration is divided on different WebPages. The resultant effect of that is that I will not be able to decipher any of the communications and neither will I have an understanding of the article that I read during that time.
I agree with the contention of the author that online reading turns the minds of the readers to computer hard drives. In this regard, the function of a computer hard drive is to store vital information that is saved in the computer. Generally, a hard disk contains a lot of information from where the user can retrieve any document that is saved in the hard drive. However, a computer hard drive differs greatly from the mind of an individual. Whereas a computer hard drive can store a lot of information at the same time, a memory cannot. However, by skimming a lot of articles and WebPages in the internet, readers transform their minds into hard disks. Due to the general nature of our minds and the shallow way of absorbing information, the mind ends up not storing anything. At the end of the reading session, the reader realizes that he/she cannot remember anything from the diverse WebPages that he/she skimmed through. Concisely, the mind is not a computer hard disk and, therefore, cannot store information that is skimmed from so many web pages.
The contention that online reading has the effect of rewriting our brains is entirely true. In this regard, online reading has the net effect of adding too much information to the brain, which the brain cannot handle. Additionally, online reading has the temptation of bombarding the mind of lots of stuff that is difficult to comprehend. Multi-tasking the brain even makes the information that was initially contained in it disappear. The reader will subsequently feel exhausted but without any knowledge on the various readings that had been read online. Actually, there is a tendency of reading articles that talk about the same things but in different ways. As a result, a lot of information will be taken on the same subject matter that interests the reader. The resultant effect of this is rewriting the memory with the same kind of information.
In conclusion, I completely concur with the assertions of the article on the effects of online reading. In this regard, online reading has an adverse effect on individuals. Specifically, it affects the health status of the brain as well as its normal functioning. This is caused by the concentration of a lot of information that the mind cannot store. From my personal experience, I have found that online reading is very addictive. As a result, it is very difficult to concentrating on any particular site. The opening of one site leads to another webpage. To this end, there is a temptation to read, skip or skim the information contained in one site. Further, I agree with the author that the mind is converted to a computer hard drive through online learning. However, the brain cannot sustain so much information at once unlike a computer hard disk. Therefore, the only way to read healthily is to keep off from all internet-enabled devices and employ linear reading.
Agresta, M., Tyx, D., Espinoza, V., Nusser, N., & Perez, A. (2014). Forgetting how to read? Don't read online.. The Texas Observer. Retrieved 14 February 2016, from http://www.texasobserver.org/reading-online-turn-page/
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