Has the Internet changed the way we read

One of my favorite bloggers on writing Anne R.Allen had this quote from Michael Rosenwald in the Washington Post:

 “Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on…The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly…Some researchers believe that for many people, this style of reading is beginning to invade when dealing with other mediums as well.”

I don’t know if that is true. It could depend on one’s age, something that is not taken into account by the present generation, which is true of any era. By that I mean the youth of today have grown up reading from the Internet and the above quote may be true for them, but perhaps not for baby boomers.

And in truth even people who grew up reading actual books, magazines, textbooks, and newspapers, also scanned, looking for the meat within the text. It is something one quickly learned in college. The faster you could get through daily reading assignments, the quicker you got to the party.

But Rosenwald’s quote has substance and certainly worthy of debate and looking into.

However, another quote in Allen’s blog I found infuriating and downright inane, and yes stupid. Perhaps it was meant to inflame. This quote comes from Rob Eager of Digital Book World.

“There is no such thing as an ‘author’.  Instead, there are only people who write stuff that they want other people to buy. Nobody dreams about writing for free, and the few who don’t care if people buy what they write are generally known as ‘poets’.  If there’s no such thing as an author, how do we define people who write stuff that they want other people to buy? We call them ‘salespeople.'”

The reason this is an ill thought out quote is that even before digital writing, before e-books, before e-novels, writers, as in authors, would promote their books, through radio interviews, television interviews, through book tours, through print ads by the publisher. Authors in the past also wanted people to buy and read what they wrote. The only thing that has changed is the growing digital world that allows for more authors.

I created two e-novels and a collection of e-short stories. I am a better author than I am a salesperson, but that is okay, because that has been the lot of  the majority of writers. Feel from to comment in this discussion.

My Amazon page

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Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, Uncategorized, writing

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