Sunday, July 20, 2008

My name is .. and I'm a book addict

Nick Carr's essay on the danger web technology poses to the ability to concentrate on long texts has spawned two interesting discussions, one at Britannica's blog and another at Edge. This is an important discussion, not because Carr or anyone else has found the answer, but because it's time for us to think about what web culture is doing to us - or rather, how we would like to use these new tools. For we have a choice. If the web causes us to read fewer books like Carr warns, and even to think in twitter-sized chunks, I think that's a bad thing, but it's not inevitable. Once you become aware of where the technology is pushing you, you have a choice of going along or pushing back. For my part, I read more books than ever these days, but I haven't always. The ability to read books doesn't come for free, it's not something a lucky few are granted, it can be trained, or neglected. The world is changing, far more than most people realize, and you need to ask yourself what kind of person you want to be in this new world. Do you want to be a book-reader? There are good alternatives, all I ask is that you choose consciously, and not just float along wherever the river takes you.

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