Michael Lopp on why we don’t really read things anymore:

When I observe how I consume information, I’ve become increasingly aware of how little actual deep information I’m consuming. Each morning, I launch a series of tab groups (News, Nerds, Apple, Games, Hockey) in my browser, and as I read each of the front pages in these groups, I’m basically reading tweets — the short headlines that describe what occurred. Sometimes I’ll drill down on an article, but again, if I carefully consider my reading of them, my eyes dart from headline to headline without truly consuming and digesting the words.

I am learning something. The article I’m lightly consuming has become bookmarked in my head, and if it comes up in casual conversation later in the day, I can vigorously nod and say, “Yes, yes, I read that”. But I haven’t really. I noted the shortest version of it; I can quote the simplest version of it. I have a facade of the story and the illusion of knowledge.

I miss long thoughts.




  • The Power of Structured Procra


  • http://twitter.com/qyang28 Qian Yang

    Well said. in addition to being broad, we also need chuncks of substance to churn out good ideas. with the increasing accessibility to information, who and what can act as our filters? We learn while we do filtering ourselves, don’t we?

  • arizonahoss


    • Sean Blanda

      Ha! Good point.

  • Robert Spatz

    There was another disturbing article in the January 15 ‘Fast Company’ magazine about
    the publishing industry and the state of reading today. A Tufts University child development professor lamented the loss of “deep reading,” and professors report that today’s students can’t or won’t read lengthy 19th-century novels. The author concluded by stating “…losing a few dusty 19th-century novels feels like a small price to pay for the future those kids might create.” Is this really the attitude we’ve developed today? Educators complain that American children are so far behind those of other countries in math and science skills- If they can’t concentrate deeply, how are they going to develop the deep concentration needed to learn complex mathematics? How are they going to concentrate long enough, on collaborations at work, to see projects through to completion?

    The article can be found
    at http://www.fastcompany.com/3004309/publishing-industry-isnt-doomed-readers-control-future-reading

  • Thomas Engebrand

    That pretty much sums up how I’ve felt about my media consumption over the last year..

  • Ryan Peters

    Very relevant idea. To turn information into “long thoughts” I have to Will my mind active around it. Perhaps I’ll reiterate it, in my own words, in my mind.

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