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twitter.com/jeffreymstern

This is a nice excerpt - thanks for sharing. I know that I do more reading online now, and much more skimming than immersive contemplation. Perhaps counter-intuitively, I find that this facilitates deeper real-life interactions - rather than being entirely unaware of something, I may have seen a few tweets or links but not taken the time to deep dive into the content. Therefore, when a friend/colleague mentions the topic, I can say "I've heard a little about that - tell me more."

Brendan Kirkpatrick

Google IS making us stupid. The problem with the skim and dive method is that folks aren't ever really diving. They have a little information from various sources of questionable reliability, and fill in the rest from their imagination. Based on a few web posts, they think they know more about a topic than they actually do. At the same time, as anyone who ever did archival or library research in the old days knows, the Internet is a huge leap forward in making vast and previously inaccessible resources available. But use it as card catalog, or at best a bunch of abstracts. You still have to turn off the 'puter and read a few hours a day, or your deep reading skills atrophy. And Internet sources called for a high degree of critical reading.

Great, thought provoking post.

twitter.com/mitensampat

Steven: I cannot agree more with your the following sentence:

"it’s not that people now tell stories using branching hypertext links: it’s that we actively miss those links when we pick up an old-fashioned book."

the interactivity of hypertext is addictive. i often find myself wander off to different threads of thought while reading a book; since my web-browser is sitting right next to me; albeit stimulated by the physical book.

makes it terribly hard to power through a book.

hoping to try to the kindle soon, perhaps it will bind me to a virtual dictionary & wikipedia - and not let me wander off elsewhere.

thanks

Jason Kolb

The addition of the instantaneous crowd feedback is an interesting observation.

I find that when I write for my blog I'm usually inspired by those contemplative musings that you talk about and Carr looks for. I usually bang out the first draft of a post without thinking about anything or anyone but the idea itself. Then, if I let it sit for a while, I notice that my edits tend to take the audience into account a whole lot more, and I often delete entire posts because of it.

Not sure what that means, if anything, but it definitely has an effect on the end output.

Anyway, nice blog! Love your thoughts.

nida

Hallo...

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=649627398

Speaking of crowd driven criticism and fact checking, I was reading your book Emergence the other day and noticed that you attributed the term "homeostasis" to Norbert Wiener. In actuality the term was coined by a physiologist named Walter Bradford Cannon around 1932 - about 15 years prior to Wiener's usage of the term in his Cybernetics book.

danny bloom

Steve,
good post. Brenda, post comment 2 above, makes a good point, re: "The problem with the skim and dive method is that folks aren't ever really diving."

This is key. The differences between reading on paper and reading on screens is so vast, that future MRI scans will show us just how different parts of our brains light up when we read on paper compared to when we skim and dive online and on Kindles and nooks and even Bindles. Steve, we need a new word or term for reading on screens in order to SEE the differences, and so far no word has come forth. Any ideas for this? Some has suggested screening, or screading, even diging for digital reading. Certainly, screen reading is NOT reading. Reading must be reserved only for paper reading. we need a new word for reading on screens and we need it soon. can you blog one day on this? There's lots of info online already about this issue, but so far the MSM won't touch it. Google "zippy1300" and see for yourself. What we need now are good neuroscience studies of brain chemisty on this. I am convinced that reading on screens is INFERIOR to reading on paper in terms of processing, digesting, analyzing, retaining, empathy and critical thinking skills. Once the brain scan MRI stuff comes in, you will believe me. Go look now.

"Carr is right, too, that there is something regrettable about this shift. The kind of deep, immersive understanding that one gets from spending three hundred pages occupying another person’s consciousness is undeniably powerful and essential. And no medium rivals the book for that particular kind of thinking." -- YES!

danny bloom

Steve, one more thing: what people don't get yet is that reading on paper lights up differnet parts of the brain compared to when we read on screens. I know for a fact. Why? Because the materiality of reading on a paper surface with one's eyes, in a chair or at a desk, or on a plane or in the dentist's office, is vastly different and SUPERIOR to reading picelated squiggles on a plastic screen, THROUGh a plastic screen. The neural pathways get hit in a different ways by the competing juices. Paper delivers the ideas DEEP into our brains, where if we care to, we can really THINK about them. Screens deliver emails, gossip, quick jumps in the book, google searches and that's all. We need to wake up to this before it's too late. I would love to see a big cover story about this in Newsweek sometime in 2010 or 2011 when the brain scan studies come in from UCLA and Tufts. Not a story about the gadgetheads, who cares? But about the neuroscience of all this and why paper reading trumps screeing or screading every time. Ask me how i know this, Steve. I will dish. So far you refuse to answer my emails, why is that, sir?

danny bloom

and Steve, Let me give you advance notice:


On June 9-12, 2010, there will be a conference at XXX college on
"The Future of Reading". They have invited speakers from a
broad range of fields, including vision science, type design,
publishing, e-books, writing system, history of print,
and other areas. More details will be available when they
launch their webs site in December.


Want to know where this will be? email me and i will dish: danbloom at gmail

Danny Bloom

Steve, after re-reading your blog post above on a paper print out, which is real reading, compared to the fake reading we do on screens, which i call screening or screading, i noticed a few major goofs you made IMHO, in all due respect. let me tell you:

You wrote: "But [he] couldn’t have imagined a culture where games like Spore or Grand Theft Auto -- both of which are deftly dissected in this volume -- are far more complex, open-ended and popular than many Hollywood blockbusters."

Steve Berlin Johnson! This is pure BS! get your head examined ASAP! you think games are more complex and popular than MOVIES? You have totally lost the game here, sir. You sound like a teenage boy! have you not grown up yet? my gosh, that is a very stoopid remark. games are pure BS. for children and teens. movies are ART, even Hwood blockbusters are narrative art.

2. re; "I think many of us who feel, unlike Carr, that Google has actually made us smarter operate in what I call “skim-and-plunge” mode. We skim through pages of search results or hyperlinked articles, getting a sense of the waters, and then, when we find something interesting, we dive in and read in a slower, more engaged mode."

No, you don't. Reading on a glass screen, is not reading. It is "screading" and screading is not reading. u do not real slower and in a more engaged way, you think you do, but it is only when you print it out and read it on paper that you really READ, sir. Is Kindle paying your salary now? Sheesh. Go back to paper reading, SBJ and find out the truth. this e-reader game is just a game and you have been gamed. books matter, on paper. Ebooks are BS!

3. re: ''After all, the countryside was more polite, too. But in the end, most of us chose the city, despite all the chaos and distractions. I think we've made a similar choice with the Web today.''

Steve, you are SO wrong here. You did not CHOOSe the city, the city chose you via brainwashing and programming to move to city, city life sucks, it is NOT natural, the chaos and distractions have in fact messed up your mind and your sense of values, and you, WE, made the wrong choice in building large impersonal cities and then getting people to move to them. Stevem that was a BIG mistake. How can you be so blind, so high and mighty flying in a big steel iron bird to the UK and wasting fossil fuels that way? Shame on you, Steve Berlin Johnson, for being so blind!

Danny Bloom

Steve, sorry for the above posts, if any of them seemed a bit excessive, was just trying to make a few points. But now I see where you are coming from: as Christine Rosen has observed, you are "a reflexive techno-utopian".....that explains why you veer off the highway so much...... I see now. Still, my comments stand. But please accept my apologies, too. At the same time as I disagree with you, I respect your mind and writings, too.

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Consider this: How my reading life has changed from when I was a teenager in the 70's.

Today, I put books I want to read in my Amazon wishlist(some are there from 10 years ago). I have access to reviews, recommendations and books which are similar to ones I like. Sites like Goodreads.com allow me to easily classify books into those I have read, to read, and am reading. On the web, I can request books through an entire library system,in a number of formats and delivered to circulation desk to a library . I can track when the books are there electronically. Comparitively, the sourcing, retention of lists of things I want to read and selection of books to read is easier.

Today,I find myself jumping back and forth between multiple books and bailing on a book that don't hold my interest. I find myself more interested in footnotes today and following them up. I do have trouble reading longer books. Books between 200-250 pages seem just right.

I do see a change is in music, I have no patience to listen to new music if it doesn't grab me quickly.

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I like this comment: "On the web, I can request books through an entire library system,in a number of formats and delivered to circulation desk to a library . I can track when the books are there electronically. Comparitively, the sourcing, retention of lists of things I want to read and selection of books to read is easier..." is very interesting!!

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Likewise, hypertext, until mid-1994, was an emerging technology whose power users were almost all writers of experimental fiction.

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Everything matters! That's a perfect phrase for the reality I tried to get at: "mattering" (alias meaning) somehow winning out even when things seem random. Or when they grow out of mistakes (or out of some small, distant move or misstep). I just want to emphasize the good work on this blog, has excellent views and a clear vision of what you are looking for

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    The Basics

    • I'm a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of eight books, and co-founder of three web sites. We spend most of the year in Marin County, California though I'm on the road a lot giving talks. (You can see the full story here.) Personal correspondence should go to sbeej68 at gmail dot com. If you're interested in having me speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)

    My Books

    • : Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

      Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
      An exploration of environments that lead to breakthrough innovation, in science, technology, business, and the arts. I conceived it as the closing book in a trilogy on innovative thinking, after Ghost Map and Invention. But in a way, it completes an investigation that runs through all the books. Sold more copies in hardcover than anything else I've written.

    • : The Invention of Air

      The Invention of Air
      The story of the British radical chemist Joseph Priestley, who ended up having a Zelig-like role in the American Revolution. My version of a founding fathers book, and a reminder that most of the Enlightenment was driven by open source ideals.

    • : The Ghost Map

      The Ghost Map
      The latest: the story of a terrifying outbreak of cholera in 1854 London 1854 that ended up changing the world. An idea book wrapped around a page-turner. I like to think of it as a sequel to Emergence if Emergence had been a disease thriller. You can see a trailer for the book here.

    • : Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter

      Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
      The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture -- and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile.

    • : Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

      Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life
      My first best-seller, and the only book I've written in which I appear as a recurring character, subjecting myself to a battery of humiliating brain scans. The last chapter on Freud and the neuroscientific model of the mind is one of my personal favorites.

    • : Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

      Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
      The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Probably the most critically well-received all my books, and the one that has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror.

    • : Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

      Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
      My first. The book I wrote instead of finishing my dissertation. Still in print almost a decade later, and still relevant, I think. But I haven't read it in a while, so who knows what's in there!

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