Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, has suggested that the web is making us more stupid – that we are distracted and unable to concentrate on one thing long enough to engage with it properly.

With the information in the headers and the sidebars constantly changing - and the links there to tempt us and encourage side-tracking - most websites actively discourage concentration.

Carr suggests everyone is skimming over the glittering surface of the web. 

Trying to save time and find more information, my style is more like a swimmer: I dip a little deeper but push a lot of excellent information behind me. 

Nicholas Carr’s point is valid, I don’t have enough time to be much of a scuba diver.

When it comes to recreational reading, I cling to real books; this is literally true. 

If the story is gripping, my fingers ache from clutching the cover and I resent the time it takes to turn over. I hold the pages higher and I peep around before I’ve actually finished reading the end of the page.

The reader exists on two plains - there in-body but in-spirit somewhere else instead.

"The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain." ~ George Buchanan

Do you see yourself as a surfer, a swimmer or a scuba diver, when it comes to the Internet? 


  1. I, too believe in moderation. We have more information available to us than ever before. You could waste your day easily. If I haven't read or seen what I want to read or see by the time I finish my morning coffee, then it's just not happening.

  2. I am a skimmer, so let's say I'm water skiing, skimmong over the top. I have found very little reason to dig much deeper than that. The web is like magazine articles-- most of what is there you can get in the first couple paragraphs. I really don't do much here except read blogs. To me, they are way more interesting and clever than articles the "experts" are writing.

  3. I worry about what the web is doing to all of our brains. I don't intentionally do it, but I do find myself flipping from one thing to another even while I am trying to concentrate on an article I am reading. Even when writing, I will generally check my email(s) several times. I have tried to get away from my computer for that reason. that is one reason I am against ebooks. Most of them allow web access which allow for even more distraction. I can't imagine I would read more than a page or two without checking my email "one more time" or checking on a definition just to see what a word meant (which definitely sounds good!) but then just losing track of my reading like a ADHD kid. That's the problem-- the internet is a distraction machine everywhere you turn. Every page! Even my blog is not just one singe page of text- it has links all over it to draw a reader on to something more!!!!

  4. I probably do a little of all 3, depending on what I'm reading. I tend to keep my own posts "light" or I notice no one reads them. I keep another serious blog on wordpress and never the twain shall meet.