NYTimes Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

I wanted to post about this NYTimes article debating the difference between Digital and Print media (Via Omnivoracious’ Amazon Blog). The article, which begins a series on “The Future of Reading” fields a very important question: “Is the Internet the enemy of reading, or has it created a new kind of reading, one that society should not discount?”

Personally, I will always hold books over any other form of reading. I don’t even like EBooks – when Amazon’s Kindle was announced, I cringed. It took me weeks to accept my friend’s obsession with audiobooks. I empirically believe that there are crucial developmental stages and skills that can only be obtained through literature. And don’t even get me started on the use of the internet as an academic reference – what the article mentions in relation to a study regarding The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus is reminicient of my own experiences in college.

I will conceed some validation for the Digital argument, mostly revolving around the improvments in non-linear thinking. But the internet, and the digital form as a whole, is simply too fluid – even after a decade of mainstream use – to be relied upon as a literary tool. It corrodes concentration, refutes grammar, and provides facts without the need for research or actual learning (yes, there is a difference between fact-finding and learning).

But that is my opinion. What’s yours?

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