Social Enterprise

Technology and the lost art of reading comprehension

Technology has indeed become miraculous and immediately available. Maybe that's why so many of us are losing some important skills--like reading comprehension.

Technology.  The comedian Lewis CK does a funny bit about how lazy and entitled people have gotten when it comes to technology. He says people gripe about their smartphones if they don't get a signal immediately. He says, "Dude, it's a phone. In your pocket. It's a miracle! When I was a kid we had one phone and it had a rotary dial. You hated people who had zeroes in the phone numbers. Stop complaining!"

Technology has indeed become miraculous and immediately available. Maybe that's why so many of us are losing some important skills—like reading comprehension. People everywhere are now accustomed to getting their information in podcasts or image galleries, or in hieroglyphic text messages. The parts of our brains that look at and digest information in a written form (that doesn't include acronyms) are atrophying.

It's something the editors here at TechRepublic witness on a daily basis. It's why, with a blog titled "Ten free iPhone apps," you'll inevitably get someone posting in the discussion "How come you didn't list any Android apps?" Well, that would be in a blog called "Ten free ANDROID apps," now wouldn't it?

And I don't know why, but the people less likely to comprehend words in a blog are the ones most likely to attack it. People seem to be chomping at the bit to find something to disagree with so they don't bother with any perspective given by an article introduction. They read the title of the blog (that's if we're lucky—sometimes they just tee off from a discussion comment without bothering to read anything in the original source), then skip over the first paragraph that states that it is the personal opinion of the author only, and go ballistic over a few phrases they've chosen at random.

What's your opinion? Do we have collective Attention Deficit Disorder?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

Editor's Picks