You really don’t have to read all of this. Skim:

As readers and writers sit in the same position participating in different tasks, are their minds flowing on the same level? Since we have adapted writing for audiences, many writers began taking creative, complicated thoughts out of articles and journals to keep them appealing to broad audiences. If something we read is complicated, have we become immune to it, skip over it, and continue on to the next part that we understand?

In some of my classes, we hear “Did you look this up? Did anyone look to see what this word means? or What the significance of this place is?…” and nobody raises their hand. I feel that we are racing through readings and unconsciously allotting a certain brain power that we’re used to giving. Writers are, little by little, quitting this push of making us question in order to hold our attention.

Here’s what happens: we become impatient with novels and begin Sparknoting and even skimming Sparknotes, eff the classics, skim articles, understand a little here and there, get by with what we think is an appropriate understanding and be on our way. Is this how we are growing up? I feel that this isn’t how it has always been and not everyone in our generation is stuck in this phase. We may not even be half as bad as those younger than us that grew up fully emerged in technology. Think about this one: we are older than the internet. wa wa waaaa.

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25 Responses to You really don’t have to read all of this. Skim:

  1. Lynne says:

    I think skimming comes from the busy world we live in. Lives are being lived at much faster paces; people’s expectations of balancing jobs, educations, and families are higher than ever. Skimming is just a way for people to get by while still maintaining all of the other things going on in their lives. People genuinely interested in topics will research them and go the extra mile.

    But like I said in class, skimming and sparknoting are nothing new. I wouldn’t be so quick to blame it on technology or “kids these days.”

  2. dmk says:

    Natalie,

    I think you make a great point about how teachers will ask if anyone looked up a concept or word, and how most times no one has (or seems to really care). It isn’t a matter of exclusion or limited accessibility at this point–anyone at the university can use computers at the library or probably has their own computer. It is a matter of time and effort and interest. So, for those of us who choose to read with our (digital) dictionaries open, the better off we will be in our pursuit of knowledge, right? But I do wonder if writers are actually simplifying things just to keep our attention, I never thought of that before!

    p.s. I am not sure what you mean that we are older than the internet; hasn’t the internet been around since the 1960’s?

  3. Ryan332 says:

    I agree with what Lynne said. I think it’s difficult to say that skimming and shortcuts are something new. I can remember before we had internet at my house my sister would buy shortcut books to Shakespeare that summarized the plot and gave key details. I think, like Lynne said above, skimming is just a product of the world we live in. Even high schoolers now have school, sports, extra-curricular activities, chores, and social lives to lead, and balancing it all can be difficult. People are busy now, from high school on we juggle a million different things at once and stopping to closely read something is not so high on the priority list.

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  5. tjames says:

    There seems to be a difference in doing something for the sake of knowledge and for the sake of getting stuff done and more often than not in school we prefer to get by rather than look into every single question a story raises. I agree with the others that this is not a new phenomenon, but would also like to add that this can also be a world-specific kind of phenomenon, where juggling a lot of reading might leave people unable to go to the depths they would if they were given the chance to study at their own pace/given the chance to study something they were extremely interested in.