Is Online Content Crippling Understanding?

Last week I found myself flipping through a copy of Marketing.  There were some interesting articles, and even a couple of case studies that made me dive into my bag for a pen so I could scribble down the details so that I could look up more about them online.  I wouldn’t say I was really “reading” the magazine, just flipping through it.  Killing some time at a train station and someone had abandoned it on a seat.

And yet, these few minutes have become the focus of a blog post.

Marketing magazine

It wasn’t until a few hours later, after I casually tossed the magazine in the recycling, that I realised how much I’d missed reading physical paper.

I’m used to consuming my content online.  As a social media professional, I’m never far away from an internet connection – my computer, my laptop, my mobile phone, even my e-reader are all ready land me neck-deep in information in a few taps, clicks and swipes. I flick through BBC News Online, The Guardian Online, sometimes I dip into Mashable, my RSS feed causes my choice of content to land straight in my inbox, I even Stumble.  But rarely do I pick up a magazine…

But, in the last 2 days alone this lonely abandoned copy of Marketing has come up in conversation with three different people.  I’ve found myself quoting interviews, discussing a key trend, discussing training avenues and even industry news… and I have to wonder whether the fact that I am able to remember this so clearly is because it has become so unfamiliar.

We live in a word that is all about convenience.  It’s now possible to share your reading habits “frictionlessly” across your social networks – in some ways the role of the advocate has diminished; you don’t even have to recommend what you’re consuming, the very fact that you consuming are is enough.  You can totter about the internet, stumbling from one piece of content to another by a simple click of the mouse.  There’s no need to direction, linear reading patterns or particular focus – and I am now wondering whether this is at the detriment of our understanding.  Or at least the depth of it.   We skip over content without pausing to think, because subconsciously we know that somewhere in the vast world-wide-web, there will be an article that is more interesting, or more relevant, or more to the point… I can’t be the only one to see a new post notification from a site you follow land in your inbox, and to delete it straight away without even reading the content?  I know the article will still be there later.

We are now able to subscribe to the people whose opinions we deem interesting.  We filter out so much before we even let it have a chance to have an impact on us as readers.

So I have to wonder…

Is accessing content too easy?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s