How much do you read? I don’t mean look at, flick through or scan – I mean actually read. From start to finish, one word at a time, absorbing every sentence and even pausing once in a while to check your understanding or to ponder what you’ve just read. My guess is: not much. And almost certainly less than you used to.
We don’t hear the term ‘information overload’ as much as we used to, but that’s not because the problem has gone away. It’s because it is now a way of life. We’ve just become conditioned to it. Between email, blogs, news websites, print media and social media, there is simply not enough time to drink everything that is coming at us from the never-ending all-you-can-eat buffet of today’s information sources.
As a result, to avoid indigestion, most of us have become picky. When faced with a new document (either paper or electronic), we make a quick assessment of its worth. Some are tossed without a second glance. Some are scanned … and then tossed. Some are scanned and kept … and then tossed. And a small amount is lucky enough to be read.