Is it just me or does this whole social media thing come with a price? I am terribly concerned with my lack of attention span at the moment and I think it may only be getting worse. As I have mentioned before, I have a four-year English degree and so I am not new to massive amounts of reading. Here is a little snap shot of one month’s worth of reading in my final year.
The bottom two books are anthologies from which we were assigned long-winded readings to compliment the other five novels that were assigned in a month. In addition to all of this reading, we had to submit long essays and complete various other assignments. Oh, and attend all the classes. And some of us had jobs. And then there had to be time to sleep. The reality of it was that there were simply not enough hours in the day to do all of this reading and work. In my final year, I mastered the necessary art of “skimming”. In order to get through university with decent grades, I was going to have to find a shorter way to absorb the massive amounts of information I was expected to know. So I developed a skill in which I could “skim” a long novel, and match that up with various synopsis’ I found online, and boom. I made the grade. Now this is not something I am proud of. Truth be told, I was devastated that the enjoyment of reading these fine novels was taken from me. I took English in university because it was my absolute favorite class in high school. I could not, for the life of me, understand how reading a book could be considered homework. I used to get lost in novels. Reading was one of my favorite things to do.
Now, I find it difficult to read a book. My mind wonders and I begin to delve into old habits of “skimming”. Recently, this has been happening in more aspects of my daily life. I cannot complete a full task with out checking my Twitter feed or Facebook. Twitter is constantly in flux and I am always interested to see what is going on. The problem is I can no longer complete the task at hand in its entirety. I will work in little bursts, then switch over to my Twitter accounts and Facebook page. So, in reality, any given task takes me twice as long as it should. It is even more difficult because all the work I do is on my computer, so I am right there, online, all the time. So reading a book? Forget about it. But if I tally up all the 140 characters I have read in the past six months, I have probably read about the equivalent to 20 books. It is time to find a healthy balance and ween myself away from my Twitter addiction. I think this can be attained by consciously attempting to regain my focus and logging off the tweet feed for a few hours a day. If something major happens that requires my immediate attention, Facebook me.
Images from Unique Scoop.