A Critical Analysis To “You Do Like Reading Off A Computer Screen”
Humankind has gone through a drastic evolution socially, politically, and even physically. Some argue that now it is time for reading to update itself as well. Others, contrastingly, feel this traditional activity is fine as it stands. This question derives from the introduction of digitalized texts, and Cory Doctorow discusses his views on the topic in his essay, “You DO Like Reading Off a Computer Screen. ” Targeting and young and old audience alike, Doctorow believes people’s skepticism toward digital reading is solely stimulated by long texts or novels. He says people are frequently reading off computer screens, however, when it comes to novels they prefer a reading environment with less distraction: For example, e-mails, YouTube, and so on.
Furthermore, Doctorow suspects that computers are merely another cognitive style; like novels and legends were before them(221). In addition, an electronic fusion allows more convenience. For example, the record album was a revolutionary instrument that let musicians record music and sell it by album. However, record albums were impeded by the invention of MP3 which granted the ability to download singles(222). Similarly, YouTube created a platform that allows people to manipulate streaming videos(222), by adding easy control features like pause, replay, and even quality control, that can all be done with the click of a button. Subsequently, this results in a society with shorter attention spans that aren’t interested in slow-paced, old-fashion, methods.
This point leads Doctorow to conclude, “The problem[,] isn’t that screens aren’t sharp enough to read novels off of. The problem is that novels aren’t screeny enough to warrant protracted, regular reading on screens,” (222). Computers are a great tool that can store hundreds of books and other data, but novels and other long texts are not “screen-appropriate. ” Electronic writing is retained through fragments for the same reason music is enjoyed by singles instead of albums; the modern reader culls dense, concise passages over detailed, intricate novels when online. Therefore, as Doctorow states, novels aren’t suitable for digital use.
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