Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

4.08.2014

tl;dr

What someone thinks they are abbreviating when they type tl;dr about a piece of writing - (It's) Too Long; (I) Didn't Read (it).

What I interpret the abbreviation to mean - (I'm) Too Lazy; (I) Don't Read.

I know I can be a long-winded writer and not everyone loves big, fat books the way I do; I realize that it's a matter of learning style and preference and that I'm generally in the minority in these matters.  I'm okay with that, though, because I like what I write and enjoy the act of creation even if no one reads it (though I would prefer to have readers enjoying it along with me).  It's often a matter of context and purpose: If I want to make sure my message is read and communication is really happening, I'll condense and tailor the presentation to accommodate the, what I consider, short-attention span of those who will be reading; if it's something for self-expression or fun (like the vast majority of these blog posts), I won't worry about it and will just write for me.

Even with my willingness to adapt to the needs of my audience when called for, I find it baffling and annoying that someone would claim something is too long to read.  I might say something is too long to read right now, but, assuming it's intriguing and interesting enough, I'll always find time later to get to it--length is not a factor, only content.

Anyway, I bring this up in the context of a recent article.  It revisits some previous ground and doesn't really have any new revelations, but it's a topic area I still find interesting.  It continues the area of exploration first brought to public consciousness a few years back by Is Google Making Us Stupid? and includes the idea of what I would call transliteracy.  More recently, I've considered the issues of memory and comprehension in comparing ebooks to print here and here.  The main point, it might be said, is that the online world works differently than the print one, and consuming it changes the way our brains process information.  Enough online engagement, and our brains can lose their ability to engage properly with books and need the kind of writing I complained about in this book review:
[The author] writes in sound bites. This is the second of his slim “manifestos” that I’ve read, and that seems to be his approach. It’s scatter shot, random, off-the-cuff. He talks around his points, never quite making a linear argument or delving deeply into anything, just skimming across the surface of his topics with many broad thoughts from a wide spectrum of influences. It almost feels like he’s doing pointillism artwork, hoping if he throws out enough thought splatters they will land just right to make a coherent whole. While I did in the other, I don’t feel he succeeds in this one. He brings up lots of thoughts, but instead of expanding them or working them over, he skips off to something else before the thought is ever complete. It’s superficial “google” writing instead of sustained thinking. I often had lots of interesting thoughts in response to what he said, wanted to engage his ideas, but then they’d flit away with his writing before any substance developed. It’s interesting, but I’m not sure it amounts to anything.
It's going to take time to see where all of this is headed--what will emerge and how much of our previous mode we end up retaining--but I'm already beginning to feel rather old fashioned.

Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say

To cognitive neuroscientists, Handscombe’s experience is the subject of great fascination and growing alarm. Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia. . . .

Researchers are working to get a clearer sense of the differences between online and print reading — comprehension, for starters, seems better with paper — and are grappling with what these differences could mean not only for enjoying the latest Pat Conroy novel but for understanding difficult material at work and school. . . . 

She is particularly interested in comprehension results in screen vs. print reading.

Already, there is some intriguing research that looks at that question. A 2012 Israeli study of engineering students — who grew up in the world of screens — looked at their comprehension while reading the same text on screen and in print when under time pressure to complete the task.

The students believed they did better on screen. They were wrong. Their comprehension and learning was better on paper.

Researchers say that the differences between text and screen reading should be studied more thoroughly and that the differences should be dealt with in education, particularly with school-aged children. There are advantages to both ways of reading. There is potential for a bi-literate brain. . . .

2 Comments:

At 4/08/2014 5:42 PM, Blogger terri b said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/08/2014 5:46 PM, Blogger Leelu said...

tl;dr

;)

My captcha is awfully glowlli.

 

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