At Mkt. Communications we are constantly on the hunt for new books to indulge in.  Skye spends her time between the business, new age and cookbook sections, Jess loves a fashion inspired historical read, Nikki and Maddie covet the best selling novels and Taryn has a penchant for female fiction. Whatever our own individual preferences, we all share the common love of the printed word….that is, the printed word that appears on old fashioned paper pages! How do we feel about the Kindle, the iPad and other readers….well….

Despite the few with a passion for books, the world seems to be obsessed with all things digital, with I-books, Kindles, Kobo, E-Readers taking precedence over the physical manuscript and school children being encouraged to use Google as a search tool rather than the local library. What is, if anything, this doing to the way we think and our ability to store knowledge?

In a recent article Leon Gettler points out that Internet use is changing the very way we read, turning us from ‘knowers to skimmers of information’.  He is not the first to point out the potential issues that could arise from the Internet, with Nicholas Carr in his controversial book, The Shallows, arguing that ‘we are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest’. This is said to be limiting our ability to store and retain what was once a normal amount of information, like the average novel. Claims have also been made suggesting it is affecting our attention span…makes sense really.

No one can deny the enormous power the Internet provides individuals, most of all us….there is silence in our office first thing in the morning as everyone reads hot of the press feeds, alerts, blogs, newsletters and more but as the old saying goes ‘With Great Power comes Great Responsibility’.

The Internet has the power to provide endless streams of information, but in order to be effective, we must do more than ‘surf’, we must be avid and engaged ‘readers’. Surfing for information bites and delving deeply into the last volume in Steig Larsson’s Millenium trilogy don’t have to be mutually exclusive…we say, do both!

Source : Leon Gettler, ‘Big Googler is doing the thinking for you’, The Age, Business Day, 29.09.10, P15. Source : John Naughton, ‘The Internet: is I changing the way we think’, The Observer, 15.08.10