Blogs

When everything is connected

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Steven Johnson prophesied the end of being alone. Actually this has been inevitable since the first computers were networked together-- we are rapidly approaching a foregone conclusion, so rapidly, when you look at the history of human innovation from a broad perspective, that society is in no way prepared for it. Our infrastructure isn't prepared, nor are our laws, nor are our brains, but none of that matters because there's no stopping it. It grows constantly, exponentially, and it has really only just begun.

Impulse Buys

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Johnson had some very interesting point about how eBooks are changing the way people read. With eBooks available on the computer, eBook readers, and phones, reading is truly at peoples finger tips. I have only ever considered the fact that eBooks make it easier and cheaper to purchase books. Johnson’s article made me realize that these new readers make it easier for people to stop reading the book rather than to finish it because they were “impulsive” purchases.

Short Attention Spans?

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Johnson says that "an infinite bookstore at your fingertips is great news for book sales, and may be great news for the dissemination of knowledge, but not necessarily so great for that most finite of 21st-century resources: attention." He precedes this comment by telling us a story of how he left one book for another on a whim for fiction.

Resurgance, Death, or Stagnation: Literature in the Digital Age

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"Just as Web sites try to adjust their content to move as high as possible on the Google search results, so will authors
and publishers try to adjust their books to move up the list.
What will this mean for the books themselves? Perhaps nothing more than a few strategically placed words or
paragraphs. Perhaps entire books written with search engines in mind." (Johnson)

A New Kind of Reading

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Johnson claims that digital books will make “the solitary act of reading into something far more social,” and I’m not exactly sure I’m entirely comfortable with that prospect. I own a Kindle, but I turn off any annotations or highlights made by other people. I find highlights in novels unnecessary, but textbook annotations have proven to be very useful in the past.

Lack of Attention

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Johnson makes several points in favor of the digitalization of books but halfway through his article he points out one of the dangers of the future of e-books. Johnson states that having “an infinite bookstore at your fingertips…[might] not necessarily [be] so great for that most finite of 21st-century resources: attention.” (3)

The Return of the Cliffhanger?

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Predicting how introductions and the first chapter will change with e-books, Johnson foresees, "Clearly, we are in store for the return of the cliffhanger." I'm sorry, but when did it leave? Sure, it may be re-appropriated or receive an Extreme Makeover: E-Book edition if we're to receive free introductions/first chapters; however, it never left. Let's see, J.K. Rowling used them in Harry Potter, Suzanne Collins used them in The Hunger Games, and the entire genre of mystery novels use them from chapter to chapter. It is not like I'm hard-pressed to provide examples.

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