Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting Intimate with My Newspaper


On Friday, I spent nearly the entire day on my computer. I worked, I read news sites, I shopped, I perused blogs, I watched videos on Youtube, I listened to my Pandora stations, I chatted with friends and coworkers. Then that evening, I logged off my computer, kept the TV turned off, and shifted my attention to the pile of newspapers that had been collecting and neglected all week.

For all the hoopla about the immediacy, efficiency, and digital connectedness of a laptop / iPhone/ netbook / iPad / Kindle / Blackberry / enterotherelectronicdevicehere, something interesting dawned on me while I was blackening my fingers with newspaper ink. I realized that there is one thing that electronic media wasn't able to do for me, and that is to give me a true one-on-one connection with the story.

The Internet, in all its glory, is really just a crap load of information-- most of which you don't want or need, but hey, it's there-- or what the CE industry calls "content." Lots 'o content. Lots 'o stuff. All this stuff makes it extremely easy to get distracted. Sure, reading a story online can provide a richer experience, what with all the hyperlinks, the associated videos, audio, etc. Even when I was playing with the NPR app on my mom's iPad, I was mesmerized by all the neat features: the article itself, the links, and the corresponding NPR audio piece with the predictably calm voices. But, what's ironic is that although the Internet can provide this richer experience, it also distracts me. Sometimes, I just want to focus on one medium, like the written word or only the scenes on the television set. Sometimes, I want to focus only on reading about Kate Gosselin's Dancing with the Stars drama and bitchiness and not be tempted to click on the link that tells me about Jon's latest attempts at one-upping his ex-wife.

Look at your browser right now, and tell me how many tabs you have open (I have 8). Now, tell me how many programs you have open (I have just 1: the browser). Lastly, of the open tabs and programs, how many of these are you working on pretty much at the same time (I'm actively looking at 4 websites)?

Going back to my Friday evening newspaper reading...As I read the paper, I felt a more intimate interaction: just the LA Times and me. The stories and information resonated better with me. Even as I recounted to my boyfriend what I had read, I felt that I could recall the details better than had I read it from a website. With the newspaper, there are fewer distractions. (I mean, your eyes could certainly drift to another article but that's not the same as clicking to an entirely different website.) And, because of this, I'm able to feel more connected to the story subject.

They say that the physical newspaper is a dying breed. I hope it doesn't die. I'm not ready to be a widow.

P.S. I purposely did not hyperlink in this post because I wanted you to focus on my words :)

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