It’s a well-known fact that people can read faster than they can talk, listen, or watch. As someone who reads for more than 5 hours a day, speed is important since there’s simply too much to learn and too little time. I enjoy watching videos professional and otherwise and have more recently become an occasional podcast listener.
I like podcasts well enough but they take a while to get to the point. And it’s not always easy or practical to skip ahead. There are times when I am traveling by train that listening to a podcast is a welcome relief from all the reading I do. Watching webinars, and video presentations are also worthwhile overall, yet I often think that I could zip through the content so much faster on my own. I know I am not alone in that thought.
Seth Godin is promoting that ‘Podcasting is the New Blogging’. I think that’s true to some degree but it won’t replace blogging.
My problem with the term ‘Podcasting ‘is that it’s origination is with Apple and the iPod. Even when they first began to be called podcasts I wondered why they weren’t called Recorded Audio Broadcasts (RAB’s) or Recorded Audio Programs (RAP’s). After all that’s what they really are in essence. Apple wisely has done nothing and the result is that the term podcasts will live on, even as most people do not realize its derivation.
Is long form reading becoming less prevalent? Or does it just seem that way? Listening is easier than reading for many people. Watching is better than listening for many more people. Not long ago BuzzFeed ‘axed’ its podcast team in favor of video content.
On the subject of video, for what it is worth, I acknowledge that video has a multitude of applications in the professional world and we use it all the time. If a picture is worth a thousand words (or at least it used to be), a video tutorial is worth…more.
But reading is faster. WAY faster than every other way of conveying information. This includes talking despite what some people think about New Yorkers. With all the various forms of content available to people, in general attention spans have dwindled. Long form reading is less popular than anytime in memory as in since books were invented. A recent article in the Washington Post – had the author @JenHoward note she had to work to ‘recover her former reading self’. I totally understood what she meant.
I believe that the ability to sustain long narrative reading and complicated concepts requires focus and attention. This focus is eroded by the practice of reading an endless stream of blurbs. If you can overcome the tendency to mainly consume information in bite-sized pieces you will be rewarded (via long narrative reading), by gaining a deeper understanding of the topic.
So challenge yourself to read more in general, and more long narratives be it books, fiction or non-fiction, long-form articles, and papers. The fact that it can be hard is a good thing for your overall growth and cognitive function. And it’s still faster than anything else.