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Let me tell y'all how Twitter is trying to cripple my entire life and maybe even yours.
As a child, I was an avid reader. I ran through Dr. Seuss and Bernstein Bears books with ease as my mom taught me the art of comprehending. Every day I would sit in my grandmother's salon, which was located in the basement of her house, and read to whoever would listen. One series of books that I grew to love was The Box Car Children. My mom made sure I had each one. Repeatedly, I would read them, treating each time like the first. I admired the careful word choice the author used to describe everything. There was one part where the siblings were preparing dinner for themselves. To this day, I distinctly remember imagining the sweet smell of onions, herbs, and spices, lifting from the pages and infiltrating my nostrils. I felt as if I was there, waiting in anticipation. And I hate everything about onions.
Throughout school, I always excelled in English. I had no issues comprehending what I read although I struggled early on with critical thinking (if it didn't come to me quickly, I wanted nothing to do with it). I was the girl who toted Michael Baisden's Maintenance Man on top of her textbooks to class, having to do endure the endless questions from peers.
"Who's class are you reading that for?"
"This isn't for a class," would always be my reply.
"Wait! You're just reading it to be reading it?"
It's laughable how I still get those same questions today.
It wasn't until I was introduced to social media that my comprehension skills began to dwindle. I feel like four years of college is responsible for this too (I need a scapegoat. Twitter can't take the full blame). You see, in order to survive those four years, one has got to learn how to keep up as well as be concise. Assignments are expected on time by professors who have a few hundred, sometimes thousands of papers to grade. There is just not enough time in a college student's day to sit and read half a novel after a day's worth of lectures, write a 3-5 page literary critique on the text only to have it turned in by a12pm deadline the next day. It's even more difficult if you're a student-athlete.
Instead, you have to learn how to speed read through text to find the relevant information. This generation has become experts in this capacity because for hours upon hours, anyone who's connected can be caught scrolling through their timeline, eyes skimming through the random ramblings of their followers. I began to recognize that the way I was reading words on Twitter, as well as texts for school, was affecting the way I read for leisure and/or general information.
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(Even as I re-read what I just wrote, checking for clarity, I'm unable to focus long enough to get through the few paragraphs).
We live in an age where everything is expected at a moment's request. We have been spoiled by the smallest of things and don't even know it. Like the microwave, for example. You mean to tell me I can have a full meal that's been pre-cooked and frozen, ready to eat in less than five minutes?! What!!! And you couldn't tell me nothing after I discovered the scientific calculator *pssh* It was over! See, I tend to get frustrated when something I'm looking for doesn't jump out and greet me. I've always been that way and instead of taking my time to find what I'm looking for, I get flustered and agitated. Over the years, I've gotten a lot better with my impatience but what about the people who haven't quite figured it out?
I've mentioned before the love I have for social media and how beneficial I believe it is for us in this digital age but on the flip side, it scares me in more ways than one. Having worked with young children and teens for most of my working life, I'm noticing with each day how illiterate the human race is. These same people are well-versed in trending topics and Instagram posts. Even in some academic papers I've been asked to proofread/edit for a few of my peers leave me wanting to track down English teachers worldwide just so I can personally snatch their certification.
Before this week, I hadn't really thought about the negative effects of social media or what it was doing to us subliminally. I'm sure there are a plethora of studies out there, providing facts on the percentage of illiterate youth and how Twitter and text messages are changing the way we communicate. Because of my speed reading condition, I probably won't sit still long enough to read through it all, which is why I haven't provided you with any of those statistics. I'm still working on myself. Bear with me.
Are you guilty of being too literate when it comes to social media?