I used to read, a lot. Always had my nose in a book or magazine. Then, as I spent more time with the internet, so that changed. I was suddenly more about the visual and less about the words – even as a writer.
And there was a reason for this: distraction.
Not that the internet was a distraction, per se; it was all the stuff around the words that was distracting me – adverts, links related stories, or other things that the site owner thought I might be interested in. What they forgot was that the words/story I was reading was what interested me.
There are no banner ads in a book.
Of course, the ad-funded business model is an easy mistress for site owners to fall for. Their readers aren’t paying.
And that’s okay. I can accept that.
I still spend a lot of my time with my nose in a book or magazine. This is simply my preference. I still find reading on a screen distracting, or tiring.
Until, that is, I spotted a recent trend I’d adopted: the reading of what I call considered content.
FOMO – a different context
Over the past decade, I got used to snacking on culture. Little bites between work tasks, which Twitter was – and very much still is – perfect for. I fell for the sell of 140 characters – if I needed more, well then it wasn’t worth saying or reading. Right?
I wasn’t so much fearful of missing out. It was just difficult to read longer material online. I lived my life in headlines, and I could infer the rest. And in order to help with this distraction, sites have begun to employ ‘native advertising’, which is a fancy name for an online advertorial.
Yet the distractions remain. Mostly they’ve crept into the one space reserved for the interesting bit.
And then, quietly, I’ve noticed a shift to content that is cleanly displayed. Content you can consider without the distractions. Considered content.
Medium is one such place.
I’ve found myself spending a lot of time on the site recently. There is some really good writing to be read. I only have the words to look at. To read. To consider.
These are mostly long-form pieces that people have taken the effort to craft. They are not – perhaps like this – off the cuff. They engage the brain and pose questions within the narrative. I find myself thinking about what I’ve read. Not necessarily tweeting it, or sharing it in other ways, but keeping it to myself and pondering what it is I’ve just read.
And there are more and more of these bits of written content surfacing – and not just on Medium. And that makes me happy.