In the April 5, 2012 interview series “How We Will Read,” Clay Shirky shares his wisdom on the future of reading. For those of you who are not familiar with Clay Shirky, he is a teacher, writer, consultant and socioeconomic guru that teaches people about the effects Internet technologies has on society. He explores the way these effects have changed the way people share and interact with each other. I remember reading his book “Here Comes Everybody”. Thank you to Humber’s Richard Rotman for introducing me to Shirky.
As a reader and follower of Shirky, I am part of the new intellectual-tech savvy generation. There is a “generation effect” that is occurring simultaneously with a citizen journalist movement in our society. What does all this mean?
Let’s keep it simple. The Internet has given society the ability to communicate publicly what is on their minds, in real-time. Not only can those without journalism degrees write and do it well, there is also an audience craving content that is readily available.
The way we send and receive information has changed our behaviours, including our daily habits. Reading, an activity of solitude, has now gone social.
According to Shirky, “publishing is evacuating”, and the future of reading is becoming more social and interactive. E-books are becoming mainstream and e-readers are being challenged to provide the all-in-one instant gratification solution for busy people that love to read.
Social readers are users that take notes and disseminate what they’ve read and decide what to do with the information/knowledge/ideas acquired. When people are excited and changed by something they read, it is only natural to feel the urge to share with others in a timely manner. Internet technologies have made this possible.
E-books, online book clubs, author blog tours and e-reader wars are part of the present day. The future of reading, however, is still about the experience you had when you held your first novel in your hands. The difference now is, you can hold and access a collection of your favourite books on an electronic device and take them with you on the bus. Now you can read, annotate, reflect in solitude, and if you wish, share your thoughts in a community (at your fingertips) of people that are just as passionate about reading as you are.
After you read a book where do you choose to connect and share with others? We’d love to hear from you. Happy reading!
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