I’ll admit it: I have a really short attention span.
Whether or not this is a direct result of spending too much time online is a subject for another post.
Rarely, can I sit through a full-length movie.
I quickly scan all articles and books before I read them, and I assign them an attention-holding score. If they score highly enough, I will read them (doesn’t mean I will finish). I immediately abandon anything that seems like waste of time.
I read a lot every day, but I dismiss even more.
I really don’t want to read about Kevin Smith and Southwest 100+ times. I want to read something once, and I want to read the best version of it. If I want to know more about a subject, I seek more information.
I’m efficient and informed. So what’s my problem?
The Internet is a snoozefest. Most blogs and tweets? Yeah, they’re rehashing the same crap again and again.
Twitter and tumblr encourage people to repeat information. I don’t discount the value of the retweet, but maybe tweeters could reconsider their motives.
Are you retweeting something to attract attention to yourself or to the actual thing that you are retweeting? Could you add a few original words to the tweet to make it your own?
With so much information at your fingertips and so much being bombarded at you at any given second, you should totally relish in the opportunity to creatively restring ideas. Pretty much anything can be synthesized and made new if you have the brain energy and creativity to do it. Theoretically, in our digitized age, people should be writing new and original things all the time! But no, everything, from ideas to word-for-word passages, are recycled.
Even the plagiarists are running rampant.
See this editor’s note from The New York Times:
“In a number of business articles in The Times over the past year, and in posts on the DealBook blog on NYTimes.com, a Times reporter appears to have improperly appropriated wording and passages published by other news organizations.
The reporter, Zachery Kouwe, reused language from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and other sources without attribution or acknowledgment. The Times was alerted to the problem by editors at The Wall Street Journal.”
A few days ago, writer Gerald Posner quit The Daily Beast after he was accused of plagiarism. According to the Miami Herald:
“Amid additional allegations of plagiarism, journalist and South Beach resident Gerald Posner announced via his blog and Twitter that he has resigned from The Daily Beast, the year-old Internet news publication co-founded by Tina Brown.”
I don’t hear many people complaining about a lack of originality in online writing, but I wonder if originality will soon become a commodity.
Either readers will become immune to sameness and lower their expectations, or they will become bored out of their minds.
Some of us will always crave originality.
But are we willing to pay for it?
Without compensation, writers have less incentive to develop original work. Some people will still write boundary-pushing pieces for the love of it, for the challenge. But everyone gets burned out eventually, if they are not properly appreciated.
Reward originality by commenting on articles you think break the mold; ignore articles that you think are rehashing the same old shit.
Appreciate original thoughts. Or learn how to recognize them first.
(Photo by Dano)