Chapter 13: Wired and Well Read
Wendy Griswold & Nathan Wright
Wired and well read As technology and as a cultural phenomenon, the internet moved from “high” to “popular” to “mass” with extraordinary speed during the 1990s. The sudden flood of e-everything produced giddiness but also alarm. Observers have worried about the internet's uncontrollable broadcast of images and sounds, its penetration of privacy, and its impact on how people live their lives, including how they read. The comparison with television is unavoidable. For some 50 years, people have feared—justly, it turned out—that television would overwhelm other leisure activities, including reading. Now the worry is that the internet will wipe out what little reading remains. This chapter examines the relationship between internet use and reading. “Reading” here refers to nonwork reading, that is, the sustained reading of printed materials that people do for pleasure and information in their leisure time. 1 Some leisure activities are highly valued, with their possible atrophy 2 ...