Friday Debate: Reading is overrated and dying out

3 min read
102

Friday2 1

I heard on the radio the other day that the average adult in the US reads for 25 minutes per day. Just 25 minutes. The average time spent watching videos? 5-6 hours, not including TV. So just random videos on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube throughout the day. I have no idea how accurate those numbers are, but they are in line with a general trend I’m seeing.

People are consuming more and more video content. Whether it’s entertainment, information, research or news, you can watch pretty much anything you want. I even use YouTube playlists for music when we have a braai or entertain – it’s just so much easier than picking out music myself. I also see it in my personal blogging (yes, I have a mommy blog, if you didn’t notice) where my Facebook Live sessions and general videos are already more than double my readership after just a couple months of doing video.

Just as I think that reading is dead, I see books from unlikely writers doing so well. Trevor Noah has a best-selling book that you should really read. The more I write about cool books here, the more you guys seem to respond saying you want more.

We chatted about this in the office, and it seems to vary from person to person, as well as genre. Gavin gets all his entertainment in video form but prefers to read about serious things like politics, business, and Liverpool news. Geoff reads 90% of the content that he consumes, saving his video consumption for Netflix and family entertainment. While Alessandro and I are moving more and more towards video content as a source of information and entertainment, using reading as a leisure activity or to read things that are really important or in depth.

If I think about deep dive content, I used to read numerous articles in previous years, but now I’ll watch something like John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight instead. I do still read deep and meaningful articles, but just not as many as I used to, and not on the same topics that I used to.

Read  Friday Debate – What was YOUR game of the year?

Just as when TV rose to prominence, there are many who claim that this is the end of reading as we know it. Newspapers are dying, content is changing and people get a ton of their news from headlines on social media. So is reading dying, or is this just the usual shift in leisure patterns that will eventually even out? How much do you read on a given day compared to your video consumption?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: July 21, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Admiral Chief

    Another week, another non-gaming FFD

  • Admiral Chief

    I read things online or electronically, haven’t touched a book in quite some time

    • Hammersteyn

      Same.

  • MonsterCheddar

    NEVER!!!!!!! I love reading. REAL books and I have an impressive collection.

    Its from children not reading anymore that most teenagers are retarded fucking brats.

    • Admiral Chief

      Kids need to read more Asterix and Tintin

      • MonsterCheddar

        Most definitely. I still read Asterix.

        • Admiral Chief

          Every month

          • MonsterCheddar

            I read one every now and then, whenever the urge grabs me.

          • Hammersteyn

            I used to read a lot of Garfield and Dilbert online… then I just stopped, dunno why?

          • Admiral Chief

            I dig Dilbert dailies

          • Hammersteyn

            I think what I did was I stopped reading so that I can binge read everything at once, problem is, I can’t remember where I stopped.

          • No one can *runs

          • Hammersteyn

            stop running!
            *gasps for air

      • Hammersteyn

        Now they sit and watch Jake Paul vids all day.

        • Dresden

          *shudders*

    • miaau

      I also have a nice collection of books, I like having the physical books. BUT, I find that, with the children now, I read far more if I load the books onto my phone.

      • Dresden

        I also enjoy collecting physical books from authors that I love.
        Recently bought the final four books to an ongoing series (15 books so far) and it feels really nice to look at it.

    • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

      Listen to this piece of cheese… He may be smelly but he is wise

      • MonsterCheddar

        I don’t smell……that bad.

    • GooseZA

      Does your apartment smell of rich mahogany?

      • MonsterCheddar

        More like rabbit piss here and there…

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    During the week I watch between 1-2 hours of moving pictures per day, probably closer to 2-3 hours of combined reading throughout the day. I prefer to get news/information from words, not pictures, but entertainment can be either. Also enjoy reading before bed so I can switch off from screens and get my mind ready for sleepy time.

  • It’s a balance I think. I read for pleasure and usually watch someone like Noah for current affairs.

  • Hammersteyn

    Does reading subtitles count? I always turn those on in games.

  • Hammersteyn

    Oh and of course, I read a LOT of comments every single day.

    • Admiral Chief

      Read AND upvote

    • Pfffft, if I had an upvote for every time I heard that…

      • MonsterCheddar

        I try my best to enrich your life everyday, Nicholas. Don’t be a booby now.

      • Hammersteyn

        Hehe my upvote to comment ratio is way better than yours and I give upvotes away like it’s EFF berets

        • MonsterCheddar

          LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL.

          HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GG Hammer!!!

        • Admiral Chief

          Hah, epic comment is epic

  • Original Heretic

    Reading dead? Fuck no!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Of course not. How do you turn the page?

      • Original Heretic

        I neglected to add the comma in. Well spotted.

        • Magoo

          Don’t fix it. It’s done. It’s over. Move on and let others learn from your mistakes.

          • Original Heretic

            No change has been done. It’s funnier now, when I look back.

  • miaau

    Well, this week, starting Sunday I started a two book series, reading on my phone. I am now half through book 2, say 500 pages per book.

    I find I can read books while getting restless and or sick toddler to sleep for example, or to just calm down enough to take her bed.

    Also, when family is asleep, I may watch some tv, play some games and then, when I have enough I read. Say 30 min to 60 at night. Also, it should be noted, I read, with retention, pretty quickly.

    I think that both reading and watching video type content remain relevant and important. I have a wide general knowledge, some learnt from documentaries, some learnt from books. I tend to remember far more if I read something: not sure if that is a general thing or just me.

    • Original Heretic

      A TWO book series? Did the author get lazy and decide to do as little as possible?

      • miaau

        Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune, viewed by me as a two book series, cause was not written by Frank Herbert, even thought to starts off where Chapter House Dune ended off.

        • Original Heretic

          Ah okay, so not really just a two book series, more of a continuation of an existing series.

          • miaau

            No, no, a two book series, following on from a 6 book series.

            BUT they all have Miles Teg, an awesome character.

          • Original Heretic

            But it’s set in an already established world/universe. That’s what I’m referring to. So while the story is resolved in those two books, the author doesn’t need to do that much world building, which can add a lot when writing.

          • miaau

            I have, truly, not had my meds today, so, I feel, I am allowed to be difficult. Dammit.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Am I suppose to read that in a William Shatner voice?

          • Original Heretic

            I nearly shatnered myself when I read it.

          • Original Heretic

            So…many…misplaced…commas… AAAARGH!

            Don’t mind me, I’m in full on editing mode at the moment. Just finished the first draft of my latest novel, so now the really horrible, kak, painful, mind-numbing work begins.
            Luckily my co-writer is an English teacher. And since I did 95% of the actual writing, it’s his turn now!

          • I, cannot stress, enough to you, how, this, is the first person I thought of, when, reading, what you, just, wrote https://media.giphy.com/media/xriErdU4ezqs8/giphy.gif

          • Original Heretic

            You probably touched yourself in the same way, too.

          • Okay… I assume your novel is a fantasy then?

          • Original Heretic

            Yup, fantasy. No one touches themselves, though.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Go you even get 50 shades of ginger?

          • I can try? 0_O

      • miaau

        And, for example, Kevin J Andersons epic Sci-fi series is BRILLIANT,, but at 7 800 odd page books, got too long, too involved.

        Yes, yes I know I have read it twice…

  • Magoo

    Lazy Gamer… Keeping people reading since 20XX

  • Magoo

    Does anime with subtitles count as both?

  • miaau

    A semi serious question:

    In terms of learning things, new skills or just something like, say, the 100 years war, do you learn better from reading or from seeing a good documentary on the subject?

    Follow up: learning from which medium do you find you remember more detail of in, say, six months time?

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      I retain more from seeing & hearing.

      • miaau

        So, for example, watching a youtube video on how tow write a business letter will be more valuable to you then reading how to do it from your old matric English textbook?

        Interesting. I find video learning so sloooooow and boring.

        Skills like Project Management, which can get quite involved and technical, I found that I first learnt about it from books, then the odd video explaining something made far more sense.

        • Magoo

          Yes but there is often a difference between understanding and retaining information.

          • Original Heretic

            I reckon that understanding something is much more valuable.

          • Magoo

            Of course. I wasn’t saying it’s either/or though.

          • Original Heretic

            Sorry, should have elaborated.
            I, personally, always find that I’d much rather understand something that just retain it. If I understand it and don’t retain it, I can always think it through and figure it out again.
            So even if I study something, I don’t focus as much on the retention. I hate learning things parrot fashion.

          • Magoo

            “King George V (Great Britain), Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany) and Tsar Nicholas II (Russia) were cousins, and grandchildren of Queen Victoria.”

            Do you retain this or do you understand it? What is to be understood?

          • Original Heretic

            I understand that European royalty had a lot of inbreeding.

          • Magoo

            😛

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          It depends on the subject. Maybe not video so much as having someone stand there and explain it in person. While I was studying I always found my retention was much better when I had a lecture on the subject combined with reading, than reading alone.

    • Magoo

      It probably depends on the source material and the pacing.

    • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

      You tend to retain better from reading – given that watching a video is a very passive activity. It’s one of the drawbacks of learning from a video.

  • Andre116

    Reading for entertainment is dead to my. I found a nice compromise though in audio books. Time spent on the road is a lot more entertaining though now that I don’t have to listen to the same old tired DJ’s re-playing the same songs over and over again.

    • GooseZA

      I still read a bit but I’m with you on the radio thing. I just listen to podcasts when I’m driving.

  • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

    I don’t trust people who don’t read….

  • Matthew Figueira

    Y’all better keep reading. I’m going to be a best selling author one day, and that whole dream kinda hangs on this 😛

Check Also

Friday Debate – What was YOUR game of the year?

We want to hear from you: What was the best game of 2017? Was it Wolfenstein II: The New C…