“You kids….and get off my lawn too!”

In a world full of young adult fiction readers who are also “social media” users, who could seriously argue the likes of Twitter are destroying novel reading among the young? For the two streams of entertainment aren’t mutually exclusive: reading a novel is one thing, while networking and socializing is another. Most people can walk and chew gum at the same time.

However, this retired English literature professor lumps them together:

Screen capture of the Daily Mail.
Screen capture of the Daily Mail.

His summation of novels in single tweets is amusing. However, his tweets are obviously not replacements for reading the full novels themselves. That said, I’ve also never seen the issue positioned before in that thrown back on itself manner.

Consider this. Someone who four decades ago owned an old-fashioned rotary telephone could also peruse the print newspaper at the breakfast table. One normally just didn’t chatter on the phone and read in-depth at the same time.

Similarly my suspicion is if someone – young or older – enjoys novels, using Twitter wouldn’t stop that person from reading one. And for someone whose idea of Hell is F. Scott Fitzgerald, Twitter might be just another place that person now would retreat to avoid him. Thirty years ago that same person seeking to avoid reading Gatsby might have been playing Atari 800 video games with friends, or 60 years back could have been listening to new fangled rock ‘n’ roll records.

It can be dicey taking the Mail too seriously, yet it does conclude quoting Professor Sutherland saying this:

This breakdown of the 25 most popular beach reads of all time is the truest representation of modern day pulp fiction, allowing today’s easily distracted young holidaymakers to enjoy the most popular summer books in an instant.

And who knows, maybe they may just inspire some people to pick up an old-fashioned book at some point.

Yeh, kids these days. It’s not like back in my day! Pick up a book, won’t ya!

Free Stock Photo: A beautiful young girl holding an apple in the grass.
Free Stock Photo: A beautiful young girl holding an apple in the grass.

Indeed that same article also points out in a decidedly negative tone that “only” 1/4 of 18-25 year olds say they plan to take a novel on holiday. Yet based on the reality that most of those same 18-25s likely are also doing “social media,” that’s a pretty sizable percentage of that age group planning to read a full length novel over the summer as well. So, whaddya know, shockingly proof they can manage to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Moreover, I know some of you reading this and currently in that age group don’t merely read novels passively, but you actually also WRITE them.

Yeh, kids these days….

I’m, uh, now off to check Twitter. The weekend’s almost here! Have a good Friday. 🙂

UPDATE: August 15: Related, further thoughts here: “Future Academics Will Find Lots Less Paper.”