Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.
News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive.
This is a fantastic read and well worth your time to read in full. I’ve been working to slow down my personal consumption of news and instead try to focus on books and longer-form articles, but it certainly is not easy — I’m not used to it.
The first block quote above really struck me when I think about my own writing and the amount of links that I put in a post. I’m torn between trying to have only the bare minimum of links, or instead having a bibliography of sorts at the end of each article, thus allowing the reader to move more freely through my writing.
On the flip side is the annoyance factor of such a bibliography-type change — at least I know that I would find this supremely annoying if I were the reader.
For now I will just stick with trimming the fat in my RSS reader.
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