Magary: Why not browse the articles on the Internet

Magary: Why not browse the articles on the Internet
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If you’re like me, you won’t be reading this entire article. A lot of you will see the headline and that will be all you need to formulate your opinion, then jump on Facebook to say, “Can you believe this hole doesn’t read everything it reads ?! I would chastise you for such a hasty judgment, but now let me confess something to you that merits making me an eternal outcast:

I hardly ever read anything on the Internet in its entirety.

It is true. I am a protein skimmer. You know how the New York Times dropped this big Trump tax filing story this weekend? Yeah no, I haven’t read all of that. Keep in mind that I’ve been excited for these FIVE F – KING YEARS comebacks now, and yet their unveiling still wasn’t enough to get me to read all the details. No, what I did was take a look at the start of this article to get the $ 750 Chestnut, then I just waited for a trusted source to give me the TL version; DR. Luckily for me, the Times itself was more than happy to oblige and provide an aggregation of its own story for quick reading. I haven’t read all of this either. I read the bullets at the top and then started going through the following section breaks and immediately realized that these were decidedly optional. “His tax evasion also sets him apart from former presidents”? No. S – t.

Long? Amigo, these are shortcuts in my hands. I’m going to start reading a deeply reported post, then another shiny link will grab my attention and I’ll leave this long read tab open but dropped. Stillborn. Have I tweeted praise for the long posts that I never bothered to finish? Of course I have. This is how the long-term economy stays afloat.

If there is a way to avoid playing an entire song, I will. That’s why social media is useful when it isn’t killing the galaxy. I haven’t read any articles on that stupid scorpion gaming chair. Instead, I read the Twitter Moments compendium about it. If someone links to an article and then does a mini-thread about it, I’ll read the thread and not the article. You know how all of Trump’s advisers privately criticize him for needing all of his information presented on one sheet of paper or on one PowerPoint slide? It’s me. Give me the nut of what’s going on so I can jump straight to what’s important: my reaction to the thing I just ate. Related: The Scorpion Chair Is Silly.

I have read entire books. And I used to read entire articles at the gym. The elliptical machine was my reading chair. But I can’t go to the gym anymore, so this productive phase of my web consumption has exploded. I will still read the articles written by my friends on end to end, because I know them and I know they will not bore me. Otherwise, I take all of my information in little nuggets like platforms like Twitter and outlets like Axios prefer to do. There is a disinformation crisis in America that has made the country obscenely f-ked, but partial information is not only so widespread, it is probably more damaging. I know a lie when I see it. Reduced truths are another matter.







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I would tell you that I plan to end this habit for good, especially since I write and write for a living, and reading this whole thing is a necessary prerequisite for both of these tasks. But I’m not going to do this. I’m good at skimming, man. They even teach you to skim in school, and when has the school ever lied to people? I have read many complete books in the past and this has given me a trained eye for skimming. In this sense, skimming is an art. (NOTE: I made this part bold so you only notice that and not the rest of the story).

For example, I told you I haven’t read this whole Times tax story. This is because I have read The Times enough to know that its report would be lacking in brevity and give me the clear truth on the matter in plain language. The president is obviously a criminal. The Times report likely said its transactions were “tainted with potential fraud” or some other cowardly wording. Rather than lean over this lifeless copy like I’m browsing a microfiche in the basement of a library, I can just go to someone else to give me the juicy bits, worded the way I would prefer. whether they are formulated.

Oh yeah, that’s how you say it. And Ana Navarro generally sucks. Good for her to have made a good tweet for once! Blind squirrels, etc.

If I’m lucky, someone will tweet a screenshot of the best graffiti in a story, or a friend of mine will do the same in Slack, and that will be the extent of my consumption. I’m very selective about who I get my truths from, and skimming is a way to help me glean the big idea for a story without having to eat my veg in the process. EVERYONE WINS. If I read a movie or album review, I just walk past the intro and look for the graffiti that tells me if it’s good or not. If I read a recipe, I just walk past the intro to the storybook like everyone else does. If I hate to read a bad column, I will Ctrl-F to “uncrop” to get straight to the worst. I’ve got things to do, man. I can’t make you happy by reading all your boring bulls – t.

Is everyone as well trained as I am in skimming? No. Do other people trust suspicious sources – Patriots fans, for example – to bundle the material appropriately? Yes. Do I do this too? Probably. Am I contributing to social media destroying entire journalistic businesses that make a living from stolen content? OH GOD YES.

But can you blame me? There is a LOT of st to read. I am somehow, against all odds, more behind my reading on the Internet than on prestige television. It shouldn’t be possible, but here we are. Too much is happening at the same time now for me to understand everything. I would end up being a puddle of barf if I braved the attempt. And so I munch on the internet like a little kid with a gland problem, opening up articles and nibbling before I’m hungry for something new. It’s only fitting that when I’m done, I never feel full.

Drew Magary is a columnist for SFGate and co-founder of Defector. Her third novel, “Point B”, was released in April.

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