Howard Rheingold posted some advice for his students at Stanford the other day pertaining to their use of technology, particularly RSS and IM in class. His advice: it’s only a filter. You don’t have to read everything or even see everything that comes your way.
What stress we places on ourselves when we mandate that we keep up with everything that is said in our little sphere of influence. Fforde reminds me in this passage that we, the reader have very important work to do. We must dissect and make meaning of text that may or may not have been intended for our eyes. The author’s intended audience may have come and gone, and a new audience, not germane to the writer’s initial purpose is still able to read the text. What does that new audience make of it?
As we deal with inputs, and “noise” from the channels of text and image that we subscribe to, let us look at our focus. Read everything with the intention of writing about it. It changes everything, and we are critical of more than we thought.