Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
(This post is approximately 272 words long.)
My bad. I’m one of those readers who looks at the word count on the WordPress Reader. When I see a comma in that number, I tend to go, “Maybe I’ll come back to this later.” Then I never do.
It’s not that I don’t imagine the piece will be engaging enough to hold my attention. It’s strictly a function of time. Anything on the Internet that’s going to sequester me for more than a few minutes (sad but true) causes a weird sort of anxiety — that I won’t have time for the next interesting thing to read.
I know, it’s almost pathological. Plus, I have other things I like to do in life that don’t involve staring into an electronic device.
Now, according to this piece in the NYT, some websites like Slate and Medium have added notations to their stories that indicate how long it will take to read them. (I don’t see it on Slate, but maybe it’s a Slate+ feature….) This I appreciate. Akin to the WordPress word counts, it lets me budget my time, but by the same token, it also allows me to be perhaps irrationally stingy with it.
Oddly enough, I do read longer stories, but usually in print form — magazines, books. It can take me a couple of long sessions to read a good New Yorker article I’m really interested in, and I think nothing of it. But ask me to spend more than five minutes on a web item and I’m getting all edgy and impatient.
What do you think? Are you becoming a time miser?