This is an amazingly great piece by Maria Popova that is definitely worth the read, but this quote really struck me from a reading literacy sense.
The point is that new tools in general, and Twitter in particular, greatly challenge the binary dichotomy of attention as something that is either given or taken away, distracted. Instead, these tools allow us to direct attention to destinations where it can be sustained with more concentration and immersion. They offer a wayfinding system that is, on the whole, the polar opposite of traditional media’s: While “old media” fought against the scarcity of information, new media are fighting the overabundance of information. The resulting directional-curatorial nature of our communications tools is something that fits comfortably neither in the “text” checkbox nor in the “speech” one. It does, however, allow people to discover the most relevant, interesting, and impactful information, in any medium, and then relate it to other information in a networked ecosystem of meaning that helps us better understand the world and each other.
I totally agree with this description. But here’s the edu-angle: sooner rather than later, I think the tension is not going to be rooted in the “finding good stuff” space as much as it will be in the “how do I switch my brain into deep reading mode?” space. While I don’t agree so much with Carr and Lanier and others who lament the end of intellectual dialogue in the 140-character world, I do worry that our brains and, especially, our kids’ brains won’t get enough regular workouts to sustain deep thinking and synthesis unless we help them.