Has social made gen. Y (including myself) lazy?

Hundreds of emails come across my desk each day. On a good day I read, I mean actually read, 5. Those 5 come from people I deem extra important or contain a subject line that extraordinarily excites me for some reason or another. What of the other 95 you ask? I skim them. I briefly read them before filing them away into some miscellaneous Outlook folder or deleting them forever. Frankly, I don’t have time to completely read and / or respond to every email that I receive each day, that being said, I don’t want to. Does that make me lazy? Because I don’t want to spend 8 hours a day sorting through pointless emails? No. Rather, myself – and i argue, gen. Y as a whole is/am efficient. Why waste our time reading countless emails that contain an unearthly amount of unnecessary information? Maybe it’s growing up with internet, smartphone, and social media at our fingertips that has conditioned us to be lazy as many gen. Xers see it (efficient in my eyes). Why would I spend 10 minutes reading an entire article in the New York Times when I could follow their columnist on Twitter and get the 3 major points in 30 seconds? If I’m interested / want to learn more, I’ll click the attached link and read the full article. Social Media has completely revolutionized the way we take in information, I no longer need to browse Fox News, CNBC, and various blogs to get my morning fix (insert CNN and MSNBC if you lean to the left). Instead, I can follow The Factor and Jim Cramer on Twitter and get the exact same information, only condensed and delivered to my smartphone with the click of a button. However, the laziness / efficiency doesn’t stop there. I’m an avid reader – not books (they take too much time) but I do frequent certain websites – Mashable, Inc., and Entrepreneur to be specific. Each day I read roughly 30 articles. That takes me 20 minutes. First of all – if the title doesn’t have some sort of number in it i.e. “5 Ways Really Smart People Better Themselves”  I don’t read it. Articles like the afore mentioned are the easiest for me to breeze through and pull the important points. I can pull up that article, read the 5 bullet points, and in 20 seconds I’ve comprehended the same amount, if not more than the reader who spent 15 minutes reading through all the nonsense just to get to those same 5 points. I’ve been asked why I do this by several people, most of them much older than I, as I assume the equate this with not “taking the time to stop and smell the roses”. I give them the same answer every time. I skim through articles, stow away various tidbits of information I find useful and then formulate my own ideas rather than those outlined specifically in the articles at a later date. Since I only spend 20 minutes a day reading and not 2 hours, I have an extra 100 minutes to stop and smell the roses.

Follow me on Twitter @brendanbrandt

P.S. I wrote this article in 15 minutes while listening to a video by McKinsey’s David Edelman.


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