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Ear to the Ground

Why Textbooks Should Be Written Like Facebook Posts

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Posted on Jan 27, 2013
Johan Larsson (CC-BY)

Curmudgeons the world over will tell you that TV makes you go blind and expressing ideas 140 characters at a time makes you soft in the head, but some actual scientists looked into this and the results were surprising.

According to researchers at UC San Diego, people are likelier to remember information from a Facebook post than a book or article, and that’s accounting for variables like, no joke, emoticons.

More research is needed to draw firm conclusions, but one scientist speculates that the results might stem from the fact that people are better at processing natural speech, as opposed to carefully written and edited blog posts like this one. OMG.

We all have our prejudices, but it’s worth keeping the following in mind: From Facebook to Tumblr to text messaging, this next generation deals with text more than any since the popularization of Johnny Carson and the telephone. Maybe there’s a reason more people learn about current events from their smartphones than the “CBS Evening News.” And if they better retain that information, as scientists suggest, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

TTFN.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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