Before the advent of social media, the best way to kill time other than watching movies or sitting outside was through reading books. Books were a fantastic escape from reality and an excellent way to enrich our minds while brushing up on our vocabulary. Book clubs were hugely popular, like minds would meet up and discuss their favourite books and authors, it was a great way to socialize and make new friends, but all of that has been put on the back burner since social media became popular.
Reading is not as popular as it used to be, and many people wouldn’t even read a short post, let alone a book. Attention spans have become more concise, and many people turn to skits and short videos for information and entertainment. Kids are no longer raised on classics like Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist or Eddie Iroh’s Without A Silver Spoon. They only get to open a book when they are at school; back home, they are left to bury their heads in an iPad, sometimes with no supervision. And with the amount of explicit content on the internet, they are exposed to things their young minds have no business knowing.
Social media is full of people who claim to be experts on specific topics, most of whom are not, just regular people selling misinformation to people who find it easier to listen to these so-called experts instead of doing research themselves. This is dangerous because this misinformation is paraded as the truth and could breed terrible consequences.
Picking up a book is the hardest thing to do because of the diversions on social media. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through videos on TikTok and Instagram instead of doing something productive; I used to read 300 pages in a day. Now, it takes me weeks, even months, when I start, I find myself alternating between the book and my Instagram feed. My attention span has also gotten shorter, and I can’t seem to focus on anything longer than a minute.
In a fast-paced world that is constantly evolving with new distractions to pass the time, the popularity of reading is waning. There may be TikTok creators than authors in the future, I fear.