By Ada Zhang
We live in the age of instant satisfaction. Technology has bridged the void between “I want it” and “It appears,” and as a result, we have become ceaselessly lazy—especially when it comes to what we read.
I am not a Luddite.
I love click bait articles for the same reasons everyone else loves them: they are usually at least mildly entertaining and they’re quick reads.
Heck, I’ve even written some click bait articles myself, list articles that enumerate this, this, and that without wasting any time. I know I’m writing to college students, and I know we don’t always have the time to sit and read a novel.
These considerations aside, it becomes problematic when click bait articles constitute the entirety of the literature we are exposed to.
It saddens me a little when my friends post articles from Elite Daily. The titles are usually something like “Ten Ways to Tell When a Guy Really Loves You” or “Twelve Reasons to Date the Outgoing Introvert.” I get it — we’re at that age when relationships and love are at the forefront of our minds, but every time I’ve clicked on an Elite Daily article that someone posted to Facebook, I’ve been disappointed.
The writing is shallow and cliché, taking complex emotions and turning them into pedantic, fortune cookie life lessons.
College students, I challenge you to expand your literary horizons. Go ahead, read articles from sites like Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog, and Elite Daily — sometimes they are exactly what we need: funny and fast, perfect for a short study break — but know that there is better editorial content out there. Don’t let your desire for instant satisfaction limit your literary intake.
If you prefer digital to paper, that’s fine. Just know that there are two types of online content: the cliché and predictable, versus the intelligent and inspiring. Know how to distinguish between the two, and if you have a little extra time on your hands, choose the latter.
If you like reading about controversy or scandal, check out Maureen Dowd’s snarky political columns on the New York Times. If you enjoy reading about relationships, read the Modern Love columns, also on the New York Times. I think you will be surprised by how these columns explore love in ways that are new and surprising.
Read CNN to keep up with current events. Read Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) to know what’s going on in the Middle East. The amount of content that is online and readily available has made it inexcusable to not know what’s happening outside your comfortable bubble. Read, stay informed; do not turn a blind eye to the suffering of others.
And hey, it wouldn’t hurt to get your hands on a book every once in a while. Those are pretty great too.