The way we read now

aggregated news, information gathering, Jane Austen, Newsmap, novel installments, technology, treemap algorithm, visual hierarchy

I found these two Web sites recently.

The first is called Newsmap. It uses a “treemap algorithm” to aggregate news while creating visual hierarchy and pattern. The part that I’m unclear about is the meaning of the nested rectangles and their relative sizes. Are the larger boxes the most-reported news items, have the most hits, or are they the breaking news items? Or is its purpose simply to map the ever-changing landscape of the aggregated news? It’s visually stunning, maybe a little tough to read the smaller stuff, even though some stories had pop-ups. Clicking on any rectangle gives you the full article.

aggregated news, information gathering, Jane Austen, Newsmap, novel installments, technology, treemap algorithm, visual hierarchy

The second site is called DailyLit. This site offers classic and contemporary titles in daily installments. The reader can receive them via email or RSS. For instance, I clicked on Pride and Prejudice, it’s a classic, it’s in the public domain and it’s free. I could read that, roughly five minutes worth daily, in 146 installments.

I’m thinking it has come to this. The way we read now is that we have an aggregator and an abbreviator to control our daily information overload. We can go to one portal for up-to-the-minute news, and get a headline overview. Then we can spend five minutes reading the lit. That’s the news and culture portion of the day, imagine the possibilities for the other 23+ hours.

Maybe it’s not how we read, as long as we still read. I wonder what Jane Austen would think of this.

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