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Posted On March 11, 2014 By In Buzzworthy, The Scene

The Spritz Reading App: A Troubling Sign of the Times

 
 

I read an article the other day from Elite Daily regarding a new app from Spritz that allows you to read a novel in 90 minutes or less. I love books and reading and words and everything that has to do with any of those thing. Hence, this automatically caught my attention. According to Spritz, their program formats words to line up with the eye’s natural movement while reading. This involves something called the “Optimal Recognition Point” (ORP) which refers to the precise point where our brain deciphers all of the letters into a word. With the Spritz program, the ORP is highlighted in red and all of the words are placed in the exact same spot. When this occurs our eyes do not need to move and we can process the information twice as fast.

picture of how spritz works

Sounds pretty cool, right? Wrong. I was instantly concerned after reading this. Our generation barely reads these days so I guess I can see how this app might cause people to read more. I’ve heard many excuses along the lines of,  “I don’t have time to read” or “Books take way too long to finish,” so I suppose these folks may benefit from this app. But here’s my question: If you’re reading a novel in an hour, are you actually processing it entirely? Are you really understanding the message the author is trying to portray to you? To me, the time put into reading a book is meaningful and you should appreciate how much time the author spent creating the story. It took many of them months – and sometimes years – to create this work of art and you’re going to whizz through it in 60 minutes just to say you can and did? Spritz claims, “When reading, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content. The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next ORP. With Spritz we help you get all that time back.” That is simply upsetting to me. Do they think time spent reading is wasted? Are you kidding me? I don’t want that time back. I chose to give that time to my book. Reading is always a learning experience and learning takes time.

I asked the members of my book club about this app and many of them agreed with me. One member informed me, “I love spending time with my book. It’s almost like a relationship, as I make sure to give 30 minutes of my time to my book before going to sleep.” Another member explained to me, “There’s something special about spending a month with a book. The story becomes part of your life and the characters are so real.” I’m sure those of you that love reading know what I mean when I talk about a book hangover, right? For those of you who do not know, let me explain. When you find a book that really intrigues you, you get really into the story. I mean REALLY into it. So much that every part of it seems real and you start to feel like the characters are your friends in real life. However, when you finally reach the end and close the back cover (or your Kindle tells you you’ve finished), you become extremely sad with the realization that none of it was real and you now have to go back to your regular, boring life. It feels awful and you don’t want to accept it and your life is over. There’s no way you could imagine reading anything else ever again. But if you read a book with Spritz in an hour, are you getting that same bonding and connection with the story? Are there any emotions involved? I don’t think so.

definition of a book hangover

book hangover explaination

Yes.

To me, this app sounds like another creation of our generation’s I-want-it-now attitude. We are so obsessed with getting answers yesterday that right now seems too late. If this is the way the world is headed with reading, count me out. This can only lead us to becoming mindless drones racing through books for information and never retaining any notion of feelings or emotions.

gif from Short Circuit

Robotsrobotsrobots

I don’t know about you but I will not be supporting this new app. Why don’t we slow down and continue to be humans for awhile, please?

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Renée Rapin is a writer for Writtalin. Renée is a UCSB grad and currently works as an event coordinator. She is a terrible speller and has an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs, wine, and reading. In her spare time she enjoys people watching, sweating at the gym, and planning for book club. Hopefully you find her worldly observations as entertaining as she does. You can email Renée at: reneer@writtalin.com

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