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Is This the Future of Reading on the Web?

As a guy who spends 90% of his work life on the web, I’ve noticed long ago that reading content — really reading, not just clicking and scanning — has become nearly impossible. The prevalence of content spread across a dozen pages, ads, social sharing buttons, and unrequested pre-content videos has turned some major websites into cluttered junkheaps. What’s the future of all this?  Will it get better? Probably not, says Rian van der Merwe:

I’m worried that the wells of attention are being drilled to depletion by linkbait headlines, ad-infested pages, “jumps” and random pagination, and content that is engineered to be “consumed” in 1 minute or less of quick scanning – just enough time to capture those almighty eyeballs.

I see some efforts to offset this — Safari’s ‘Reader’ function (which strips away everything except body content) and extensions like ‘Readability’ for Chrome and Firefox — but I don’t think they’ll stem the tide.

So what we have is a sacrificing of content in the name of advertising and eyeball analytics. Does this also happen to be one of the plagues of modern journalism as well? I think so.

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