Years ago my parents sent me to a speed reading class. It was quite the craze in my high school days to be able to speed read. There is likely a whole legion of speed reader graduates in the new forty who have used their crazy speed reading skills to get ahead in life.
The thing I discovered about speed reading though is that it really is more accurately categorized as skimming. And while the ability to skim is helpful in everyday life, it is not the same as proper reading. Albeit, I’ll be the first to say that skimming is particularly handy for moving quickly through the sheer volume of material you run across on the Internet on a daily basis.
The other day, while on Facebook an advertisement on the side of the page caught my eye. Those on Facebook know that Facebook allows those sponsored advertisements that seem to be tailored to your geographic location and interests. I am often chagrined at the advertisements that pop up there. I quickly skimmed the advertisement that caught my eye, which I believed said the following: “If there were no boys, I don’t know where I would be…probably dead in the streets.”
Huh?? I was a bit horrified that Facebook targeted such an advertisement at me. What did they analyze in my profile that allowed them to conclude that without boys I would be dead in the street? I summarily concluded I had been maligned by Facebook advertising.
I went back to the advertisement so that I could cut and paste it into an email of complaint to the powers-that-be at Facebook. Upon a second look – a.k.a.: a proper read of the advertisement - here is what I saw: “If there was no Boys Town, I don’t know where I would be. Probably dead or in the streets, but not here in college.” Support Boys Town.
Oh, dear. Skimming – not always all it is cracked up to be. It led to yet another one of my Emily Litella moments. Please allow my example herein to serve as a reminder fellow speed reader graduates - some things really do necessitate a second look and a proper read – lest you too find yourself saying – never mind.
Day nine hundred and five of the new forty – obla di obla da