Half-Baked Ideas: The Passionless iPad? A Silly Post

OK, here is something where I am just going to have to trust you to tell me the truth. I will start by telling you what I know.

Three people are in a room. One of them wrote something awesome, the other two have read it:

1) First,  an earlier draft

2) Second, a revision

Person A (don't you dig the true crime/52 bicycles-in-a-room vibe?)  read both versions on paper. You know, dead trees. Wasting resources. Destroying worlds. Etc etc. This person loved LOVED the first version, and felt the revision was less present in some small ways. Still great, still heartfelt, but more rushed.

Person B read the first version on an iPad, and really liked it. Read the revision on paper and was BOWLED OVER. The feelings! The intensity! The true soulfulness of the whole proposition! What an amazing revision, she said. (Or, you know, words to that effect.)

What gives? I am iPad-less since the time I borrowed one from work and nearly went insane trying to manage on the tiny little ghostlike keyboard. I swore never to own one. Sort of.

But I have a suspicion, a wormlike, creeping suspicion, that the iPad somehow diabolically managed to suck the soul out of this story. Too many times person B said, "Oh, but the scene with the "cat" is new, right?" [Reader alert: There is not really a scene with a cat, but I am feeling like I can't say what there is, because it wouldn't exactly be fair. Besides, there could be a scene with a cat, right?] And then Person A and the Writer said, "No, it was there before," and person B marveled.

Is it true? Could an iPad do this? Should we run and warn the others?

 

8 thoughts on “Half-Baked Ideas: The Passionless iPad? A Silly Post

  1. I’m curious as to how others will respond to your question.
    I haven’t warmed up to reading books on my Kindle. Somehow, holding an actual book somehow enriches my experience. BUT, I think it’s because it’s what I am used to.
    I have two close friends who switched over to the Kindle and never looked back.

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  2. OK, first impressions from someone who gives feedback for at least part of my living. And this might be an awful answer to your test question since so much of what I am saying is “It depends.” But, I have noticed that how long someone has been using their device and whether they use it for reading on a regular basis does change how they perceive material delivered on a device.
    Having said that, I LOVED being able to give feedback on a first draft of a novel via Kindle – it was much better than reading the first draft in Word or in manuscript pages. It felt like I was reading a book. Of course, that is because 1) I was and 2) I am used to reading books on my Kindle. And then, for what it is worth, I enjoy reading on my Kindle but I do not love reading on my iPhone or on my husband’s iPad. But my sister mostly reads on her phone now and is completely comfortable with it. And my husband, who loves his iPad for social media and news, hates it for books.

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  3. But here’s the thing: it’s only by reading two versions that she was able to see that (possibly) there was less of an emotional impact with reading it on the iPad. But given that you normally don’t read the same thing twice in two different media, HOW WILL YOU EVER KNOW IF THE iPAD IS STEALING YOUR FEELINGS?
    Not that I’m feeling hysterical and paranoid or anything.
    I just wonder if everyone who is happy is just inured to this somewhat less intense experience, which they are blaming on the books.

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  4. What if, instead of it being “the iPad is stealing your feelings,” it’s the tangible book that is giving you more feelings than is actually warranted by the book?
    I think you are equating the nostalgia that comes from the form with being a “real” and “true” (or simply more “intense”) experience.
    In other words, different forms elicit different responses is certainly a possibility, but that does not make one more authentic than the other.

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  5. Well, I am reading this on an iPad and it is making me smile and think. From which I can conclude that if it were on paper I would be breathless with laughter and also having epiphanies by the bushel.

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