I have a bizarre relationship with the analog and the digital.
I arise at 0445 sharp every workday so I have enough time to read the paper before going to work--yes, a real, ink-on-fingers newspaper--and a chapter or two of nonfiction brain food. I've practiced this ritual for so long that my grandmother coined a phrase for it: "time to find myself in the morning."
I repeat the ritual before bed, but with fiction. To hell with the people who say reading in bed before sleeping is bad for you--I can't sleep without it!
What do both rituals have in common? Hard copy. Physical pages. The smell of newsprint, used book, magazine gloss, and coffee all mixing together into a heady mix I wish I could bottle.
But, for good or ill, I spend the rest of my day like most other knowledge workers: eyes glued to screen, mouse and keyboard caressed like an old lover. An endless deluge of electronic news, military reports, scholarly articles, email, and the occasional click on the Wikipedia "random article" link. For an information junkie, this should be paradise.
Then why am I so weary?
First, there's just. So. Much.
Being paid to read is fan-friggin'-tastic. That, and in my line of work there's nothing worse than answering "no" to the question, "did you read about...?" (my wife considers it a win when she outscoops me on the news). Yet, reading isn't the same as producing. One the one hand, I must step back and write my own work products. On the other hand, there's always that nagging suspicion I forgot something. That I didn't read just one more article. Alas, who really has time to read all day?
Second, I agree with the oft-cited Atlantic article that Google is making us stupid.
In Internet time, the article's a bit long in the tooth. However, it dovetails with the more recent publications The Tyranny of Email and The Shallows... which I read in hard copy, no less. The gist is that electronic content discourages deep reading and fosters skimming. I'm also not a ran of reading long articles on a backlit screen. In the era of the paperless office, I long for a pile of printed PDFs. (Study Hacks also recently posted a great piece on deep work).
Third, my rituals and 24/7 connectivity don't mix.
Facebook, Twitter, reddit, RSS feeds... there's only so much time in a day. Yet, Twitter appears to be some people's full time job. I can't imagine posting tweets all day and still having enough critical thinking reserves left over.
I've also no desire to spend all my free time in front of a screen. This, of course, is an ironic statement by a gentleman who claims to study how people use information technology to make political decisions. But when it comes down to it, when I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I'm not sure I want to see a lolcat or status update.
I'm posting a problem without a generalizable solution. I know that for me, I simply must disconnect on occasion, and that simply won't work for some people. Given a choice between tweeting or reading a book in my favorite chair, the chair often wins.