Unlike reading a book or listening to a podcast, watching television takes an unbelievably little amount of effort. There’s a reason it’s widely recognized as the lazy man’s preferred mode of entertainment. The content was not designed to delight or inform as much as it is to keep you placidly watching. Reading has all sorts of cognitive benefits and it’s likely due to the nature of the medium itself.
For example, reading this Blog post takes mental effort. the second you stop trying, it stops delivering. it takes mental effort to imagine, comprehend and conceptualize things. if I start writing about Wild Donkeys in Cyprus eating grass while flying upsidedown. is the donkey able to swallow grass it eats cause of gravity? is the donkey flying with wings or without wings? is donkey feeling weird?
Before this gets too weird, the point I’m trying to make is that reading is an inherently interactive medium. The conveyance of information is not only dependent on me writing these words, but also dependent on you actively choosing to read, comprehend, and react to them.
This increase in the mental creative effort then leads to all sorts of positive outcomes. Reading improves our attention span, enhances logical reasoning, makes us more empathetic, and so on and so forth.
that’s why the media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously wrote, “The medium is the message.”