Happy Birthday Susan Hare – you don’t exist

Facebook just sent me a notification that today is Susan Hare’s birthday. She isn’t real, I created her for some drama project. But she continues and it’s as if she has a life out there without me.

If I could remember the password to her Facebook account maybe I would delete her. But the last time I could recall it, I went in and discovered she had more friends than I do.

Well, okay, more friend requests than I’ve ever had. I wonder now whether I accepted any of them for her. I’ve got this idea now of her friends asking if she’s okay and why she isn’t posting much.

Or maybe she is posting a lot.

Maybe Susan is living the life. Got a brilliant job because her social media isn’t full of embarrassing photos. Met someone.

Maybe she’s far more productive than I am. When I work up the nerve, I’m going to search Amazon to see if she’s got a book out.

This post to you is really just a startled musing about things we create and if I were to try to bend it back to the topic of productivity, I think it would be bending. Contorting. Except, I am really taken with the notion that something I created many years ago is still going on. I can’t remember what I set up the Susan account for but the project is certainly gone yet she lives.

I’m not feeling parental, I’m not.

Paper not better than ebook for reading, except…

I love ’em both, paper and ebooks. But it has been said and I have wondered whether I retain more from things I read on paper than on screens. Maybe so, but if it’s true, it looks like that may be more down to me than to the technology – except in one key respect.


A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.

The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month and set to be published as a paper, gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.

Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, a lead researcher on the study, thought academics might “find differences in the immersion facilitated by the device, in emotional responses” to the story. Her predictions were based on an earlier study comparing reading an upsetting short story on paper and on iPad. “In this study, we found that paper readers did report higher on measures having to do with empathy and transportation and immersion, and narrative coherence, than iPad readers,” said Mangen.

But instead, the performance was largely similar, except when it came to the timing of events in the story. “The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, ie, when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order.”

Readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper, study finds – Alison Flood, The Guardian (19 August 2014)

‘Course, I only read the full piece on my iPad so maybe it really says something completely different.