How much reading is too much reading?
You can liken reading to pretty much anything. Let’s take sleep as an example.
Too little sleep leaves you feeling tired, and to some extremities, can leave you feeling sick and weak. Too much sleep leaves you feeling ironically restless, lazy perhaps, and if you’re anything like me, a little crazy and need to go on a four mile run just to burn off all that energy.
But the pinnacle of sleep, like reading, is in the quality. It’s useless getting nine hours sleep per night if your quality of sleep is low – reading is no different.
I read lots. I read lots and lots. Blogs, news, Facebook status’, articles, books, magazines, press releases, tidbits of information. I read lots of emails from lots of people, from all over the world varying between niceness, good communication skills and terrible email responses. But there comes a point when it all has to stop.
You would think that after reading blogs all through my shifts at work that the last thing I would want to do is read some more, but I do. The amount of quality blogs I want to read verses the amount of quality blogs I need to read is much higher. I come across a fair few good blogs, some great blogs too but I wouldn’t read them if I didn’t have to.
With things that lack such quality reading for your brain such as Facebook and Buzzfeed articles, it makes sense that you reach your limit for receiving such information; that your brain fizzles out like bacon rind in hot oil, that you become increasingly frustrated and tired of the same relentless drivel updating over and over and over.
I have a system when I read. If it’s boring, I don’t read it. This goes for certain stories in magazines (really, I love Empire but I’m not interested whatsoever in anything that has Fifty Shades of Grey in it – no matter who the director is) and paragraphs or chapters in books. Books are slightly different in that I sort of read the boring bits but zone out of these, taking in about ten per cent of what I’m actually looking at.
This article from my work place** says that online writing only captures the reader’s attention for 8 seconds. So I’ve basically lost over a half of my readers in the first sentence of this post. This is what the statistics tell us, but is this what bloggers and online writers need to really do, try to captivate people in the first line of a post? Isn’t the point of a post so that the reader takes something from the last paragraph and not be given something in the first?
Should we reconsider our blogging strategies to suit the reader more, or to suit what it is we really want to say? Chances are that if you publish something, someone will read it and find it mildly interesting – probability states that it is possible for someone to like it too, because there are tons of readers out there, and a ton of things to peak their interest.
The article also states that “we don’t read, we scan” – but in order for me to refocus the way I perceive new information, to stop that part of my brain from becoming media-online-frenzy goo, I must read. Not scan, read. It is not possible for me to read anything with some context quickly, and indeed I don’t want to, either. I want to drink in information I find interesting – to take away with me as much information as I can before clicking past it, or before I turn the page, before I close the book.
Do I remember more this way? Probably not. But the quality of it centres my thoughts and the reasons why I love writing and why I want to read more. If we only see but a part of what someone has written for us, the message they are sending gets lost, like listening to half a conversation – why deny ourselves the same information but in written format?
Is it because we have become a lazy nation? That the most information we tend to receive is at the hands of a like button and 140 characters?
People want quick information, easy to read, on the go, fast, fast, fast. Faster than Usain Bolt. Faster than The Flash.
Anything more than this, more than a quick stop-over and your work gets passed on by.
So what then, is the real point to blogging? To learn something new? To share something worth remembering? I mean – what is the point to a blog, anyway?
At some point, amidst the Facebook uploading, the YouTube streaming, the Tumblr scrolling, things have to stop. Stop the scroll bar from gliding quickly down a page, stop the uploading every five seconds and just read. Really read. The things you really see might shock you, they might annoy you, they might make you think.
Wow. Imagine that. The written word that really makes you think.
**I never link to things like this but it’s actually a really interesting post. (Search Labs – if for some reason you find this blog linking to it don’t get your panties in a twist, it’s just little ol’ me not some big massive blogger person ^_^)