Is Google Making Us Stupid?
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The title “Is Google Making Us Stupid” intrigued me.

Nicolas Carr authored this post which implies we may be dealing with a population of people whose reading habits, both online and off, are changing.

Our audience might be so preoccupied, comprehension of what is written on the page could elude them.

Nicolas admits it’s happening to him,

…Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy….

He then goes on to add,

The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

Today’s Lesson

To reinforce what he’s saying, Nicolas references a study conducted by the University College, London which published an article titled, Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future.

Part of their findings state,

The picture that emerges from internet research is that most visitors to scholarly sites view only a few pages, many of which do not even contain real content, and in any case do not stop long enough to do any real reading. This is either a symptom of a really worrying malaise – failure at the library terminal – or maybe a sign that a whole new form of online reading behaviour is beginning to emerge, one based on skimming titles, contents pages and abstracts: we call this `power browsing’. We urgently need to understand the root causes of this phenomenon.

Although the University College, London is wanting to understand the “why” of this phenomenon, as bloggers we should be asking, “Will this, or should this, change the way we blog?”

I’m thinking it might.

If we’re aware our visitors may not be stopping long enough to read our posts, finding a way to capture their attention should be of utmost concern.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

Do you find the internet has changed the way you read?

Thinking abut your surfing habits, what captures your attention long enough to actually read a post?

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  1. Hi Barbara – Great topic. I’ve read Carr’s article (yes the whole thing!) and I went back to read it again. As much as I love google, I’ve experienced google brain myself. That, I don’t like at all. I have to be careful of getting too swept up into the internet world and remind myself to stop and read a book. But when I read articles like this, I’m always surprised that little is said about why we’re so pulled in by technology. Of course, we need it to make it through the day now, but it’s also tremendously addictive. It’s our new drug, and for those like me who have a somewhat compulsive personality, we need to take care.

    Anyway, the things Carr talks about – concentration, contemplation, insight, deep reading, deep thinking – I value those tremendously. And I will slow down and read pieces that have substance and are thought-provoking (rather than a list of do’s and don’ts – those I skim). I also think there will always be people who want to sink into something and consider it. So I doubt I would change much about the way I blog, regardless of how the internet is changing our brains.
    .-= Check out Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s awesome post: The Ritual of Return =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patty,

      That is an interesting article, isn’t it?

      I like how you mentioned slowing down to read thought provoking articles. If we make a conscious effort to do so, I think it can help to alleviate “google brain”.

      With regard as to the “why”, I’ve found another post which discusses that, as well. Stay tuned for more on that in the near future.

  2. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I think Google does make some people stupid. We don’t need to remember or know anything anymore. We don’t need to read stuff. We can search for what we need, skim and scan until we find it, and quickly move on. It has changed everything.

    Although, I have a few favourite bloggers who I will always read their words. I stumble across a few well-written blogs and relish in the writing as well. But there have been times where I dart away quickly from a site or blog without even really giving myself a chance to read it. I don’t know why I do that either?

    It’s a good question to ask. Sorry I don’t have any answers.
    .-= Check out Chase March´s awesome post: Scenes From A Classroom: Episode 1 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      That’s a good point. With the internet being so accessible, it’s not necessary to learn all the “stuff” we used to. Like you said, by searching we can find the answer and then move on. In many ways that’s rather sad, and I would think with you being a teacher, it could almost seem disheartening.

  3. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – this is scary. I know reading online has affected my spelling – probably cos I’m seeing mistakes all the time. But I hope it isn’t affecting my brain so badly that I can no longer concentrate to read properly offline.

    I just started studying again and speed reading was more of a challenge. I thought it was because I haven’t studied in a long time – but maybe the Internet has changed how I read.

    Thinking about reading online – I like posts that are clearly broken up into paragraphs, with subheadings and anything that really makes it easier to read. I really can’t cope with reading too much online and I have to print out long posts.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Catherine,

      I like your suggestions of using paragraphs with subheadings. That a good way of making it easier for our visitors to read what we’ve written and if they don’t want to read the complete paragraph, they would get the gist of what we’re attempting to convey.

  4. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Great conversation piece. I have to admit that if folks stay on your site for more than 2.5 minutes, they are reading your article. If it is less, they are there only to drop or link up to another site using CMF or Adgitize.

    So, is the attention span of a blogger short? You betcha! Are we working on it? Most probably. Many of us have learned to read very quickly thus possibly losing part of the article’s intent. This becomes apparent in the comment section.

    Do we need to add additional “gotcha’s’ to keep the readers interest? No, I believe if you are getting visitors and growing, then you are apparently doing something very right. Just keep at it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      That’s true. When we spend a lot of time online, we do have a tendency to read more quickly, and like you said, may miss losing part of the article’s intent.

      I agree there’s no need to add “gotchas”. Not only could that discourage others from reading our blog posts, but it would also appear like we’re “setting up” the readers we so dearly want.

  5. PeacefulWmn9No Gravatar says:

    I find this truly interesting, as I’ve found my own reading habits changing. Speaking only for myself, a once voracious reader, I am simply too busy writing — blogging, articles, many many things each day — that time is the main issue. I’ve even quit reading some of the blogs whose posts just seem never-ending, as I tend to lose interest halfway through them. It’s’ not the content, which is brilliant, but I just simply have had to consolidate a lot of things in my life to make enough of a living to survive.

    Not just reading, mind you, but so many other things, as well. And it truly has nothing to do with Google or the internet. It would be the same without them both as with them.

    .-= Check out PeacefulWmn9´s awesome post: What Is It About Babies? =-.

    • PeacefulWmn9No Gravatar says:

      A P.S. here, as to how I know it isn’t just Google, etc. This summer, I was without a computer for 10 days. Rather than being frantic, as I anticipated, I was actually relieved! LOL.

      I read novels, entire novels, and loved it. I sketched. I knitted. I cleaned my home thoroughly, I reconnected with friends and loved ones … in person, no less!
      .-= Check out PeacefulWmn9´s awesome post: What Is It About Babies? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Karen,

      You’re raised that issue that so important to bloggers – time. With all we try to do, each minute becomes sacred. It’s no wonder we read differently when online.

      Thank you for the P.S. I found it interesting how when you were away from the computer, you reverted back to doing those things you’ve always like to do. But when you returned from your vacation, it sounds like those online “habits” (for lack of a better word) returned, too. Hmmmm!

  6. Hi Barbara – I don’t know if I’d say “stupid,” which is a provocative premise and a great headline, but I’d definitely say, “different.” Writing takes time, keeping online relationships alive takes time, our busy lives off line take time, and if we think deep, contemplative reading is important, we’ll make time for it. Just think, there are plenty of people who aren’t on the Internet much who don’t crack open a book either. 🙂
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Soothing Scrubs – A Great Gift to Make or Keep for Yourself =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      I agree, “stupid” does make for a good headline. It certainly caught my attention.

      That’s very true. We will make time for that which we feel is important whether we’re busy or not. Priorities will come into play and when that happens, something else usually has to give.

  7. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I am finding that I am wanting all of my family to keep reading. I read all of each post that I read and then try to summarize before making comments. I think this is important for thinking, evaluating and using the brain.

    I want to keep my brain/thinking skills young….the only way to do that is to read and think….it is similar to when digital watches came out and kids refused to read analog clocks….then folks had to devise new ways to teach time and space…

    I am writing shorter and shorter posts when possible, and I am sure when I look at the comments that not all folks have done more than skim – several comments in a row will miss the point…

    I am worried about my friends who hardly use the Internet or are proud of their non- interest in the internet because I think they are missing out on new wiring in the brain and they may become dependent on others sooner than they would like…

    The brain needs exercise in all areas to stay alert and keen. Folks who memorize everyday, especially as children, rarely have dementia.
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet ~Jamie Ford =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      That’s an excellent point. Keeping our brains active via reading, writing, thinking, playing games, doing crossword puzzles, etc, can make a huge difference as we age.

      And your comment reminded me of how being online exposes us to so much more than we normally encounter in the real world. You know how it is. We have blogging buddies who write on topics we may not even think of and it gets us thinking….more food for the brain.

  8. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    If it’s garden variety post I need lots of lovely formatting to keep me interested: subheadings, bullets points, short paragraphs, nice graphic. If it’s well written, I don’t mind. I’m prepared to stay long enough to gobble up the whole article.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jan,

      Those are all great tips. And I agree, if a post is long and we have the time to read it, we usually end up being better off for doing so.

      What I do if a post is long and time is short, is make a note of it and go back to read it when time permits.

  9. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Do you find the internet has changed the way you read?Yes and no. I read different things than I used to and I don’t do as much book reading as I used to. It takes me far longer to get through a good book.

    Thinking abut your surfing habits, what captures your attention long enough to actually read a post?

    First of all, I seldom surf anything. I have regular items that I look at in my feed reader.

    The amount of time pressure that I have makes a big difference on how likely I am to read a blog post. Another thing that does make a difference is that I am more likely to read the post of someone who reads my blog and comments there, even if it’s a post I might not otherwise read. When there’s some kind of established connection, I’m more likely to read further than I otherwise would.
    .-= Check out Mike Goad´s awesome post: From the Canadian Broadcasting Company: “You wouldn’t accept that at a grade 9 science fair…” =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      You’ve brought up a good point. When a post is written by a blogging buddy, we are more apt to read it even though it may not be something of great interest to us. By doing that and commenting, not only do we expand our knowledge base, but we also keep those connections strong.

  10. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. First off, I really like what you’ve done with the place. Your blog is all decked out for Christmas… even the two subscription icons; too cute.

    From my perspective, reading has changed and I think it’s because I’m more scattered (rather than stupid), knowing there is pretty much an endless supply of reading. I try to gobble it up and skim much more than I used to. It’s very difficult to sink into a good book anymore.

    The headline/topic of a post catches my eye first and I’ll stick around to read at least a couple of paragraphs before clicking away. As Mike mentioned, if I’m familiar with the blogger I will tend to hang out a bit longer — connections, connections, connections.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Poem #6: Oh, Those Crotchety Years =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Davina,

      I had fun “decorating” my blog. 🙂

      Isn’t that the truth? The internet offers so much stuff, it’s hard not to want to take it all in. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I start clicking links and before I know it, I’m reading something I’ve never heard of before. But it ends up being so fascinating, I can’t “put it down”.

      Like you, I’m not picking up too many books either.

  11. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    “Real” content? “Real” reading? I struggled with reading Kant in college, and I ain’t goin’ back. There is learning, there is communication, there is pushing your own concentration levels — but it boils down to – What do you want and need? If I find I want to learn something, and it is a bit beyond my grasp, I slow down and apply more effort, or I watch a tutorial on Youtube, or I just get someone else to do it.

    “Will this, or should this, change the way we blog?”
    It already has. I had to change my journalistic writing style to “blog style.” I like challenging myself to making brevity and pithiness get along. I wish Kant had done that.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Positions of authority make narcissist’s life easy =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      I hear you. Those challenges can inspire us to slow down and apply more effort. Knowing that’s how we’re going to learn, that becomes a priority.

      And you’re right. Blogging does change the way we write. Proper writing techniques go out the window and before we know it, we’re writing sentences that aren’t “complete”. Then there’s Twitter (micro blogging) – but that’s a subject for another day….

  12. Hi,

    I’m pretty much able to read in depth. Perhaps it’s because I’m keeping the habit of reading books.

    However, online, my behaviour is like I read one article out of ten than I browse. But still, I force myself to read when it’s worth it. Perhaps, because I’ve made a custom to

    comment, and to make a comment of any value you need to actually read the article.

    On the other hand, I believe the web is not the place for lengthy works. The medium is often, quite too distracting. Even if the author has a clean page, the reader could have a ton of open pages: including mail, gogle wave, facebook, twitter and youtube.

    So, as for fiction, I’m experimenting with hyper-text fiction (that’s my link by the way) dividing the story into many tiny bits and making all a game.

    As for a blog, I think we have to accept that most people will just browse through the headlines, and that just a few will actually stop to read.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel,

      Good point. When we’re online we do have a lot of other things distracting us. Not only might it be a ton of open pages like you said, but it could be members of our family wanting attention, or calls coming in on our phone. It becomes a balancing act so it’s no wonder we don’t give our online activities 100 percent of our attention.

      P.S. I was just looking at your “game” site. What a fascinating concept. You’ll have to let me know how your experiment turns out.

  13. What I’ve found is that I still like reading for long periods of time, but not on screen. There is something that makes reading a text on a page of paper so much more comfortable than on screen.

    However, because I’m a slow reader, when I want to study something carefully, I prefer the audio book version over traditional book or ebook.
    .-= Check out Gordie Rogers´s awesome post: Lifestyle Design – Three Ways To Know You’re Ready! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Gordie,

      I’m with you on that. Reading on a screen can be tiring on the eyes.

      Utilizing audio books is a great alternative to reading traditional books or ebooks. Your comment makes me wonder if we’ll see more ebooks turned audio. I’m guessing they would be popular.

  14. DennisNo Gravatar says:

    The topic I was very interested and has led to some misunderstanding. I think the Internet is changing the thinking and habits, but not so drastically.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Let’s hope the change isn’t as drastic as is implied in the article and study. This will be an interesting development to watch.

  15. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. another good thought provoking suggestion. I too love the header and the little Christmassy icons .. – can I come for Christmas and learn how? – except you’re going to be here with us for ours .. oh oh life gets complicated!!

    I hate reading anything complicated on screen – I too have to print it off and read it properly.

    I don’t really surf .. I sometimes look for information and then scan very quickly through either the searches, or occasionally the articles – but my concentration span if I can’t find what I’m looking – hits the brain and says “lets find another way” …

    However as you’ll have realised I use Wikipedia a lot, and I have reference books I go back to, I also may get an idea from the newspaper, the tv, or the radio .. something clicks in – as to a good ‘story’ to write up on. When I start looking on Wiki – I often get led away to another strand relatie to that post, or another one another day.

    It does concern me as to the veracity of some aspects that have been written – there’s the American take on things versus the English take on things .. probably not that different – but for me something to be aware of. More importantly the veracity .. I did not believe something was correct, as far as I had been brought up, and so checked it out in my books etc. This was the recent article I did “What Christmas memory ….” – where I mentioned the beginnings of Christmas time – stemming from the pagan festivals and mentioned the word d*r*u*i*d*s .. and got a strange comment (not published) .. I published what I believe is the more likely version.

    So when I research I do keep my eyes open, as such, and keep my brain active by questioning various points – but I am concerned that this generation believe the soundbites they hear, read or see .. and have no thought as to what they’re considering. Frankly I worry for the masses and our future.

    However the internet is an amazing place, and I’ve learnt far more in this past year blogging than I thought possible – through the information I’ve been able to highlight in my own blog, (which are usually explanations to me!) and through the internet as a whole through this wonderful community of sites we all visit.

    We have a choice to visit intelligently, but we need to be focussed too .. and time – I remember the early days when some women to be successful would get up at 4 or 5 and get those extra hours in .. – as Bill Gates says we’ve only got time .. most of us are human and another couple of hours in a cosy bed is a good feeling!!

    Great post – hey now I’m down the bottom .. the pencils haven’t got tinsel crowns ….?????
    Bye – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Cricket Ball Squash, Santa Claus, Italy and us … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      I’m happy to hear you like the Christmas decorations and I’d love to be able to help you with yours, too.

      You’ve brought up good point, Hilary. Some of the stuff we find online may not even be true. I remember hearing a story of how a student turned in a report and when she got an “F” asked the teacher,”why”. It was explained to her the information was totally incorrect. She said she had found it online, however, she failed to use a reputable site.

      You brought up the subject of time, and I think this is the main issue we find so many readers skimming. With there being so much online to digest, they may feel that’s the only way to soak it all up.

      Tinsel on the pencils? I’m going to have to work on changing that to match the header. 🙂

  16. Hasn’t affected me one bit. I keep my book reading/computer reading separate and distinct – when I have the actual TIME to really sit down and get into something (read: reading in bed before going to sleep), I find myself relaxing and enjoying it.

    But there’s never been a comprehension problem.
    .-= Check out Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s awesome post: Today’s Make Money Tip – Take advantage of 75% HUGE discounts for killer affiliate/blog/Wordpress tools =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s a smart way of doing that – keep book reading and computer reading separate. That way we’re less likely to lose the joy of picking up a real book.

  17. JanNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I’ve not posted here before (I don’t think–was I reading too fast to remember –wink!) though Lance suggested a while back that I do.

    This is a very important topic. I find myself guilty of speeding through blogs because I was a magazine editor for a stint and I can speed read with the best of them. What I noticed was this: doing so made me anxious, like I was in some sort of road race to get to “the most blogs read” finish line.

    I now use blog reading as an exercise in mindfulness. Slowing down, taking a breath, really sinking in to what the person is saying, and appreciating the effort it took for them to create this masterpiece has become a form of spiritual practice for me. Of course, because I go slower now, I can’t get as many blogs read, but I do think my comments are more soulful. And I am grateful to have read what I did. We all have such marvelous stories to share.

    Thank you for your marvelous work here. You are a beacon of light. Truly.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jan,

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve been on that blog reading race, too. But, like you said, by speeding through we lose the essence of not only the topic, but of what the blog author is trying to convey (and it’s often between the lines).

      Adding to what you said, I think blog authors would prefer to have their readers take their time and leave a meaningful comment, than to skim their post and and quickly move on. Even if that means we can’t visit a blog as often as we’d like, when we do, the author knows we truly read their work.

      • JanNo Gravatar says:

        I agree and good advice. Usually that is what I do. I will often let the blog owner know, too, that I am reading, but not always commenting. That seems like something I know I’d want to hear from someone….Sort of like, I’m thinking about you, even though you haven’t heard from me in a while. Kindness matters….

        Thanks for the wisdom you share here, Barbara. You have such a lovely, supportive presence.

  18. I did notice I quit reading books like I used to but I also stopped purchaseing books because I’m a bookaholic.

    I took 5 books out of the library recently and gobbled them up. I can’t put good ones down. I prefer articles I can scan because it’s easier on my eyes. I definitly like short paragraphs for the same reason.

    Do I think we’re changing the way we read, yes but is there anything else that’s not changing! I’m going with the flow.
    .-= Check out Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post: 50 Ways to Simplify Gift Giving This Holiday Season =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tess,

      That’s true. If an article is displayed in shorter paragraphs, it’s easier to read and easier on the eyes.

      So you’re a bookaholic? That must be why you’re so wise.

  19. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!
    I don’t mean to sound like Old Mother Time here (if I do, tough!) – I read your post last night and waited until this morning to write a response, letting these thoughts marinate a bit.

    I’ve lived long enough to see what is being taught in schools is anything BUT trying to teach kids to THINK – I’ve seen the English get bastardized and abbreviated to the point of needing a frikin CODE dictionary to figure out what the hell things like SAHM mean! I’ve watched the decline of newspapers, people getting news in sound bites and thinking they are informed! I read about the declining attention span people are developing due to what? stress? Whatever. The last 30 years or so I’ve watched trends grow (generalizations here) with more superficial mouth-only commitments, lack of integrity, no depth of intentions, as people frantically rush thru their lives, always attempting to LOOK as though they aren’t rushing.

    I really feel as though I’m watching from the outside of all this – being older gives you a kind of freaky view since you can remember days that were NOT like today! Talk to some seniors! We aren’t just taking up space on the planet but the more and more the internet grows, so does the gap! A real shame the voices of experience are being left behind. There is a general consensus among many of the seniors I know – there is a real dark side to the internet – and they don’t mean porn! It’s replacing human contact and reducing people to communicating in tweets. The saddest part of this is that people think its fun and hip. They are easily swooped up into it, leaving “real” life for those of us old enough to remember what “real” life really is!

    To answer your question does the internet change the way I read – nope! It has made it easier for me to look up the answer to a question faster than going to the reference section of the library but that’s about it. As I’ve said, I cut out reading so many blogs to concentrate MORE on the ones I really resonate with and who respond to me. AND I set a time limit to my time on line lest it eat my “real” life away.

    Thank you for the opportunity here to speak my mind. I may be older but I DO have one!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Suzen,

      I hear exactly what you’re saying as I’m not THAT many years away from being a senior myself.

      You raised a good point. To those of us who are older, we have seen what’s happening with technology and how it can have advantages as well as be a detriment.

      What you mentioned about the experiences and knowledge that older people have being left behind is true. But on the flip side, I’m thinking that could also be an untapped “market” (for lack of a better word) for someone (or many) to pursue. i.e. interviewing seniors and helping them tell their stories, share their observations, or even helping them set up their own blogs. It’s the seniors who built this country and when they’re gone, much of what that know will die when they do. I know you agree with me when I say that will be a real shame.

      I’m so happy you’ve found that balance you were looking for, Suzen. As much as technology has brought us bloggers together, remembering we have a real life to live is most important.

      Thank you for raising this issue Suzen. It’s one I also have interest in. I’m guessing we’ll expand further on this in the future.

  20. Interesting topic! I do read very differently online and offline – scanning online, reading offline. A great title is important in making me want to read, but I still scan!
    .-= Check out vered | blogger for hire´s awesome post: I Suck At Personal Blogging =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Vered,

      That’s true. A great title can help to grab out attention. Then it’s up to the author to keep us interested to the end which isn’t always an easy task.

  21. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I wanted to come back today and let all your readers who wandered to the Harvest Potluck that we did it! $1k for 1000 reads of the ecookbook for UNICEF…
    I wrote a big thank you on my post for today…FYI

    Thank you to all of Barbara’s readers who looked at the cookbook…
    Unicef appreciates the funds also.
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: 1,000 Thank Yous =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I know! I read how you made your goal and then some. That is SO exciting.

      What you did is awesome Patricia. There will be many children thanking you for making sure they don’t go hungry. You rock!

  22. Hi Barbara,
    I have absolutely turned into a surfer, especially when I’m looking for research items. This is so different from the research I used to do back in college. I haven’t lost my ability or joy for diving into a good book, though. Hopefully that will never change!
    .-= Check out Jodi at Joy Discovered´s awesome post: Planting Seeds for the New Year =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jodi,

      I agree. Researching online is a lot different than what we learned prior to the internet.

      I don’t think you’ll lose the joy of diving into a good book as long as you remember the pleasure you get from it. I don’t know about you, but I think there is something to be said for how a book can bring out all of our senses.

  23. Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

    I am a fast reader, books, magazines or blogs, I always scan first and then will read it more in depth when I like what I see.

    New technology always has people worried until we find ways to deal with it more appropriately and then something else comes along to worry about.
    .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: Don’t let change in your circumstances fool you. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wilma,

      How lucky you are to be a fast reader. With that ability you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time which can be very beneficial in blogging.

  24. HI Barbara,
    I agree with you and Nicholas…we have been majorly googly brained….and i will add wiki brained to that too…:)
    How i realized this was recently while my hubby and I were having a heated discussion(which we often have 😉 ), we both actually bet each other on a particular fact. He said he was right and I stood my ground. The final winner was him, cause he googled the fact and proved me wrong and on my insistence he probed further by wikiing the fact. In a more normal way I would’ve taken sometime to check the fact out in my gigantic collection of encyclopedias(which r in boxes, since my relocation)!
    As for reading…yes, many a times i wonder how many people are actually reading my blog..or just coming by to view. What on earth is holding them on to the page.
    But i still love my books…and i still read my books…even in this day and age of kindles…i love the feel of a good book in my hand 🙂
    .-= Check out Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s awesome post: The Decision To Be You =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Zeenat,

      Hopefully you’ll win the bet next time. 🙂

      That’s true though. If we want to do fact checking it’s as easy as going online. As long as we’re using a reputable site, we can find the answers quickly.

      Yes. There is something to be said for holding a real book in our hands. Kindles or the internet just aren’t the same.

  25. I think blogger still read thing but the average internet user don’t. They don’t want to read long topic. They love to get things as soon as possible. That’s why it becoming hard to take regular browser stick specially on general tech related blog.
    .-= Check out Arafat Hossain Piyada´s awesome post: Extract Frame From Gif Image Easily With Animated Gif Frame Extractor =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Arafat,

      You raised a good point. Bloggers may spend more time on a site. For one, they might know the blog author and secondly, even if they don’t, they still may take the time to read and subscribe knowing what goes into producing posts.

  26. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    As always, one to get me thinking.

    I don’t let my kids head over to google automatically, but they’re thriving at school because they both enjoy reading. Both will get engrossed for hours in a good book, and for now, that’s enough to stop me worrying. Their teachers all say they’re very discerning as well as being aware of others’ needs in class. Teachers also observed that they’re kids who enjoy dialogue and communication, something google doesn’t offer, but well meaning reasonably informed parents do. They don’t use twitter or facebook either, still preferring to play football or sit and chat or play music with real friends, learning basic skills like reading body language.

    I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m trying to build foundations.

    As for your question, what captures my heart, not my attention, is the person behind the post and what they’re offering that makes my world a better place. I read all lengths and all sorts of posts. I don’t write blogosphere-friendly posts, but those who read my pieces all the way through, even if there’s only a handful of them these days, add something special to my life and make me feel it’s all worthwhile.

    Although I always read your posts because they’re information and dialogue rich, what got my attention in this one was that you requested something from me and I was happy to have the opportunity do what I could in return for everything you’ve given me.
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Angels at my Table =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Janice,

      I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and comment. I realize we’re all busy and sometimes just don’t have the time to stick around. And with the holidays, we all have lots more on our plates.

      You’re teaching your children well. With the foundation you’re giving them, more than likely they’ll continue to enjoy reading as they mature.

      I like what you said about it being the person behind the blog that captures your attention and not necessarily the post. That’s very true. In blogosphere we meet so many wonderful people, by reading their work we’re showing them we care.

  27. PeggyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Google knows everything…or does it? I’ve gotten hopelessly lost on the back roads in my tiny little state of New Hampshire because Google gave me directions that got me within five miles from where I should have been without a clear way to get there. I drove in circles for 2 hours, gave up, went home and read a book instead.

    Seriously, Google has turned me into a “shoot and scoot” internet reader. I look it up, get in , get what I need and I get out. Sometimes I think I have Internet ADHD.

    But give me a good book and I can lose myself for hours in Philappa Gregory’s court of Henry VIII or Marianne Williamson’s wisdom on Change.
    .-= Check out Peggy´s awesome post: The Independence of Solitude =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Peggy,

      Unfortunately it appears Google (and other search engines) knows more about us than we’re even aware of. We see evidence of that when crimes are committed and computers are confiscated. In some ways it’s scary, but for us bloggers, we make the choice to get our names out there, so that’s part of the price we pay.

      I hear what you’re saying. When we do a lot of searching or researching, it’s easy to jump from site to site until we get the answers we need. I agree, it does resemble ADHD.

  28. Hi Barbara,

    As a result of my education, I had to train myself to read a lot of material within a short period of time. Speed reading is something that comes naturally as a result of all that training and I am so grateful for it.

    My desk has stacks of magazines and books. I usually read about two books at a time. I alternate between the two and I love it. I think people are becoming dumber as a result of the Internet. I agree with what Suzen said and I am in my 30s. People have become lazier and as a result, people want things given to them quickly without much effort.

    As for blogging, I used to write short posts and it frustrated me because I never could go in depth about a subject. Finally, I cut back on my blogging schedule and started to write longer posts. It made the whole process much more fun. That said, I have no idea if people really read what I write and I am cool with that. I just know that my conscience is at peace knowing that I am putting my best work out there. If one person is moved by something I write then my goal was accomplished. Quality will always out run quantity.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Confessions of an Air Head =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia,

      I’m impressed with your reading skills. Although I’ve tried to speed read, I haven’t conquered it yet. I’m guessing it’s not something that can be learned without extensive practice.

      Quality can win out on blogs posts. There are some topics that can’t be written in 400 words or less, and by you covering your subject thoroughly, you’re not only being true to yourself and your convictions, but you’re producing posts your readers have grown to love.

  29. You make a great point. We should be keeping our readers engaged throughout the whole article or video. This is not easy. Never was and never will be.

    I’ve been trying various mediums to keep things interesting. I’ll use video, with text and images with text. It’s helped, but I still need to do a lot of work to improve my engagement.
    .-= Check out Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s awesome post: Yelling Only Makes Your Mustache Look Uglier – Cartoon =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Karl,

      That’s true. It’s not easy to keep a reader engaged from the beginning to the end. Like you said, it takes work. But with time and practice, I think we all become better at producing content (video or text) which will hold our readers attention.

      That’s the great thing about blogging, we’re constantly learning.

  30. George AngusNo Gravatar says:


    Yet another beauty, Barbara. I don’t think the internet has changed the way I read the internet. I also don’t think it has changed the way I read otherwise.

    For me, it has a little to do with design and a LOT to do with the title.

    Just like processing the new books at the library. If a title catches my eye, I’ll pick it up. If then the cover wows me I’ll open and read the jacket. If it sounds interesting, I’ll probably read the book.

    Same stuff applies. Great titling and design intrigues the reader to open the door a bit further and step inside.

    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: Flash – Orb Chapter Two =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you George,

      I agree. A great title can get us to at least take a peek. Then if we like what we see or read, we’re likely to stick around.

  31. Just this morning I was hit with an abundance of realizations that came inspired and uninvited after reading deeply into a book that make me really think. I could not have gotten that by reading online. There is a scared connection between author and reader that a book frames much better somehow. I think it’s the honor of setting aside the time to pause and go deep.
    .-= Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s awesome post: First Comes … The Courage To Listen =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom,

      I hear you. Like you said, when we set aside time to pause and go deep, we can end up with revelations we wouldn’t have necessarily gotten by reading online.

  32. To me, the ever expanding blogosphere has changed our blog writing to accommodate the trend towards quicker reading. I think it is getting very important to say as much as we can in as few words as possible, to hold readers’ attentions.

    I notice that your posts are generally shorter than they were a year ago, Barbara. You have honed your craft a lot, and any blogger who hopes for longevity will most likely follow suit.
    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s awesome post: “Inner Productivity” by Christopher R. Edgar — A Gem Of An Excellent Book =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jannie,

      What you said is very true. As bloggers we do need to think about our audience and what they expect from us. Some blog(ger)s can do extremely well with lengthy posts, whereas on this blog, shorter posts seem to resonate better with my readers.

  33. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I tend to see two common patterns of readers — simplifiers and maximizers.

    For simplifiers, I optimize for scanning, take aways and quick up front value. For maximizers, I try to elaborate as needed but push that down versus front-load the posts.
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: What 25 Holiday Classics Teach Us About Life and Fun =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      That’s a fabulous idea. Knowing we have readers that will scan our material, why not make it easy for them to do so. In the end, I think they appreciate it and are more apt to visit more often and possibly even become a “maximizer”.

  34. “i read it ‘somewhere’ online”…sound familiar???

    I agree with this post 100% even the title is in line with the subject matter

    that’s why i’m spacing my post lol

    by making my content spaced out like this and more like bullet points has improved my responses online.

    my opinion? technology speeds everything up and we subconsciously feel as though we have to move faster whether reading, typing, talking (geek lingo) or thinking

    we feel as though why spend a lot of time on the site we’re on when the “next” site ill be the one we’re looking for as far as content

    maybe we should write all of our pages and posts in shorthand and slang

    just a thought ;-]

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Your Blog Mojo,

      What you did with your comment; spacing it out like that, did make it easier to read AND has that element of intrigue. Great idea.

      You could be onto something. Technology is “suppose to” speed things up, thus we may be led to believe, like you said, we need to move faster while online.

      Making ourselves aware of what we’re doing is probably the first step in slowing down so we can enjoy what we’re reading and not be thinking about what we’re missing.