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Lazy Bastards…

Great article from Slate on how to write online. Terrific tips that apply to everything. I love this notion:

Nielsen champions the idea of information foraging. Humans are informavores. On the Internet, we hunt for facts. In earlier days, when switching between sites was time-consuming, we tended to stay in one place and dig. Now we assess a site quickly, looking for an “information scent.” We move on if there doesn’t seem to be any food around.

The trick is to really understand how users read on the Web. And we really read different. Here’s some terrific stuff for you informavores on eye tracking research.

I’ve also been following Nick’s thinking (and here) on how the online world might be changing how we read. It’s definitely impacting my book reading, which I am just finding harder and harder. Seems lots of folks are forgetting how to read… Is it that Google is giving us pond-skater minds? Andrew Sullivan ponders:

Are we fast losing the capacity to think deeply, calmly and seriously? Have we all succumbed to Internet attention-deficit disorder? Or, to put it more directly: if you’re looking at a monitor right now, are you still reading this, or are you about to click on another link?

For me its an economic issue… Social media is absorbing the time spent in front of a book, TV, or DVD. And the more I use it the more I like the links and connections. The comments. And the community of folks. Its part voyeurism and part participation.

One Response

  1. By Tim Walker on June 26th, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Good thoughts, Andy. The big question this asks of us, I think is this: Can we develop new skills (meta-skills?) that allow us to decide clearly when we should read Web-style and when we should invest the time to read book-style.

    Ideally, we’d ADD the new skills of the Web & social-media realm — because these skills are obviously useful — while also retaining the old skills of book reading, deep reflection, etc. . . . because those skills are ALSO still useful.

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