Social Reading – In Search Of Juice

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Social Reading: In search of juice

Reshared post from +Gideon Rosenblatt

On “Social Reading”

How often do you find yourself half reading something, getting through it as quickly as possible so you can find the juicy tidbits that you can clip for your post here on Google+ or on Twitter or Facebook? This is reading as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. This is the dark side of the shared interest graph; the part that accelerates the flow of content beyond our ability to pay real attention to it.

I’ve been thinking about this problem over this last week, when, on vacation, I had web access only via an iPad and my Android phone. I was able to read articles on the web, but sharing them in a rich way was much less convenient than on my Mac.

This was when I really noticed it, this little pang inside, this desire to share what I was reading…to share it before I’d even fully digested it myself.

And this gets me to an interesting interview with +Clay Shirky, where he talks about the future of books and the future of reading. I encourage you to read it yourself:

Clay is talking about a lot of interesting ideas here, but the one I want to riff off of here is the focus on “social reading”:

“Social reading,” the way I’ve always interpreted the phrase, is reading that recognizes that you’re not just a consumer, you’re a user. You’re going to do something with this, and that something is going to involve a group of other people.

He notes that the Kindle Fire, with its improved annotation abilities, is changing the way we use books in this way. And so my riff here is that these kinds of capabilities are atomizing long-form content in ways that make it easier for us to share with others.

Think about it. We very frequently pull excerpts from articles we read, as part of our sharing process here on Google+. But how often do we do that with books?

The future of books is a future where this kind of content isolation will continue to break down more and more. As the traditional publishing industry loses more and more control, the tight grip over content will inevitably loosen. As a result, it will be easier and easier for us to grab pieces of long-form content (what we call books today) and share them with others…just as we do with articles, blog entries and posts here on Google+. We will share more and more excerpts from books…

The question this raises for me is – to what end? Already, I feel increasing pressure to read/skim articles with greater and greater efficiency, as part of the social media sharing frenzy. Books still have a special place for me. I read them more slowly, but that too may soon change as social reading creeps more fully into our consumption of books…

Interview with Clay Shirky found through link from +Thom Kennon.

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  1. +Gideon Rosenblatt Welcome – haven't found the time yet to add my take on this – but I will soon – it's an interesting topic that peaked my interest…

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