How to Read a Blog post (and books and stuff….)

Interesting post (based on one of my favourite books which may warrant a re-reading after many years – Adler’s “How to Read a Book” but adapted to online reading) How to Read by Brian Clark:

We know that people don’t read well online. They ruthlessly scan for interesting chunks of information rather than digesting the whole, and they want to be entertained in the process. This is the reality that online publishers deal with, so we disguise our nuggets of wisdom with friendly formatting and clever analogies.
But that doesn’t mean you should read that way.
If you’ve been publishing online for even a small amount of time, you’ve seen someone leave a comment that clearly demonstrates they didn’t read or understand the content. Even more painful is when someone writes a responsive post that clearly misses the entire point of the original article.
While it happens to us all from time to time, you do not want to consistently be one of these people. Credibility is hard enough to establish without routinely demonstrating that you fail to grasp a topic that you’ve chosen to write about, whether in an article or a comment.
Plus, if you’re doing nothing but scanning hundreds of RSS feeds and reading purely to be entertained, you’re at a disadvantage. Someone in your niche or industry is likely reading books and reading deeper to become the higher authority.
For example, next time you read a challenging blog post and you’re not clear on a point, your first inclination might be to ask a question in the comments. Instead, read the post again. If it’s still not clear, go do some research on your own to see if you can figure it out. Then when you finally do ask a question, you’re on an entirely different level of understanding and can likely engage in a meaningful dialogue with the author.

Read the whole thing. Carefully. With focus and understanding. Syntopically (you’ll have to read it to see what it means, then will have to read what OTHER people say on the topic before posting an intelligent comment).

6 responses to “How to Read a Blog post (and books and stuff….)

  1. It sounds good, but for technical forums, blogs or usenet, it fails to understand a key facet of human psychology:
    Experts enjoy correcting those who are clearly wrong far more than they enjoy answering questions.
    Thus the old usenet rule: The best way to get good information is to post bad information.
    It’s best to make a few assumptions, post something wildly wrong, and then come back later and read the corrections.

  2. I will leave you with this offer from Vidoe Jug on how to behave in the net world. A useful addition to the debate?
    Sorry my British humour can’t help it at times.
    Joanne x

  3. Fuck that noise! Read, get angry, post response!

  4. We have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos on the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.
    When we discovered them and how intrinsically edifying they are, we negotiated an agreement with Encyclopaedia Britannica to be the exclusive worldwide agent to make them available.
    For those of you who teach, this is great for the classroom.
    I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.
    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

  5. Oh! It’s not free on YouTube? Nobody will buy it. It is mildly interesting if free, not enough to pay for.