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).