Some new books from authors I love have come out recently, but they’ve yet to be picked up as I continue reading with great fascination, interest and, at moments, concern about what life with screens means. (If Emily Posted this Friday will be about some of the tools I’m using to make for mindful screen(s) time in 2013.)
Once upon a time, in our lifetimes, computers were where we wrote papers and letters and printed up dot matrix birthday banners. But, I digress and date myself.
I love what the web has opened up for us, and particularly in the blogosphere, I appreciate and enjoy the unique community it creates. A whole wide world made closer via a web that narrows it all.
My friend Morgan, of The 818, wrote a really great post on her blog yesterday that touched on one of the very things I am becoming increasingly aware of in my pursuit of mindful screen time: the way we think about what we receive online.
She writes about the truncated RSS feed and the various reasons she uses it. I do, too. There are so many reasons someone can choose to do this and some who do it without knowing why. They just click the button in their dashboard.
Here’s my take on it. The blogosphere is extraordinarily unique. Different from any form of writing I have ever done in my 16 years as a working writer. No matter how surface or deeply personal the subject, bloggers are writing for themselves. And the reaction they receive, be it via traffic numbers or comments, is validation. And validation is something we all need in some form.
As users, we take so much for granted online. We get so much information/inspiration/education/sustenance for free from the 1%.
The 1% known as the 1% percent before what we now consider the 1% – creators.
“It’s an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.” – The Guardian, July 2006
(I need to do some research for more data, but I don’t believe the ratio has changed much. In fact, the surge in blogs and the degree with which people share via other SM platforms, makes me believe that the lurker numbers are higher and contributor/commentors are lower than 7 years ago. I’ll have to see what I can find beyond the anecdotal.)
I don’t think it’s bad if people don’t want to read blogs that they can’t view in full in an RSS feed, but I do think it’s important that they understand the many reasons why doing so isn’t really supporting creators. Sometimes that support can be financial. All times that support is emotional.
We skim rather than deep read online. That’s the nature of the beast. But the impatience, the skimming life, I watch how it bleeds over into the real world. Impatience grows. People complain when there isn’t a twitter handle to complain to. When a restaurant doesn’t have a website. When they can’t get what they want as soon as they want it.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I don’t like the direction this is heading. I don’t like that blog reading via Reader breaks a certain connection I believe it creates between blogger and reader. Reader with a lowercase r. But I do love that a Reader or RSS feed allows people to keep up with when someone has posted new content. It’s like hearing the mail truck drive away. You know the post has arrived. Now you have to go and get it.
Again, check out Morgan’s post. It’s good food for thought.