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How do you read the web?

Here are some of my experience dealing with lots of information. How do you do that?

I use Netvibe Ginger to consume most feeds from blogs that I like reading. It helps me with my constant battle with another “Inbox 0” front on my personal email account. By copying blog feed’s urls to Ginger I avoid more emails to clear from my already overloaded inbox.

I have multiple tabs set for grouping my feeds by categories. I don’t visit every tab every day. Some I rarely visit.

There are two blogs I like and respect enough that I actually subscribed to their feeds by email: TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb. In this way I’m getting for sure every day two doses of what is going on in the Internet world.

These two has some similarity but they do not overlap and reading both keep me in the know.

I actually just finished reading The Stats Are In: You’re Just Skimming This Article post on ReadWriteWeb that inspired this post.

This post talks about the way that people read or more correctly skim the web. It quotes stats from Jakob Nielsen relying on a research study done by Harald Weinreich, Hartmut Obendorf, Eelco Herder, and Matthias Mayerto support this hypothesis.

“What Nielson found by analyzing the data in the study was that although people spend more time on pages with more words and more information, they only spend 4.4 seconds more for each additional 100 words. By calculating reading rates, he concluded that when you add more verbiage to a page, people will only read 18% of it.

Some other interesting findings include:

  • On an average visit, users read half the information only on those pages with 111 words or less.
  • People spend some of their time understanding the page layout and navigation features, as well as looking at the images. People don’t read during every single second of a page visit.
  • On average, users will have time to read 28% of the words if they devote all of their time to reading. More realistically, users will read about 20% of the text on the average page…. “

So, how does busy people like us really read the web?

How did you change your reading habits due to the following conditions:

  1. distracted by any mean of communication devices and applications (phone, cellphone, twitter, multiple IM accounts, multiple email accounts, skype, and more)  – one option is to print it and take 2 steps away from the computer
  2. distracted by images, navigation, ads within the blog – this is partially avoidable when using feed aggregator
  3. bombarded with information – see below: Building and associative tag cloud

Here is how I’m trying to deal with too much information: 

Building a personal associative tag cloud

As I explain in the beginning of this post I don’t read it all every day. I just can’t. I skim a lot. I  read a lot of headlines trying to build “hooks”. I’m filling my brain with links so when I’ll next time see something related I’ll stop for a little longer. I make my head familiar with words, names and terms. It is as if I’m building a tag cloud inside my brain and the more frequent the tag appears the bigger the “font” is or in my analogous the sensitivity to a word, name or term. For instance reading TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb over time helps me building an associative tag cloud of companies names, technologies and buzz words. I’m  aware of the fact that the difference between a “real” tag cloud and the one I shape in my head is that it is not just the frequency that count but also other factors like personal interest and preferences. It is also strongly driven by my intentions. Yet, with every time that I skim these two newsletter I feel that I get more out of it. So, maybe it is no longer skimming but more like “nesting”. Filling information and more tags inside the associative cloud. I do fully read some posts and comments:)



So how do you absorb information? How do you deal with all the noise and distraction?


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