How do you get your content?

Derek Mehraban's picture
Instructor
6/8/2012
Blog, Social Media

Consider sharing it with your friends.

It can be argued that these days people are too busy to sit and read posts and they tend to skim the content more often that not. That is one of of the reasons Ross Johnson suggested in hist rules for writing blog posts to use subheads, and quick paragraphs, so people can skim and get the information quickly.

How do you read blog posts? Social Marketing Insider argues that skimming content is the way to go. What do you think?

Comments & Feedback

Student

Since I typically only read blogs that are interesting to me, I typically read the blog posts in-depth. However, if it is my first time to that particular blog, I will first skim through all of the subheads or tabs and see which ones I want to read. After a period of time, I usually will end up reading a lot of the posts, even if they are not recent. Like I said, if I am interested in the topic, I will pay more attention to the blog.

Student

I use the tool BlogLovin' to keep track and stay up to date on all the blogs I follow. I definitely would say I skim through the content of most the blogs I follow. That is why I love the BlogLovin' Tool because it always me to read through the titles of the most recent blog posts, helping me decide if I want to read the posts or not. Even by skimming through the content, I still believe I get the information that I am looking for when reading my daily blogs.

Student

For me, when I read the blog post, I mostly only read the title first as other people may do. However I starts to read only first paragraph and the last paragraph of the articles on blog that ususally shows me a cause and the results. I do not read all of the blog in this way, but somtimes I just want to skip some sentences that's why I uses to skips some paragraphs to reach the results.

Student

Honestly, when I read blog posts, I really feel like I read the whole thing.  It may be true at first, however, that I just skim through the content, to be sure that its worth my time and attention to read it.  Once I decide that it is, though, I read through it word for word.  Apparently, I'm the minority, though-  It appears most people are "skimmers", so to speak-they like to skim through content and only read important-seeming tidbits, such as captions under photos.  I personally feel like I base what blog posts I read on the search engine results page, moreso than my judgement on the blog after "skimming it".

Student

When I read blogs, I definitely skim the content.  I usually make an effort to read the first paragraph to understand what the following blog post is about, but for the rest of the blog I skim.  I think most people skim when searching for content because it is the fastest and easiest way to go.

Student

When it comes to reading blogs, I tend to skim the headlines/subheads before I read any further. This is how I read many things when looking for a specific answer.

Student

I skim!! Not because I'm too busy, but because it's mostly just clutter. I agree with Ross, subheads and quick paragraphs are the way to go, but isn' that old news?? Billboards, print ads, commercials- 8 words or less, simple content, new 5 second commercials.. People are impatient no matter where the advertisement is. Internet and new technology has made things so instantanious, why should people expect anything less? If the eyes see it though, it will be read. It's the brain's habit to do so. But it's more than likely that it won't be more than those first 8 words- the rule of thumb when it comes to writing billboards. That being said, billboard messages recieve a much higher reach and frequency than that of a message posted on a social media site and, I think, have a much better opportunity of being viral.

Student

Whenever im reading a blog post i do tend to skim through if it is long. I feel that blog pots should be short and informal, if it is too long i probably wont read the whole thing and just look for points that draw interest to me. I prefer to skim content to look for what information is relevant to me. I, personally, would be too busy to read a blog that is way too wordy. 

Student

Skimming through articles is what most people do because people are just not pateint these days, and unless they see something that sticks out, people are always going to begin to skim. For me, this applys for when I read blogs. I like to skim through blogs and if I start to read something that is very interesting and sticks out to me, I will then go back and start to read more indepth throughout the post. That is why I am true beleiver is blogs that get to the point, and do use subheads so we know what we are getting to. It comes down to pretty much judging a blog by how long it is. If I see a blog that is really long, and I beleive that most people will also, skim and miss much of the information that the blogger whats people to read. But, if there is a blog that is short and cuts to the points and does not drag, and also having every sentence very juicy at the same time, people are going to read it from word 1 till the end. I do beleive there are rules that people should stick by when writing blogs, and length is forsure an important rule, along with subheads. The more you drag on about a blog, the more of an audience you are going to lose because people will just skim, and then not enjoy it.

Student

When I read blog post, I am an all-out skimmer.  I will go through the content and if something catches my eye, I will stop and read it thoroughly.  I would agree with Ross when he says subheads and quick paragraphs are the way to go.  This is because skimming through a post and being able to read the stuff that is important to you is vitally important if you want people to read your post at all.  Having a long paragraph or two in your paragraph is not always bad, but putting your point near the beginning of the paragraph will allow people to decide very quickly if they want to read the remainder of the paragraph.

Student

When I read articles on the internet, I do skim through them. Short brief paragraphs allow me to read the full article, but not lose my attention. For example, when I browse Reddit and a post is too long, I just move on to the next item on the front page. The ones I click on most have creative titles about personal anecdotes. I don't think people are too busy to read long articles, but something about the beginning of the article, or the title, has to be worthwhile enough for the reader.

Student

Reading is a favorite pastime of mine, so I carefully chose the right environment to do it.  I don't read online because I think web content is meant to be skimmed.  When I skim, I'm looking for the main idea, and supporting details.  Images and color are important, however, if the content is well written I will print it and share it with others regardless.  In addition, I don't like being on the web for long periods of time.  I much rather print good information and discuss it over coffee with a friend.

Student

This generation is an information age, however, the overflow of information sometimes makes null information. Since people has limited time and resource, they have to skim most of them until they find something really worth reading. However, when applications can help to categorize the information ahead. Even though so of the reader might said there are too much choices to choose, however, customers tend to raise their own habits and preferences. So in this case, when compile jobs were well done, people might not just skimming the subheads but in-deph reading.

Student

I do believe skimming content is the way to go. It is difficult for people with high demanding jobs to have a lot of time to sit and relax and read a lenghty blog. It's vital that the blog catches ones eye at the beginning to hook them and hopefully the reader will want to read the rest. If not, its important that the blogger puts the most important information at the beginning so people can get the jist of it without having to read the whole blog.

Student

As a college student with a short attention span I tend to agree that skimming is on the up and up.  When I read online articles or blog posts I am usually on reading something if it cathces my eye witha good headline or an interesting picture.  If you can have something in a post grab the readers attention like headlines and pictures the articles are sure to get more traffic and the blog more exposure.

Student

I agree for the most part! I love to skim through quickly, and if there is something that catches my eye, I'll slow down to read the whole article. I guess the writer just has to account for those people that skim, and try to hook them in. 

Student

I'll admit I'm the biggest offender of skipping and skimming around blogs, many times at the cost of context and deeper meaning. The Shift+F on my computer must be two of the most worn down keys on my keypad. I am a procrastinator and most of the time I need the information I'm looking for as fast as possible. When it comes to novels and other enjoying activities I sometimes remember the parts I like the best and skip to them. I think it's a matter of preference.

Student

I whole heartedly agree with skimming content. While I'll be the first to admit that I've missed a few important details when skimming in the past, I believe that skimming is becoming the way of the world. It's not as though the people of today are solely impatient and they can't take time to appreciate a good article, but moreso that the fast pace that accompanies today's lifestyle cannot afford to waste time. Decades ago, you would read a newspaper while on lunch, or when you got home from work. In our time, media and information is available to us 24/7- but it comes at the cost of having to squeeze it in between the daily tasks we originally had to seperate it from. The majority of people don't have time to take an article slow AND stay productive. With subheads, quick paragraphs, and condensed articles, skimming can allow for media use and productivity.

Student

Yes I do believe that skimming is the new way to read articles, I don't really agree with it but prople seem to expect to get the information quick with out finding out about the whole article. The problem that I seem to find is the author or the person sending the information tends to ramble on with either their own opinion or information that holds no value to the topic this is annoying. I want the facts and the stories basics then form my own opinion from there.

Student

I prefer skimming a article before I read it because sometimes it is just not exactly what I wanted to be reading. Once I skim a article then I know rather or not I really want to read the whole article or not. Subheads I agree help you get another understanding of the article so it would be in the writers best interest to make a interesting subhead so that it will interest the reader. Skimming is the way to go and the way I have always went when it comes to reading any long material before I decide to get too into the reading itself.

Student

I definitely skim when searching for content. When I come to a topic or information I’m looking for then I slow it way down, take notes and move on. After this I formulate into my own words and thoughts. I also tend to write the way I read. So, one or two paragraph stories are the sizes I work with. Something read in a couple minutes. I agree with Ross Johnson whole heartedly.

Student

Whether I will skim the post or not depends on the complexity of the topic of the content. For some posts, the content is very simple, and I can understand it when I skim. In this way, I think it is ok to skim the post. But for some posts, the topic is very complex and the content is difficult to understand when you skim it. For example, when I have statistics class, I serached some terms that I didn't understand and got some results in blog posts. For this post, I read it really careful.    

Student

Skimming is definitely the way to go for long posts. Either I’m lazy or don’t have time. I simply want what I need from the information without taking the time to read it all.

Even for shorter posts, the first sentence has to be interesting and engaging, or I may turn away. This makes it key that the blogger is a good writer and can pull you in and keep you intrigued. That’s a lot to ask, but if this writer can’t do it, another will.

Subheads and lots of spacing make all the difference in how much time I will spend reading an article. If a writer knows how to draw you in with the white space on a page, that can really add emphasis and interest as well. All in all, skimming is what I do.

Student

I think it depends on the article. I can see Ross' point on sub-heads. I have been known to use the "command+F" search function to find the piece of an article I need but I definitely miss out on other material I probably would've read through if it was under a bigger sub-heading. 

Student

Having a great blog title will automatically draw people to your blog. I personally think without a decent title you will lose a lot of views which we know is the main goal of a blog to get a audience. I also agree with the skimming aspect skimming content is the easiest way to go because you save time which we all know is important. Therefore I believe skimming material is perfectly fine in my eyes.

Student

I usually read blog posts, but I wont read posts that are to cluttered and long.  I think the best blog posts are the ones that you are able to skim and get all of the information you need.  The best bloggers out there know how to write in a way that it only takes 30 seconds to a minute to get the information.  People are to busy to take even 5 minutes out of their day to read a blog posts, so bloggers know they have to be quick yet informative with their posts.  

Student

I feel as if skiming a blog post is fine as long as you get the info you need from it. But if its something in heavy detail that im interested in. I have no problem reading a long blog post if i know it would benefit me

Student

I think that the posts that are written for people to skim, will probably be skimmed by the masses of people read it. I find that if something has short, choppy paragraph I don't really read the whole thing and just scroll from paragraph to paragraph. I kind of like having longer paragraphs beacsue it flows better for me. In my blog, I guess I have a mix of bigger paragraphs and smaller ones to balance each other out so to speak. In reading blog posts, I tend to comprehend posts that are more textual and written like something that will be read, something written like a newspaper article. I'm usually torn when writing blog posts for myself becasue I naturally write in longer paragraphs and that's sort of taboo in the blogging world. If someone is interested enough to go to a blog for something, then they're probably interested enough to read the entire post so writting so it can be skimmed seems pointless to me.

Student

I think that writing blog posts geared towards the "content skimmer" is definitely the way to go. Since there is so much content out there, readers will skim the post to pull out keywords and phrases that they're most interested in in order to determine if the want to dive further into the content. I've noticed that I personally respond very well to bulleted or numbered lists of content items, or posts that tell me they're going to talk about "5 tips for..." or "7 ways you can.." When I see lists and numbers, it sets parameters on how much content there is to digest and then I'm much more likely to read the entire thing. Here's a post from CoppyBlogger explaining why lists posts work to grab attention in a world full of content made for skimming.

Student

I fit the definition of a skimmer to  a "T", I browse content mainly by scrolling through pages reading headings and titles, proceeding to read the posted online content only after a heading has been effective at picqueing my interest. A picture/video will sometimes catch my eye but even then, it is still up to a combination of the headline and captiions that will determine if i actually read the artivcle word for word. I have to be captivated or otherwise I simply cant afford to grant complete attention to every posting, unless it is related to a subject matter for which i have vested interest.

Observing this fact from a blogger standpoint, i begin to see how important  it is to properly orient content so that it can captivate readers and garner attention, and at the same time.make sure that the idea can be communicated through headlines and captions, so that a skimmer can get enough information to get the point of a post without having to read it word for word

Student

I almost always skim throught the content of my favorite blogs. This is because all of the information on the page can make the page seem text heavy. I don't read everything on my favorite blogsd either. Only the posts that stand out to me are worth my attention, everything else gets skimmed through. I mainly skim through blogs simply because I really don't have the time to read other blogs right now. From what I've noticed, I'm more prone to read a blog that's ordered nicely. The closest example I can think of is an outline for an essay. Blogs that follow this type of format tend to have the most pertinent information be the headline. The text that follows the headline is usually conversational yet to the point. The text is also light, there isn't a lot said, yet everything said works. Blogs that are set up to be skimmed through are a God-send because they allow me to look at them, get all the info I need, and still do my other tasks. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like this. .Quite frankly, skimming is the most efficient way to read a blog. Bloggers that make blogs that are to be skimmed are doing their readers a service.

Student

When it comes to reading articles online, or anywhere really, I tend to skim through them.  I'm just not patient enough to read through the whole thing and it isn't an issue of having time because I have plenty of it.  I generally skim through an article and will stop and really read the parts that I am actually interested in, so for me headlines and subhead lines are wonderful. They make it easier for me and others to understand what the article is about and get the information I want or need with out reading the article in full.  Today people lose interest so fast that headlines and subhead lines are pretty much a necessity if you want to keep your readers. 

Student

It really depends for me. When I am trying to learn something I tend to avoid skimming so that I can digest as much information as possible. However, when looking for just one simple piece of information, I love the command-f function on my mac. I just punch in the word I am looking for and bam.

Student

It really depends for me. When I am trying to learn something I tend to avoid skimming so that I can digest as much information as possible. However, when looking for just one simple piece of information, I love the command-f function on my mac. I just punch in the word I am looking for and bam.

Student

I'm deifinitely a skimmer too. When I need information really fast, I just skim through posts and get what I'm looking for. Although, if it's a blog I regularly read, and I really enjoy the writers style, or I read it for pleasure, I read through the entire thing. I think the same applies for me and newspapers and magazines. Unless it's a really good editorial, I just skim trough it, because I don't have hours to read newpapers or blogs. Because of this, I really enjoy blogposts that have lists in them and many headers and subheaders. 

Student

Skimming is the new thing! I am a skimmer. If I can't find what I need in the first few sentences I will move on to the next articles. The first few sentences should always be the attention getters. If I am interested in what I first read then I will read the whole article. I think this will help writes become more detailed and learn to explain thing in a short amount of time with a lot of flavor to keep their readers coming back.

Student

I agree completely with Social Marketing Insider that skimming is the way to go. I know when I read I skim to find the part that I want to read. That is the reason I clicked on that blog in the first place. I know when I write my blog posts I make sure that I break them into multiple paragraphs so my readers know when a new thought has come on.

Student

I think that skimming blogs is very okay. I personally read blogs for enjoyment and I do not anticipate long content. If I come across a blog thats too long, I typically would not read it only skim for things I find enjoyable. 

 

Student

I was not a true blog user back then so I do not know how they get content but the way I see it these days I usually look at the photos they upload and if it interests me I would go into the paragraphs and read about it. I think blog is kind of online version of megazine or newspaper when either the headline or photo catches my eyes I would show interest and look into that certain article.

Student

I've never been into blogging before, I have friends that are into it but I never got involved till now. When reading things online I am definitely a skimmer. I'll look for interesting words or things that catch my eye. If they interest me I'll go back and then read the entire paragraph or the whole article. Pictures help a lot, they allow you to create an image of what the author is trying to portray without investing too much time into reading. However, if I am looking for something in particular, or find something I was looking for, I'll appreciate more text and detail.

Student

When I read a blog or an article online or elsewhere, I definitely do skim, especially if I am looking for a certain point or piece of information. This causes me to consider what would keep my attention longer.  I am definitely more inclined to read deeper into the story if there are intriguing or interesting looking pictures. A video clip or related article link would also catch my interest. I try to keep these things in mind when writing my blog post. 

Student

Personally, I like to gather information by reading text rather than watching videos or viewing images. Videos and photos are great assets to add to blogs, but the reason I visit websites in the first place is to read content. My goal is to learn something new and/or be entertained. That being said, the way that the text is set up can make or break a web page. If there is too much text and large paragraphs, I am automatically inclined to leave the page I am viewing because it is too overwhelming. When paragraphs are short and to the point, skimming becomes unnecessary. I can quickly read through the page and in a much more organized way. Also, the type of font and font size can be really destructive if it is difficult to read. Bottom line: less is more.

Student

This is my frist blog that I have created so I would say I do not have much experience with blogging. Although before this class I have read many blogs, many of them however were photo blogs relating to trend ideas and musical interests. When I have read these kinds of blog they are normally upon a topic in which I am interested in or I would not have visited the blog. On these blogs there are things that I do not find interest in so I just skip right passed and read the next thing that stands out and that I find interesting. Skimming is just a normal habbit of mine when reading anything that I do not find interesting.

Student

I'm not really a big blog reader to begin with, so I would definitely say that I'm more of a skimmer. Unless it's something that I'm really interested in, I usually read the headings and a few sentences to get the main points and hit the back button. My favorite kind of blogs are those that have a picture to go with each point that the author is making, even if the text is longer. I find things easier to read and much more interesting if I can visualize what they're about.

Student

Finding the "right" blog for you is hard enough in the highly saturated blogosphere. Hence, I think that perpetuates and justifies skimming. There are a few blogs I read each day because I enjoy the topics; but, when looking for a specific idea or opinion on a topic, I am much more likely to skim through the blog content. I think media and section headings are a great way to engage the audience. If I see an image or a video that I find interesting - I will look at those and read the comment. If I found the media useful then I will go about reading the entire blog post. I think one thing that separates a true blogger from an amature is the length of the blog post. It is a skill to write concisely and with purpose - and I am usually seeking out a blog that can give me the answers or entertain me quickly. I don't want to have to read through jumbled thoughts or content that has not been written with the reader in mind. 

Student

I read blog posts through Google Reader, allowing for a skimming approach through all the content in which I'm interested being collected in one easy-to-use feed. This method of skimming is extremely useful for a number of reasons:

  1. Google Reader allows for easy organization- The feed system allows for simple marking of posts that you've read or are yet to read. Additionally, if you come across a post you don't have time to finish or want to re-read, there are easy and convenient ways to save the posts for later or file the post away with notes about how it was helpful. In the process of skimming, having an organizational system like this is extremely valuable.
  2. Google Reader can expand what you read- By profiling the blogs and websites to which you subscribe, Google Reader can come up with a list of similar blogs and websites that may be of interest. They also have hundreds of pre-organized groups on a wide range of topics (television, World of Warcraft and many more) if you're interested in a topic and want a sampling of information about it.
  3. Google Reader has extensions that further improve its usefulness- With the additions of extensions, Google Reader's utility can be extended beyond what it offers to begin with. One example of this is a Firefox extension that highlights which posts that come through your feed that were particulalrly popular, making your skimming of content even more streamlined and efficient.

Google Reader has made my skimming of content into a much more efficient system, so I agree that skimming is the way to go when it comes to consuming your online content.

Student

I have to say I am absolutely a skimmer. There is so much to read online, skimming just makes things easy. I skim pages regularly until I come across something that catches me eye.  I can definitely appreciate articles with subheads that can help me find the information I'm looking for. For me, skimming makes going through pages I dont want to read much easier and less boring. While I normally skim, there are definitely instances where I will read all the content, especially when it is on something I have interest in.

 

Student

With all the content, blogs, and social media channels out there the only way to ingest them is to "skim". Before you can know if something is credible or worth your time you have to sample the content. I constantly research things, read articles, and look for new websites and blogs. The only way to get through it all and really have a handle on what else is out there is to skim a little of everything. If I find something I really like, or full of many good resources, sometimes I'll go back and re-read it more carefully. But often, just skimming is enough for me even if it is good content. Simple, concise and straight to the point is the only way to make print these days. Attention spans are dropping and instant gratification is increasing. If you can't give people what they want right away and grab their attention than you've lost completely.

Student

I'm a skimmer when it comes to reading content I'm not interested in reading. I look for key words, and then try to put the gist together. When its something that I am interested, based off the title, I'll spend a lot more time reading the whole thing. Quick paragraphs are important for skimming, as is the inverted pyramid style of writing that journalists use. Get the important stuff into the first paragraph of the piece, and the less important stuff can come in later. That way, even people pressed for time can get the main information of the article. Blog posts are a little different because its fact and opinion based, so who's really to say what information is important, but I still try to get my main point across early.

Student

Having one of the shortest attention spans myself, I am definitely guilty of "skimming". As horrible as it sounds I must agree that blogs or articles with coloful pictures or quick jokes will engage me far longer (at least a minute) than a dull factual account. I think this is reflected in the popularity of Twitter. Essentially condensing a joke or comment into 140 characters, a bite-sized nugget of information, so we can skim, enjoy and then move on. This is useful when faced with the enormous amount of information that is on the web. We simply don't have time to read through it, skimming is essential!