But To Read Is Devine

This past week I participated in an experiment put forth by Justin Kownacki and Ian M Rountree called #ReadItAll Week.  I’m not going to completely restate how it works, but feel free to read Justin’s explanation here.  The gist of it is this: take the time to read every single post that comes into your Reader (Google Reader for me) this week and analyze how long it takes you in order to re-assess if what you read is 1) helpful 2) unique 3) educational, or 4) worth your time.

Here’s what I got out of it:

My Reading Analysis

Over the course of the 5 days I had 432 articles or posts come into my Reader by way of my 42 subscriptions or posts being shared.

It took me a total of 7 hours and 30 minutes to read everything that came in. (Mind you, one of my RSS feeds is to my LinkedIn account and there isn’t much reading involved in those updates)

I shared 24 items.

I deleted 8 blog streams.

I added 3 blogs.

So, What Did I Learn?

  1. My first big revelation was that I read too much.  7 hours may not seem like a lot of time when spread out through the week, but I always found myself itching to see if anything new had been added to my Reader.  That 7 hours also doesn’t include the time I read other things like business books (which I finished one last week) and fun books (started another).  Is reading too much really a problem?  I don’t know.  As of right now I haven’t seen it disrupt my work progress, so until I see that, I’ll leave things how they are, because…
  2. I love to read.  That’s another thing I realized.  Most people would cringe at the thought of reading for 7 hours.  I found myself wishing I had more time to soak up more information and stories.  It’s been a pattern all my life.  I was always the kid in school that had a book to read and talking about them (I probably read through the entire Goosebumps series 2 or 3 times).
  3. I put more stock into things I choose than things that are shared with me.  Of all the articles that were shared with me (about 215), I found myself skimming through and re-reading only if I found worth.  The streams I chose to add myself I read each and every article.  I’m not sure what that says of me.  Maybe I’m a narcissist (hey, I’m on Twitter aren’t I?), maybe I have trust issues, maybe I just like the blogs I like.  Who knows?
  4. I read a lot of the same types of things. My Reader consists of 70% social media blogs, 20% movie blogs and 10% random friends’ blogs and general business.  Most of my information comes from the social media sect.  I have tried to include a lot of differing viewpoints within that group, but that fact remains, I read what I care about.
  5. Planning helps. The first half of the week I approached my Google Reader like I always had: throughout the day I would routinely check in whenever I saw something new come up and read it.  That was getting to be time-consuming, so on Wednesday I applied a new approach:  I set aside 30 minute increments (if necessary) 3 times a day where I would go and read.  I found that by planning and scheduling my time I was in a better mindset and took in more information.

Epilogue

All in all it was an eye-opening week.  It’s interesting what you find when you really sit down and take a look at how you spend your time and even more eye-opening when you try to figure out why you do it the way you do.

I’d like to thank both Justin and Ian for this idea and I’ll be looking for new areas in my life I can apply a tactic like this to.  Hey, maybe they are onto something here.  May be I can be better organized…….

…maybe.

Did you partake in Read It All Week?  What were your thoughts?  Maybe you didn’t but are interested now.  Whatever it may be, leave your thoughts in the comments, I love to read them.




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    About Joey Strawn

    Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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    7 Responses to But To Read Is Devine

    1. Susie says:

      I love reading as well and I read a heck of a lot. Aside from blogs I read all kinds of books. (Btw, if anyone has a good recommendation that would help me understand a bit about coding and tweaking wordpress I would love to hear it.)

      Wish I has known about this challenge as it was going on.

      • Joey Strawn says:

        Susie, thanks for your comment! Reading is what gets me through most days, haha. I wish I could help on the book suggestion, but coding is an area where I lack efficiency.

        I’m sure no one will mind of you do your own Read It All Week next week or the week after and write about it. We can start a trend!

    2. So, you shared about 1/18th of your incoming items with others, and I also shared 1/18th of *my* incoming items with others (32 of 560). Coincidence? I wonder if that’s the standard among Reader users, or at least social media-driven Reader users.

      And yes, I’d love to read more too. But, at the moment, I’m not subscribing to anything new, nor am I creating any more time *to* read. Thanks to the variety of blogs I subscribe to, I feel like I have *just enough* interesting information coming in each day. Any more and I’d have to cut something else out.

      • Joey Strawn says:

        If 1/18th is the standard share-to-read ratio among social media types, I’d hate to see how much Chris Brogan reads (as most of my incoming shared articles are from him). I do find it interesting that the percentage is the same though. Do you think it’s the social media mindset and among other groups the percentages increase?

        It’s gotten to the point for me that I’m not wanting to add anything new. I only added the 3 new feeds because I unsubscribed from 8 and felt I could, but I agree with you that there’s only so much you can intake before it all just becomes noise or a chore. (I have the same problem with books)

        Thanks for commenting! I look forward to more engaging conversations with you.

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