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Lazy Reading 2020-12-17 18:06:27

Just like my favorite snacks, I love reading Twitter. I'm not like
therealbrandonwilson
, I actually enjoy visiting -- I have to admit maybe like five or even ten times a day?? -- and just scrolling through. Luckily, my feed isn't too unhealthy. It's exclusively about programming, design, strategy, thinking, and business. Still, reading about these topics is nothing like doing it... and reading about it lazily is definitely nothing like reading deeply about it.

Something about Twitter facilitates lazy reading: that quick-scroll user interaction where you scroll faster and faster until you're reading only half the words in each Tweet before moving on. Sometimes I'll be self aware enough catch myself: are you serious? You don't even have the focus right now to read a full tweet? You're now skimming tweets?? and when I do this I'll actually start small by questioning what my purpose for being on Twitter is. Half the times I'll have no answer to it. I'm just wasting time. So I'll exit. The other half I'll say that I'm trying to learn and in these cases then I galvanize myself into actually reading the tweets. I'll read around three or four threads before  feeling satisfied enough to leave instead of being stuck there scrolling for another 15 minutes.

But what is lazy reading? I guess lazy reading shouldn't even contain the word reading at all. It's the kind of reading you do when you aren't actually interested in what's in front of you. You might fall into it for different reasons at different times, but it's the kind of act that doesn't change you.

I think most of us have books -- or even mere segments of words  -- that have changed us... helped make us into who we are today. And that never comes out of lazy reading. Sometimes I'll read two pages of a book like Nassim Taleb's Black Swan and marvel at how much more time I'd spent that day/week/month on lazy-reading Twitter. I begin venturing into rabbit holes of questioning who would I be if I had flipped the ratio of investment so that I deep-read books Taleb, or Robbins, or Drucker, or Dostoevsky, or Angelou, for just 10 to 15 minutes five times a day rather than going to crank the Twitter slot machine? 

The great irony here is that most of the people I follow on Twitter actually have books or longer form content such as blog posts. It's quite an ineffective to read their daily squabble compared to just finding the latter. But I guess Twitter is less about information and learning and more about being a part of something. I wish that we can build more digital spaces that have a higher convergence on serving these two needs. Learning and Community.


More from Abraham Kim

My experience is aptly covered in the first and second paragraph of this post. 

It's crazy, the funny thing about Twitter is - if you're on Twitter to "Learn", you're likely to get addicted.

I agree we might need to build more digital spaces that have convergence on learning and community. I just believe it will take more than that for such a product to become "mainstream social media". Quora and Goodreads kind of tick off those two requirements. But they both lack the dopamine "swagger" that can make them go mainstream. Twitter's got 280 words, retweets etc.
2020-12-17 22:22:11
As I was writing those first paragraphs I thought of you and me. i was thinking you and I spend way too much time on there. And you know it's kind of fun to be on there and dick around. But I did miss us communicating in more longform. 

like past few months we've had Telegram and Twitter. But I remember when we were first met it was through words and I missed that.

Do you have an example in mind that has mainstream dopamine swagger but also combines quora/goodreads? I don't know one yet.
2020-12-18 15:04:36
I think some reading behavior is influenced by how good the writing is. Bad writing may cause me to become a "lazy reader" or more likely I will just bail. There is also the medium to consider as you pointed out.
2020-12-18 16:15:33