Reading: From Solitary to Social

“Think about the value of being able to talk about a book while you are reading. You get to a paragraph and love the way the author has described an event. Or, you are shocked by the actions of a character. Instead of waiting to talk with someone else at work the next day about the reading, you can actually talk about it at the moment you are reading and thinking about it. If a friend happens to be reading the book at the same time, you can even have a real-time conversation as you are reading.”

This is taken from a short blog post regarding the social aspect of reading, an aspect that is not actually new, but has risen in popularity with the advent of “screen-reading”. I think it’s interesting how the online, “social” aspect of reading is being compared to book clubs, library discussions, and other interpersonal discussions about books. Is it really the same? I think that to a great extent the use of digital technology might help evolve concepts and ideas that would have initially been disregarded. This means, of course, MORE INFO. Too much info?


One comment

  1. I think social reading is very much like the traditional book club, in fact the traditional book club is social reading without the electronic technology. The book club offers a sense of community, it is a place readers can reach out to discuss and evaluate what they have read, and to learn how other readers feel about their thoughts and ideas. Both are done in group settings to encourage a human connection to consider and perhaps debate what they have read.

    The biggest difference between the two, with the exception of the electronic technology, is the demographics of the readers. In a post on Tame The Web, (found on the fourth page of a Google search), Dr. Michael Stephens states that the typical book club member is generally female and either sixty-five years old and retired, or a middle aged stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately this leaves a lot of folks out of the picture such as younger readers, and working adults. This is where online social reading excels.

    People all across the reading spectrum now have access to online social reading and the community sense that comes with it. The eReader gives readers the ability to publish comments for the world to see, as well as to read and comprehend what others think of their interpretations. Even though both forms of social reading definitely enhance the reading experience and make the book more memorable, it is the mix of visual and audio interactions of online social reading that can give the reader a deeper understanding of the text. Of course if a reader chooses to hang on the couch in solitude with either an eReader or a primal book, that is just fine as well.

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