Monday, October 19, 2009

Unscientific Survey: Do you read or scan online?

It wasn't the first time I'd read this, but I saw again over the weekend (this time in the Wilson Quarterly... in print) another reference to research which has determined that people tend not to read online -- not in the same sense that they would read a book or other printed material -- rather, they tend more to "scan" -- picking out words here and there, hand always on the mouse, ready to click away when the next 'ding' sounds, announcing the arrival of new email.

I know I prefer to read on the printed page. The screen is harder on my eyes. And... well... I do flit a bit, sometimes, while on line. I have to set aside time and make an effort to read longer pieces.

(And I wonder why I have only a handful of regular readers?)

Anyway... today... the floor is yours: Do you notice any difference between reading online and off?

Assuming, I guess, that you do still read offline.

Explain your answer.

(Quickly! Before the next 'ding' sounds....)

8 comments:

Steve Skinner said...

In both cases I skim but I am more likely to read more in depth off line. It's just easier on the eyes.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i don't like to touch newspapers because they get my hands dirty looking so i like to read online. plus i am a germaphobe anyhow and my computer is MY computer hence MY germs thank you very much. and magazines? i'll only touch those if they are "virgins" (no other hands have messed with them) and i tear out all the perfume thingys and toss them out because i HATE perfume, then i take out all the little cards that fall on the floor and toss them out, THEN i look at the magazine. tmi? ha ha ha

smiles, bee
tyvc

Dave said...

I scan until I find something I want to know, then I read. If I need to do something with what I find, I print it.

Statutes and case reports, if they make the cut for being potentially useful, get printed, then read then considered.

I waste a lot of paper.

Shelby said...

Offline - I read novels, books. Not newspapers.

Online - I read newspaper articles and blogs.

dick7517 said...

I scan on line and read off line

Jeni said...

I guess I would rate myself as more of a scanner. I read online and I read newspapers, magazines, used to read a LOT of books but just haven't seemed to be able to find the time for the book reading over the past 18 months or so. (I've read maybe 3-4 books in the past year which for me, is a pretty low figure.)But I often tend to "scan" print things the same way I do online reading -a bad habit and I blame the local newspaper for that as there usually isn't all that much in the way of "News" in our local rag most of the time so I just flip through it most of the time. Wonder what all this means though in the grand scheme of things?

Cristina said...

I think I read the same on and offline.
If I am reading a newspaper or magazine online or offline I scan through until I find something I want to read.

tiarac said...

In my humble opinion, books are for reading, and online blogs/sites, usually, are for scanning. There are a few exceptions for this, i.e., looking at historical photos, etc., but I primarily use the internet this way. (Yes, I'm old...but not that old [51])! You nailed one reason people don't literally 'read' online----they're waiting for the next best thing to come along and have an attention span of about -1 with their hand on the mouse. They're poised for movement away from anywhere they're at online. Also, reading on the monitor is really too hard on the eyes. If I want to ingest an idea, envelope myeself in words, make a great mental escape, I read a book. If I want short and (realatively) easy thrills, I hit the blogs and sites.