The Wikipedia Effect

I subscribe to the paper. The Star Tribune to be specific.

Some people might find that peculiar since I’m a digital marketer, I blog, and I pretty much live online (so much so that my husband comments about my tweets sometimes).

Despite those things, reading the newspaper is one of the highlights of my week. It’s a time I dedicate to catching up on local and national news. In fact, it’s something that I have been focusing on making time for, which is connected to the ‘Relax Project’ which is a whole other blog post.

While reading the paper over the past year, I realized that it has everything to do with actually consuming the content I’m reading. I can say that because I noticed that when I read the news online, I no longer read.

Seriously.

When I start reading an article, I’ll keep clicking through to others. I’ll start on email marketing tips and end up on the Wikipedia page of Princess Diana followed by the history of batteries. What? How did I get there?!

Who hasn’t done that?

In fact, I’m not even sure most people that are reading this post will get this far. Think of all the Wikipedia pages that you’ve scanned only to mindlessly click on related people and links contained in the text and body of the content. Sure, it’s usually good for search engine optimization and linking to resources that people could use, but think about how much time we spend just scanning and trying to absorb content that is just passing us by from the click of our mouse.

When I take time to actually read, I learn and absorb.

When I try to consume and read as much as possible… I get nothing. When I take time to read, one article at a time, I’m able to absorb, recall, and reuse the information that I gather from the articles.

So next time you’re mindlessly clicking through news sites or Wikipedia, stop and think for a second on how you got there… you might take a minute and learn something.

What have you been taking time for? What has that time taught you?

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