Read, skim, or skip?

About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how following other blogs is key to building community in the blogging world, and yet it can potentially take up so much time that it’s impossible to stay on top of it all and still have any time to work on our own writing projects (not to mention little things like eating, sleeping, and saying hello to our friends and families). You can check it out here if you’d like.

Since I wrote that post (which, by the way, led to some really interesting input and discussion), I’ve been thinking more about the whole issue. I have quite a few blogs that I follow. Some are by people I feel I’ve developed a real connection with; others are blogs that I might visit occasionally or blogs that caught my eye with an especially interesting post or two. Still, the overall traffic can be overwhelming, between my WordPress feed, my Bloglovin’ feed, the daily email digests, and the Twitters links. There simply isn’t a way to read EVERY SINGLE THING, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I’ve read comments over the past couple of years about people’s blog-reading habits. Some folks say that while they spend the most time writing book reviews, they tend to not read reviews on other people’s blogs. Some prefer discussion posts, some prefer funny pieces, some are all about the memes.

Clearly, not everything is going to be read, or read thoroughly. I’m sure we all have our own approaches to keeping up. I’ve realized that I can divide up my actions into three simple categories:

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So how does it all shake out? More or less, these are my habits:

Book reviews:

  • Is it by a blogger whose work I always enjoy? Read.
  • Is it for a book that I read recently, especially one that I liked enough to want to discuss? Read.
  • Is it for a book that I plan to read soon? Skim. (I don’t want to know too much, but I’d still like the general idea of whether you liked it or not.)
  • For a book that’s completely out of my interest zone? Skip.

Memes:

  • A meme I’m participating in? Read… usually.
  • Top Ten Tuesday posts? 90% of the time, if the topic grabs me — Read. The other 10%? No interest in the topic, so I skip.
  • Weekly reading wrap-ups (like It’s Monday. What Are You Reading or WWW Wednesdays, for example): Read.
  • Book hauls, shelf stacking, in the mailboxes: Skip. I’m just not that interested in these unless they’re folded into some other sort of post, like a reading update or a weekly recap.
  • Teasers, random book excerpts, quotes: Read. I like these little snippets, and I’ve found a few good books through these kind of posts that I maybe might have missed otherwise. Plus (shameless plug here), I host a quote meme (Thursday Quotables! Come check it out!), so clearly I like this sort of thing.

Other book stuff:

  • Cover reveals: Skip.
  • Author Q&As: If it’s someone I’m interested in — Read. Someone I’m not familiar with but who seems interesting or quirky: Skim.
  • Chit-chat or discussion posts related to reading, reading habits, etc.: Read. Usually.
  • Month in review posts: Skip. If I’ve been following a blog, then I’ve already seen all the posts for the month, so I don’t need another post summing up what I’ve already seen.
  • Giveaways: Read. Don’t we all love free books?

Bloggy stuff:

  • Technical tips and tricks, like making blog graphics or cool resources for bloggers: Read.
  • Blogging tips, like increasing traffic or considering self-hosting: Skim, to see if there are some good nuggets in there. Skip, if it’s not something I’m considering.
  • Discussion posts about being a blogger: Read, usually, unless it’s a topic I feel I’ve seen time and time again. Still, it’s always interesting to get a fresh take!

Non-bookish stuff:

  • Personal updates: Read. If you’re a book blogger and you take the time to put yourself out there and share your personal moments or challenges, I want to honor that.
  • Other non-bookish miscellany: Read or skim. I entered the blogging world specifically to chat books, and I’m not terribly interested in branching out too far. Still, if someone I talk books with also writes about other topics, chances are I’ll at least check it out to see what’s going on.

Automatic skips:

  • Anything with GIFs. Sorry. I just can’t. I know, I know, people love these. But they make my brain and eyes hurt, and I just can’t enjoy reading anything with GIFs flashing around on the page.
  • Cover reveals.
  • Posts with hard-to-read fonts, colors, or too many typos.
  • Challenges: I don’t do challenges, and reading other people’s challenge update doesn’t seem all that interesting to me.
  • Blog award posts: I seem to have 5 – 10 of these in my feeds each day, and as much as I may love the individuals, I just can’t read these any longer.
  • Rants about Goodreads, author behavior, and blogging/reviewing politics. There’s only so much time in a day, and I’d rather focus on the positive.
  • Wow, I sound like a total grouch, don’t I? I’m not putting down any of the above, really. I know people like different things, and what’s boring or a turn-off to some may be totally hilarious or thought-provoking to others.

Really, the read/skim/ skip division is the only way for me to keep my sanity and not get swamped with all the keeping up I need to do. So don’t hate me if I don’t read your meme posts or LOL over your clever graphics! I’m happy to be an enthusiastic audience for the posts that grab me… and I hope you’ll read the stuff of mine that catches your eye or strikes your fancy — and skip the stuff that bores you!

What type of posts do you always read? What do you skim? What do you skip?

Share your thoughts, please!

21 thoughts on “Read, skim, or skip?

  1. Ugh, right there with you on gifs. If it’s a blogger I really enjoy I’ll try to read around them as best I can, but if they’re spaced so closely together that I scroll past one and the next is already on my screen, I’ll probably just end up skipping the post altogether.

    • I hear ya. I try sometimes — like you said, if it’s a blogger I usually enjoy, I might stick with it a bit. But in general, GIFs will just drive me away. Same is true for Goodreads – I just can’t read any reviews there with GIFs or cutesy pictures.

    • Aw, thanks! There just isn’t a way to always read everything. But like you said, I’ll put in a bit more effort for bloggers whose work I usually enjoy.

  2. I think my blog reading habits are pretty similar to yours.

    I read everything from certain people, but I probably gravitate towards Top Ten Tuesday, weekly wrap-ups, reviews of books I have read, tags, and personal posts. I skim book hauls and reviews of books on my TBR (I’m always worried about being spoiled). I usually skip anything about books that don’t appeal to me, cover reveals, and blog tours. Non-bookish stuff catches my attention, but whether I read it or not depends on the topic. Gifs don’t bother me when they are used judiciously, but I can see how they bother others and I typically don’t use them.

    I do find it hard to keep up with everything and find myself reading a lot without ever commenting which makes me feel bad.

    • I know, I feel bad sometimes when I read something and then either don’t have time or can’t think of a meaningful comment beyond “great post”. Maybe that’s why I appreciate the “like” button on WordPress so much! I also worry about accidental spoilers from reading other people’s book reviews, so I’m always really cautious about how much of a review I read. Thanks for your comments!

  3. My blog reading habits are almost identical to yours. It is hard to read everything.
    If there are only a few gifs (like 2 max) then I usually can read it. More than that and I am completely overwhelmed and have to click away unless I am really interesting in what I see.

    • Thanks. Your point about GIFs is a good one — one used for emphasis won’t necessarily drive me away. Two… well, it’s iffy, but the rest of the content is good, maybe I’ll keep going. But if it’s a whole page full, I’m gone. It’s funny, it’s such a strong reaction for me, and I’m not sure why, but it’s really an immediate thing that I have to click away!

    • …altogether, and read the last paragraph of a review of a book on my reading list to avoid spoilers but get a general sense of what they thought.
      I’ve centralised all the blogs I follow in Feedly and browse through my feed every night while watching TV during the ads with a goal to comment on at least 5 posts and acknowledge at least 10 (with the Like button or by retweeting ) every day.

      • That’s a really good strategy! I suppose I should make more productive use of my TV time too 🙂 — although I DVR everything and skip the commercials. Hmmm, will need to give it some more thought!

  4. Wow, I really like your post and seeing how you decide what to read, skim or skip!
    For me,
    automatic skips: GIFs, cover reveals, Q&A or interview of authors I’m not interested in, challenges I don’t participate in, book reviews, book haul
    skim: weekly or monthly recap for any new books or interesting posts I might be interested in
    Read: discussion posts, blogging tips, tricks and tutorials. Giveaway, a meme’s topic that i”m interested in and is participating in

    • Interesting! I see there are some things we’re in sync with — but I’m curious, you don’t read any book reviews? I do find some of my best blogging tips from other bloggers, so I always check out those type of posts when I see them, at least to see if they’re talking about something new to me. Thanks for commenting!

      • Well I rarely read book reviews. Coz I’m not too interested. I feel that reading other reviews before I read a book will influence my opinion of the book. For books I’ve read, since I’ve already read the book, I don’t really need to read the review of the book.

  5. Great post……and I did read it 🙂 I’ve only been blogging for about 6 months, and I’m getting ready to write a post about the things I’ve learned since starting. Number one on the list is how much time it takes with all the other things other than writing book reviews! Still working on a system to get it all down.

    • Ha ha, glad you read (and didn’t skip!) I think we all need to find systems that work for us. Most bloggers I’ve gotten to know seem to feel that the time commitment involved in being a blogger was a big surprise, especially when it comes to the time spent on everything other than actually writing blog posts. Good luck!

  6. Great post! Generally if it is a book I have not read yet or don’t plan to, I will skim. If it’s a book I read (whether I loved or hated), I will read to see what that blogger’s opinion was. I usually read discussion posts and memes more than anything else.

    • Very true, I’m always interested to see other bloggers’ takes on books that I really didn’t like, especially when their opinions are completely opposite of mine. It’s quite fun to see how smart people can disagree!

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