Experimenting with Social Reading

I am passionately interested in observing and capturing the way my (and others’) reading habits are changing across the years due to so many hyper-accelerated changes around us in terms of information, communication, technology, and accessibility.

Example: I started documenting My (and mother’s) Life as a Reader (2010) across time (2016). It might be time to post a 2019 update soon…

The notion of traditional literacy is changing in front of our eyes. It intrigues me to experiment with new forms of reading (and writing). I participated in an Instagram books study and wanted to answer questions such as:

  • how does my reading change?
  • how do the contribution of others via the #innovatorsmindset‘s hashtags or comments influence, complement, extend, amplify, change me reading of the book?
  • can I try to amplify my skills and fluency of reflection and metacognition via visuals and videos?
  • how about new forms? new forms of reading, reflecting, connecting, communicating, learning, documenting?

I am intrigued by the concept of SOCIAL READING. Reading, not as a solitary activity but reading as part of something bigger.

When you google “social reading”, you come across a variety of definitions. You will also learn that social reading has been around for centuries (ex. sharing favorite passages of a book out loud in front of a fireplace). What has changed is the degree of amplification that is possible today, due to technology. What has changed is how we can re-define social reading.

But what if one person reads—and then listens to others about that book?
Exactly. THAT is “social reading,” and it too has been happening for some time. Think of classrooms, book groups, scripture discussions, reading aloud, bedtime stories, author events, and literary festivals.

Book Riot

In our hyper-connected digital world, the reading ecosystem is changing, involving new and old players in different ways, facilitated by apps and forums and bloggers and book sites and book retailers. In a 2015 survey of over 2000 readers, 45% agreed with the statement ‘because of social media I read more than I used to’, while half agreed that ‘social media has changed the way I read.

Jericho Writers

Angela Stockman read one of my tweets about social reading and contributed her insight.

I am looking at the concept of “social reading” as reading, NOT as an activity that is being done alone, in isolation, but also as an action that relies on and contributes to the reading of others.

My idea is to have an opportunity to experience and experiment with “social reading”. Here are some questions I have about the concept of social reading. Please share and add your own questions in the comment section below:

  • How do we amplify reading as a solitary activity to a collaborative, crowdsourced and social activity among other readers?
  • How do we become aware and take advantage of reading to be able to add value to others who will also add value to our learning and thinking?
  • How do we read, by keeping curation and sharing of perspectives, connections and information with/for others in mind?
  • How do we create transmedia experiences as a result of our reading?
  • How do we “translate” text based reading into other media forms to support and amplify the content of our reading?

I am challenging you to experiment on your own around social reading. Take a book, such as A Guide to Document Learning and connect to other readers and to Janet Hale and me, as the authors. Be aware of your reading experience. What works? What does not? What are you having difficulty with? What are your social reading skills and fluency?