Skimming

Have you ever written a blog post and wondered if people actually read every single word of it before they like, or comment on it? I do, all the time.

Especially when I post something that is close to 1000 words in length and less than two minutes later I have a notification saying someone has liked my post. Honestly, that kind of offends me.

Then again, I don’t know what the person on the other end is thinking. For me, sometimes I like a post after reading something really good in the second paragraph. What they said was either really funny, or just made me nod my head so much that I couldn’t hold back on pressing like.

Granted, when that happens, I still finish reading the rest of the post because surely it was just that good.

I don’t know if other people do that. I feel like there is a whole lot of skimming going on. And it’s normally reflected in some of the comments people make on my posts.

Or sometimes a post is just so long that people skim through it and try to pick up on big words. Or they only read the short paragraphs and forget about the long ones. Because who likes reading a long paragraph? They go on, and on, and on, forever until the person reading is just too intimidated by a huge block of text and decides to skip over it. Maybe they just skip some sentences, or some lines in the long paragraph. We’ve all done it haven’t we? Skipping over text to get to shorter paragraphs. There is a sense of comfort in short paragraphs. I don’t know why. Maybe we’re all in a hurry and just want to finish reading and get to the climax of the post, or book, or website, or whatever else we might be reading. A big block of text is sometimes like every page after the first page of results on Google. It’s there, but no one ever looks at it. Poor, Google. So many results, so few get looked at. Using one word, tell me your favourite colour in the comments below and nothing else. But sometimes a big block of text can have something important in it and people don’t even know, because they’ve skipped it. It was too long. It wasn’t worth their time. They didn’t want to read it, just like they didn’t want to click on page two of Google for results. It’s sad, really. I mean, words are words. It shouldn’t matter if they’re broken up in paragraphs or huddled all together. My high school English teacher always told my class to “let every word tell”. That’s something I remind myself every time I write. It helps eliminate the useless words and makes every word meaningful. And I think that’s important. Every word should matter.

Alright, that was a pretty long paragraph. If you skipped over it, I don’t blame you. You didn’t miss much, really.

In school, when they gave us time to read, you could always tell who the fast readers were. They were the ones flipping the page, while you were only at the half way mark. And then you got self-conscious. Am I a slow reader? Do I have a learning disability? Or are they just speed reading?

Regardless, I knew I didn’t miss anything. That I read every word. That I didn’t miss any specific instructions. I can only hope there are others that are the same way.

Well, I’ve said enough.

Leave a comment below.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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214 Responses to Skimming

  1. rosie154 says:

    I was the slow reader who also used to read paragraphs over and over as I wasn’t sure if I had noted the “important information”. We are in a world of skim reading and needing to get to the end as fast as we can- maybe it’s evolution at its finest…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dr. Doom says:

    Lol very true, most of us skim thru content and look for the exciting fun stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. datingflops says:

    I read it all. Cornflower Blue. But that’s just me cause I’m a fast reader… and I don’t follow instructions lol 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lol the long paragraph, my eyes started to skim automatically and I thought “No, Rae! That’s what he expects! You MUST read EVERY word!” LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Raymond says:

    Yup I am doing skimming for most articles and I hate reading long ones. They make me feel dizzy.
    You are right sometimes I could miss the important informations within the articles and I do re-read only sometimes. I don’t feel pissed off because of that, at least I have the benefit from it. I try to lure the audiences’ attention to read in any way I can and need a strategy for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      True. I post some long ones (close to 1000 words) a lot of the time. I try and break them up into small paragraphs so it’s more visually appealing and hope people at least get the gist of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Little Rants says:

    I read every line. I hate ‘liking’ without really reading or just skimming. It’s rude, I agree. And very offensive too.

    And Paul? I re-read your posts. Always:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a writer it’s your responsibility to word your thoughts and emotions in a way that do not let the reader to miss a single word and even punctuation! I read in an article that it’s the writer capability to engage their readers till the very end. When I read a post and a find that I no longer understand, I re-read it, if still it doesn’t interest me after I’ve understood the meaning , I leave it there.
    This is a reason why some some books/novels are read more than once and some have bookmarks left in between for days/months/years.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. shubhada says:

    I feel that all the time! My favourite colour is red, by the way. And I think most of the people who ‘like’ my post don’t even read a para of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. belicovaa says:

    Grey 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. freyajay says:

    Green

    Liked by 1 person

  11. grammyg53 says:

    OKay…. so I don’t completely follow instructions. It was kind of funny because when I was exactly reading the part about the importance of just ONE WORD our local television station was reporting on the Scripps Spelling Bee winnerS. There was a TIE again this year! So talk about the importance of just ONE WORD!!! Wow. I wish I could spell like those kids. And you never mentioned pizza, Paul. I am soooo disappointed. And hungry. I could eat pizza for breakfast. Now you’re scratching your head wondering what in the world the coloUr “periwinkle” looks like and I’m NOT going to tell you. You’ll just have to Google it… or, as I do, you could BING it and get points that you can later redeem for cool stuff. But that’s a topic for another post. Phew. I’ve run out of breath here… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I was watching the spelling bee! They were so impressive. I couldn’t believe how they figured those words out. Go get some pizza, sounds like you could use some!

      Like

  12. funsized1988 says:

    Purple lol 😜 I like to think I’m quite a fast reader, I enjoy reading and read quite a bit maybe that’s why? I don’t like an article until I have read it all!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Gaiana says:

    Teal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mon says:

      I always make sure I know what the article is about before ever liking because I am afraid of liking things with dirty stuff, promoting alcoholism, etc 😛 Yep….

      I used to be offended when people liked my posts without even viewing that at one point I hid that option for readers. I soon learnt to see at as their sign of support, their way of saying, “Hey!” haha. But I still try to know what others are saying before liking anything 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I am the slowest reader in my family. Everyone speed reads! I am convinced they don’t read every word, like me. I am also “convinced” they will miss critical detail because if it. Meanwhile, I’m still reading, and they aren’t. Drives me crazy! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Amy says:

    I try to read the full posts if they aren’t too long, although I will admit I tend to skim over the really long paragraphs. I try to break up my writing to make sure the paragraphs aren’t too long but I get long-winded sometimes. I am glad you wrote this, because I am always curious about what others do.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I would tend to agree that one should “let every word tell,” and I’d be curious to know the % of web users that skim, or just “like” for the sake of liking something grew up WITH the internet and mobile apps (say, 20 or younger). I’m almost 30, and I’ve grown up with and seen how the web has changed since I was using a 1200baud modem to connect to aol in like 1991. 😉

    That being said, I’m guilty of preferring short to long form for my reading purposes online. That doesn’t stop me from actually, you know, immersing myself in a good book, or writing a longish blog post. But recently, my content has been intentionally shorter: poems/50 word stories…since that seems to be trending, and, well, people seem to have really short attention spans…even so, I try to let every word tell…

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      That’s true. I think most people prefer shorter posts. Though when they read a long one, they tend to miss a few things because they are skimming through it. Thanks!

      Like

  17. DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? says:

    RAINBOW.

    Actually I said that because I really love all the colors and I HATE to pick favorites in anything. Excellent article. I agree with you Paul. I don’t even click like, unless I have read a person’s article from start to finish. I am a very fast reader, but I also know that I outpace most.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? says:

    Reblogged this on amusingmyselfmusings and commented:
    My bloguddy Paul makes an excellent point with his article today! Well stated!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. wingedprisms says:

    I like what you said about your trip to the zoo………. oops, wait, that wasn’t you.
    Seriously – a great post and I am guilty – I sigh when I see 800+ words on a post…….
    😀
    cate b

    Liked by 1 person

  20. kathleenlynagh says:

    I have some of the same thoughts about reading blogs. Personally, I see blog reading the same as standing in front of the news stands looking thru headlines, until one grabs my attention, then I pick it up and read it. Only difference I can do this at home over coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Jessie Reyna says:

    I am neither fast or slow, depending on what I’m reading I suppose. It took me an entire month to read a Frank Conroy book, not because it wasn’t good or I didn’t like it, it was just a slow read. However, it took me four days to read a Sophie Kinsella book that had twice as many pages.
    But I certainly know what you’re saying. I’m hoping WordPress doesn’t turn into Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yeah, some books just take a long time to read. I can normally tell by how small the words are and how many the author tries to fit on a page. Oh it would be awful if this turned into Twitter!

      Like

  22. Jesse says:

    Blue

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Tony Burgess says:

    I am very guilty of that. I come from the Tumblr world where short posts are the thing. My personal preference is to write shorter posts and more of them. The attention span of people is growing shorter all the time and I adjust myself to that. Writing is important but I am not one that can churn out 1000 words but I sure respect those who do. Sorry about offending you in anyway. Keep on blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      No, I’m offend me at all! Some people post longer posts, some post shorter ones. Nothing wrong with either of them. I happen to like your short posts, Tony!

      Like

  24. rougedmount says:

    read it all….including the neverendingparagraph

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Human Interest says:

    Reblogged this on Human Interest.

    Like

  26. P.S., some of us really read it, scouts honor…. sometimes I “like” before I reach the end though. Hm… my posts go on for eons… I hope some people read before they like. 🙂 I’m sure some do…. right?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. anxietybug88 says:

    Green.

    Now that that’s out of the way, I just love the phrase “There is a sense of comfort in short paragraphs.” If you haven’t reserved that phrase already, may I use it as the title of my autobiography someday? 😛 I often feel like people don’t read all of my content either. I haven’t been blogging as long as you, but I’ve had that happen where two seconds after you post something, there’s a notification of a “like” or “comment.” I’m not sure how I feel about mindless “liking,” but there’s really nothing to be done about it. You can be rest assured, however, that I am a careful reader. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oh man, I might have to go reserve that phrase now! haha. Yeah, unless I write a short post, I don’t want to see a notification in less than two minutes. I feel it just mitigates all the work I put into the post. Thanks for paying attention and commenting with a colour!

      Like

  28. farasamarasa says:

    Haha this was interesting 👌😆

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Karen says:

    I totally get what you mean. I wonder that too sometimes but I guess if they catch the big picture it isn’t so bad? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  30. rebbit7 says:

    Oops, I clicked “Like” before I even finished reading your entire post. I’m guilty! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m like you Paul, I was just commenting to my wife how I can’t wait to go swimming too, and not to mention, trying out my new chartreuse colored swim trunks.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Liz says:

    Thoroughly enjoyable. I often wonder if anyone gives a damn about the words I so carefully pick out. Then I remember that my mother is an avid follower and she reads every word so…I guess that is good enough for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. atkokosplace says:

    I did read every word. If I click onto a post I give the writer my time and attention. Now if I find the subject matter in the first few sentences to not resonate with me then I click away and not “like” the post. But most of what I come across I do give the writer a “like” because I appreciate them taking their time to post something and for the most part I do learn and for that I wish I could “like” twice! I especially try and take the time to read my own followers posts which can be challenging since I have quite a few. Part of that challenge is WordPress doesn’t show every followers posts. Not sure if it’s a programming flaw. Well this was long winded and if you too just scanned and looked of the big words and whatnot, I don’t blame you! 😉 Have an awesome day! Koko P.S. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I definitely read the entire comment! I have the same method as you when liking, or not liking a post. I owe it to the blogger to read what they write, rather than guessing after just a few lines.

      Liked by 1 person

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