The “Skimming” Experiment

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I have nothing to write about, I think of the craziest thing I could possibly present on my blog, and then I do it.

And that’s what I did with my previous post called: Skimming.

That entire post was a social experiment. An ironic social experiment. Many failed. Many passed with flying colours. It was quite amusing.

Oh, and don’t you dare skim through this post!

Skimming was a post about how people skim read, rather than read the entire text. Then I intentionally wrote a really long paragraph, talking about how people skip over really long paragraphs!

In the middle of that long paragraph, I wrote: “Using one word, tell me your favourite colour in the comments below and nothing else.”

I don’t know, I’d say that is a pretty specific instruction! I put that in there just to see who actually read the entire paragraph.

I got way more comments than I was expecting. This explanation post wasn’t going to go up until tomorrow, but I had too many comments backing up. Yeah, I’m bragging.

The only thing I wanted in my comments section was a bunch of colours. I got many comments of just that.

I also got many comments of people stating their favourite colour and also giving a comment, which I didn’t want at first, but was happy to see. I massively underestimated people’s willingness to engage in conversation, especially after being told to just leave one word.

There were also many comments where people made no mention of a colour.

If you look at that long paragraph, I put some words in bold, five sentences after I gave the instruction to write your favourite colour in the comments.

That was meant to be a temptation. People normally gravitate toward bolded words. I thought if I put some words in bold, in a large paragraph, some people might be tempted to skip right to them. I don’t know if people did; I just know people overlooked my one line instruction.

Then near the end, I said: “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.”

Those four sentences weren’t even me being honest! Those four sentences were supposed to be a wink-wink and a nudge-nudge to the people who read the prompt, while also, hopefully, guilting people into going back to read the long paragraph.

And then the conclusion of that post…

Since when do I ever end my posts with: “Well, I’ve said enough. Leave a comment below”? Never! I always have more than enough to say.

I don’t know. I thought those would be hints that something was fishy.

You all trust me so much!

The first person to provide me with a colour was the third person who commented.

I was literally fist pumping when someone put a colour in their comment.

I decided not to post comments until later in the day, so people wouldn’t be tipped off. In essence, I came off like a jerk for ignoring everyone.

By the way, I really enjoyed all the comments from people who said they read every single word. Yet they didn’t provide me with a colour! You all made me laugh today, thank you.

Please don’t hate me!

In reality, a lot of us do skim other posts here on WordPress. I get it. I do it, too. Some of us follow many blogs and simply don’t have the time to read every single one, word for word. Some of us are just lazy, which is fine.

I just wanted to do an experiment and see how many would notice if I planted a specific prompt in the middle of the post.

The results showed that many people did, and many people didn’t. Or they did, but didn’t know what to do with such responsibility.

As for the people who only liked the post and didn’t comment, I don’t know what to make of your antics.

Y’all better hope I didn’t plant any instructions in the middle of this post, too.

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96 Responses to The “Skimming” Experiment

  1. Little Rants says:

    Nobody hates you. Ugh.

    And this was fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. shubhada says:

    Hahahah. Somehow, this time I was reading your post more carefully. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  3. abcmommyof4 says:

    I read every word of this just looking for the hidden instructions. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy says:

    You got me. I am not very good at paying attention, so even when I do read something, I don’t read every word. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liz says:

    I will admit, I read to entirety but did, in fact “speed read”, for good reason. My boss was lurking around the corner and this job is really my only means of survival. Good excuse, I know. In all honesty, I should get bonus points for the risk I was taking. Surely that has to count for something?!? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? says:

    I would say, your blogging today has been a riotous success Paul. WELL DONE!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jessie Reyna says:

    You kill me. It’s true, I don’t pay attention very well. Way to rub it in!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alexandra says:

    Sooo… did i win anything? XD

    Just kidding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      You’re the third person to ask for a prize! Haha no wonder people commented their favourite colour. They thought they’d get something!


  9. Mindy says:

    Paul, you had your chance to use “y’all” in this post, but you skipped it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. grammyg53 says:

    I don’t get a chance to post on my own blog much any more because I am so busy reading the posts of my fellow bloggers. Y’all lead such fun & interesting lives. Nobody wants to hear about my almost constant trips to Target since I found out that my daughter, SIL and grandkidlings are coming for a visit in EIGHTEEN DAYS!!! Whooo Hooo… I’m one super happy Grammy here!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. alaerembo says:

    honestly….i didn’t finish reading the first post. stopped halfway when i got distracted and jumped to this post because i assumed it most be a continuation of the first which will help me catch up really fast..loooool…but i did read ALL of this post though. lazy enough?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Barb Knowles says:

    OF COURSE I had to re-read this to be sure I didn’t miss anything! And, excuse me, but in the last post you said to leave the one word (but you spelled color wrong) and nothing else. But you didn’t say we couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t then leave a separate comment. I like dogs, do you? On a just slightly more serious note, what I don’t understand is that we know people are “liking” without reading the posts because I’ll get, let’s say 10 likes and 6 visitors/views. HELLO I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING PEOPLE. haha But seriously, should I be flattered because my “like” number is going up or let down because that person didn’t read? (Paul, that was rhetorical. You don’t have to tell me how I should fee lol.) This was a great idea and a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. emmagc75 says:

    Dude u got too much time to think of this shit LMAO!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lol that’s why I put an “…I think.” after I said I read it all, because I really was trying to focus. But I know I subconsciously start to skim sometimes without thinking about it. Should have read it twice 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. sammbastien says:

    Reblogged this on chroniclesofmoi and commented:
    quite clever — i’m bad for skimming through blogs as well… as a matter of fact, i mostly skimmed this one —

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Angela~ says:

    I’m a serial skimmer but I read this one word for word. And AGAIN because of your comment about there possibly being instructions in the middle! Awesome idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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