What Type of Reader are You?

Jennifer FlatenThis post by Jennifer Flaten

For my post today, I’d like to share with you two interesting things I found on the internet. Why? Because I am suffering from spring fever, it is 62 degrees here today and I want to shut off the computer and go outside.

The first one is a blog post by Kissmetrics that I stumbled across today. The focus of the post is how to get web visitors to read your landing page. Whether or not you are maintaining a website with a landing page, I think you will find the information quite interesting.

According to the post, there are three types of visitors the reader, the scanner and the bottom feeder. Each one has a specific way they view your content. After reading this, I realize I am most often a scanner. Occasionally, I am a reader and when I am using the internet to avoid doing actual productive work I am a bottom feeder.

I can’t tell you how many times I tell my husband about something I read on the internet, but when he questions me further about it, I realize I don’t really know anything because I just scanned the article looking for key words. I am also guilty of thinking “I will just come back to this later….and never getting back to it at all.”DSCN0101

Also tying into this was an article posted on the Washington Post site that claims online reading, which involves all that scanning, skimming and bottom feeding could affect “serious reading”.

I consider myself a serious reader and I prefer to do my “serious” reading with paper books as opposed to a digital device.

My personal experience with reading online is that I like it for light things; like headlines, fashion trends and DIY instructions (see above), but if I need to learn something for a class or something extremely complex I need it on paper.

Something about reading on the screen encourages me to skim or drift over the words…that’s not to say that I don’t skim when I am rushing to finish a tense scene in a novel, but I really feel that is a different type of skimming. When I am eager to finish a passage in a paper book, I am skimming but seeing the words…online, I just don’t see the words.

So, online what type of reader are you? And, I hope you found these as interesting and helpful as I did.

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12 thoughts on “What Type of Reader are You?

  1. Jennifer, just yesterday on NPR there was a program (I admit that I was cleaning and half-listening, so I can’t remember the program) about how the younger generation is learning to read and decipher information so much differently than we did, in that they have access to so much information that they tend to scan articles, books, etc. instead of sitting down and taking time to read thoroughly. As a result, young people are challenged when it comes to serious reading, because their minds lose patience to really take in the beauty of the written word. We live in such a information-driven world that it’s imperative to teach our children to slow down and breathe in the poetry of life. Gosh, I even went back to NPR web site and I still couldn’t find the program I was listening to. Did anyone else, per chance, listen to the program yesterday and can name it? The speaker definitely caught my attention because she said children are creating “digital” minds. Hmmm So true. I caught just snippets of this interview, but I identified with it, because so often I have a hard time settling down, being quiet and calming my mind in order to read a good book. I agree that with the internet, we are more or less training our minds to jump, scan and decipher bits and pieces of information. Good post, Jennifer!


  2. Jennifer, thank you for sharing this, fascinating. I think for the most part, I read…period, no matter what the form. The exception, like most I think is when I just want specific information, then I skim until I find it. Doris


  3. Great post Jennifer. I confess to being all three types of reader depending on what it is I’m doing. When researching I often skim until I find the facts I need. Like you, when I’m not doing anything specific I may bottom feed for a short time. But in actuality I am a reader. I love the written word and just this summer put my Kindle down and started reading books in print again. There is something so comforting about turning the page, the smell of the paper and actually holding the book in your hand. That’s not to say I don’t use my Kindle to read, I do. But I would say at this point I’m reading at least 75% books in print and the other 25% on the Kindle. Very interesting information you’ve posted and lots to think about. Thank you!


  4. Very interesting, Jennifer! Online I’m mostly a scanner–there’s just so much. But I love sitting down with a good book–both paper and ebooks–and really reading. Some things I prefer to read in paper books. Other times, digital is fine. But i don’t really like reading on a computer all that much–maybe because I work on one all day long.


  5. Yep, you identified me completely in the three types of reader. I find time is so short that I scan rather than read almost anything. I do better at concentration if I’m reading a novel, anything fiction I seem to stay with longer and more completely. Good topic. Enjoyed reading. Thanks!


  6. Great post, Jennifer. I skim for info from the internet and go deeper when the text is relevant for my needs, but I am a reader and lover of words whether it be on my kindle or in a paperback book. And…if i don’t learn some new words from a novel, there’s an element of disappointment that I can’t shake off.


  7. Depends on what I’m reading, but like this blog, I read because I need to leave a logical comment. Ido the same thing with my husband. I’m like that was interesting, but not enough that I remembered all that I read. I read a lot more, now that I mostly read online or on my Kindle. Cher’ley


  8. What’s kind of funny, Jennifer, is that you wrote this blog post on the Internet for all us bottom feeders. Lol. Being a retired Journalist with nearly 20 years in the field and another 20 years as a technical writer, I long ago discovered that the WWW offered me a comparative cheap way to bring all the world’s libraries to my fingertips. So yes, I do read and sometimes skim lots and lots of news articles. I can get to them without having to subscribe to dozens and dozens of newspapers and articles and put myself in the Poorhouse. Maybe why we see so much stupidity on FB is because most people nowadays are bottom feeders who don’t want to sample the marketplace of ideas, just skim their extreme conservative or extreme liberal sites full of mangled writing.


  9. Interesting post. I’m all three, depending on need. I don’t really like reading on a monitor, and that may be one thing that promotes scanning. But there are also many distractions on the screen, and my mouse finger is just itching to click and find something else to scan. Too much information. I’ve found myself scanning books, and I think it’s linked to the time I spend on the ‘net, and it concerns me. On the other hand, I began a novel by Somerset Maugham on Kindle last week, and realized I was again bottom feeding. It felt VERY good.


  10. Interesting post. I didn’t realize I am a scanner unless I’m doing research for an article. Then when I want to repeat a story to my husband or friend, well…I can’t remember enough of the details to make it complete! Being aware is the first step to change, and I think I need to change a bit!! Thanks for the informative topic.


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