Impressions

by Cochran

My Social Media Surprise: More Reading

The use of social media is changing the world.

What? You say you don’t agree? OK, let me rephrase that.

The use of social media is changing my world and here’s one way in which it’s doing so: I’m reading more.

I’ve always been an avid reader. As a kid, I was a bookworm. When summers came around, I visited the bookmobile once a week. (The town in which I grew up was small enough then that we didn’t even have our own library.) Mom would drive me to the grocery store parking lot and wait in the car while I checked out my books for the week. Each week, I’d select seven books since I devoured a book a day. And, I read everything — fiction, nonfiction, biographies — I was interested in everything.

As an adult, I’ve continued to be an avid reader, although I can’t say I’ve kept up my former book-a-day record, even during the summer months. For years, the first section I’d grab form the Sunday New York Times was the Book Review. I still enjoy that section, though I’m reading it online, of course. And, I seem to go in phases, moving from an all-fiction mindset (to “fuel my creativity”) to an all non-fiction mentality (to “learn things”). Deep down inside, I know that whether I’m reading fiction or non-fiction, I’m always learning.

But, here’s the surprise for me. Since embracing several social media tools, especially Twitter, I’m reading more. I didn’t notice an uptick in my reading when the web came along. Even with the ease of researching interesting new books on the web, the frequency of my reading seemed to remain about where it had been for years. But, I am reading more thanks to Twitter.

By following fascinating people, I’m being directed to interesting websites and blogs every day. I think the key for me is the immediacy of it. Though I can’t claim to follow every link I receive, I no longer have to stop at the library, swing by the bookstore or even take time to browse amazon.com. Throughout each and every day, I allow myself to take small, meaningful, productive detours to blogs or websites mentioned by those I follow and respect. And those blogs and websites are leading me to more books — physical books, hardcover books. I keep a running list of what interests me and simply order them online in a batch of 6 or 8 at a time. Since I’m at my laptop much of each day, I still enjoy the physical relationship of reading an actual book (and my eyes do too).

The bottom line is that I’m reading more than I have in a long time. Can’t say that I’m back up to my adolescent record of a book a day, but I’m delighted to report that social media is enhancing my life in surprising ways. Reading more and reading more widely is just one of them.

Have you had your own social media surprise? If so, please share it. I welcome your comments.

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July 2, 2010 Posted by | creativity, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment