When reading online becomes a conversation

By David Camp, SpinSpotter CMO.

I’ve been thinking about the way that we have all been trained to read online content (and any content, whether news or other, analog or digital) in a fairly passive and solitary way.  Even with the advances in Web 1.0/2.0 regarding feedback loops, etc, it is still a small minority of online readers that seem to approach reading as an active, critical-thinking, directly participatory act.

Clearly, the rise of Web 3.0 social media tools can make reading online a completely proactive, multilateral act with lots of feedback and sharing and re-envisioning and re-crafting of original content, completely transforming the way people interact with information on the web.  (It’s no secret that our hope for SpinSpotter is to be among the catalysts that enable this kind of transformation.)

We need to train/remind/encourage each other to approach “reading” online as an interactive act, one that requires critical or active thinking, not simply passive reception of information to consume.  In this scenario, reading becomes something different:  a conversation between a creator of content and one who consumes it.  This is a fundamental transformation of a long standing, hard-wired human behavior.

Regardless of one’s level of engagement or interests, there is an innate human instinct and trait to be critical, but with wave upon wave of ubiquitous media hitting us we’re starting to lose it.

How can we encourage people to be critical and proactive when they surf the web?  To make their voices heard?  Every web surfer (especially those that wield the swords of social media) has the potential to be an agent for change (for whatever change they desire, however frivolous or serious.)

But in order to realize this they have to think differently when they surf the web, and remember that now there are easy, direct means of objecting, agreeing, protesting, recasting, policing, criticizing, sharing, etc, pick your verb, in one’s effort to eliminate the noise and get to a version of the truth about a topic that feels right.


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