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Old 03-01-2013, 08:31 AM   #31
Bilbo1967
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I hate the modern thinking that seems to be that any activity is worthless unless you let everybody you know that you're doing it. Facebook for your daily movements. Twitter for what you're doing or thinking at that very second in mind-numbing detail, a blog to expand on it all at the end of the day/week, text messaging for inane chatter, Instagram to share boring pictures of it, blah, blah, blah - drives me mad.

And now we can't even enjoy the solitude of a nice read without having to share bits of it?! Well they can all just take a running jump. I'll continue to mention books I enjoyed to my friends, but there is no way I'm going to stop reading to post excerpts that I enjoyed to Facetwitter. Bah, humbug
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:48 AM   #32
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^Agreed. I don't read with wi-fi on.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:48 AM   #33
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You're free to read in solitude all you want, social reading doesn't change anything for you if you don't want to use it. People have always had book clubs, discussed what they were reading. The only difference was that in the past you had to find people who were physically nearby, while now you're sure to find someone on the internet who shares your interest in books. People may share trivial things on sociel media, but they do the same when they talk face to face. If I post about where I had lunch, how different is that from talking in person about where I had lunch?
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:49 AM   #34
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I am unable to socialize while reading. It isn't that I am ignoring you, it is that I am oblivious to everything around me. OK I am ignoring you.
Apache
Ha! This exactly.

Interesting topic. I'm pretty introverted, but I enjoy conversing with the good folks here at MR and on goodreads a bit, so I guess that is social reading. I would never go too crazy with it, though. I'm the type of person who will keep earbuds in while on the exercise bike at the gym or on a plane, even if I'm just reading and not listening to anything, just to reduce the chatter and to decrease the possibility of - gasp! - someone talking to me. My wife calls me "asocial", and I can't argue with that because it's actually a fairly generous characterization :-)
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:56 AM   #35
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I find I don't really care what other people highlight in a book (when I got my Paperwhite, one of the first things I did was turn off popular highlights).
For the most part I agree and do the same thing. However, for a couple of books I had to read in my Masters program I used it to see what others thought about the books.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:31 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
I hate the modern thinking that seems to be that any activity is worthless unless you let everybody you know that you're doing it. Facebook for your daily movements. Twitter for what you're doing or thinking at that very second in mind-numbing detail, a blog to expand on it all at the end of the day/week, text messaging for inane chatter, Instagram to share boring pictures of it, blah, blah, blah - drives me mad.

And now we can't even enjoy the solitude of a nice read without having to share bits of it?! Well they can all just take a running jump. I'll continue to mention books I enjoyed to my friends, but there is no way I'm going to stop reading to post excerpts that I enjoyed to Facetwitter. Bah, humbug
Yes, yes, yes. It seems to be more narcissistic than social, this constant attempt at self-validation. I do, therefore I am.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:51 AM   #37
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It seems to be more narcissistic than social, this constant attempt at self-validation. I do, therefore I am.
I wish I'd thought of expressing it like that - exactly right.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:56 AM   #38
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If I post about where I had lunch, how different is that from talking in person about where I had lunch?
I would have thought that standing on a rooftop with a megaphone and screaming the name of the place you had lunch would be more analogous to posting it on Twitter etc. You're assuming that everybody is interested in your boring life (Not your boring life. I mean that the minutiae of most people's lives are boring in general).

Catlady nailed it - narcissistic self-validation!
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:46 AM   #39
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Apologists for reading as a solitary activity reserved for curmudgeonly recluses are curious. Judging by the responses in this thread, they are not defending an activity so much as an associated personality type. To be a reader is to be a loner.

In truth, social reading has a long history. If historian Alberto Manguel is to believed, even though instances of silent reading can be traced to earlier dates, it didn't become usual in the West until the 10th century. Augustine found his friend Ambrose's habit of reading silently so curious that it merited mention in The Confessions. Ancient Hebrew, the language of the Bible, does not differentiate between the act of speaking and the act of reading. Both are named with the same word, and English retains traces of the overlap between the two in its idioms: we say, "I've heard from So-and-so" (meaning "I've received a letter"), or "So-and-so says" (meaning "So-and-so wrote"), or "This text doesn't sound right" (meaning "It isn't well written"). To read was to speak and to hear.

Even after silent reading became normal, it was still not commonplace. Low literacy rates meant most people's access to texts depended on others reading aloud to them well into the 18th century, which in part explains the success of coffee shops as places of social gathering. The assembly of listeners played as vital a role in reading as do today's movie audiences, whose reactions provide important context for fellow spectators and are an essential part of the experience.

Solitary reading is a historical aberration, not a natural state of affairs. Social reading, if not more normal, boasts at least of a far longer pedigree.

Dismissiveness of attempts to socialize reading are inextricable from contempt for what passes as socializing these days. That is reasonable, but it is confusing two different issues. Everyone should read this short essay by Maciej Ceglowski called The Social Graph is Neither, which argues that online social networks fail at both accurately modelling our relationships with others and understanding what constitutes a genuine social interaction (hint: it's not clicking on a Like button). Attempts to socialize reading to date have also been quite clumsy; few things are more disappointing than checking out a library book covered in highlights and whose margins are filled with cretinous comments. Why should anyone want this behaviour duplicated on books they've bought? Nevertheless, more authentic forms of social interaction abound online, particularly on message boards. Goodreads is a good attempt at creating a social network for readers, but is a better catalogue than social network.

So to the answer the question, of course social reading is the wave of the future. Or at least, it will be a major part of it. We are wired to want to discuss and share our experiences with others. It is natural to want to influence the opinions of those who look up to us and benefit from the experience of those whom we seek to emulate. Now that we have the tools to create virtual communities centred around shared interests, there is no reason why we shouldn't.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:51 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
I would have thought that standing on a rooftop with a megaphone and screaming the name of the place you had lunch would be more analogous to posting it on Twitter etc. You're assuming that everybody is interested in your boring life (Not your boring life. I mean that the minutiae of most people's lives are boring in general).

Catlady nailed it - narcissistic self-validation!
If the people you follow on Twitter post about what they ate for lunch, then I suggest that the problem lies with you. You should follow more interesting people.

Assuming you use Twitter at all.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
I would have thought that standing on a rooftop with a megaphone and screaming the name of the place you had lunch would be more analogous to posting it on Twitter etc. You're assuming that everybody is interested in your boring life (Not your boring life. I mean that the minutiae of most people's lives are boring in general).

Catlady nailed it - narcissistic self-validation!
I made no such assumption. It's not remotely like using a bullhorn. If I use a bullhorn, everyone hears whether or not the want to. I use facebook or twitter, you only hear if you choose to hear. If you don't subscribe to their twitter feed, you remain blissfully unaware of their tweeting about their breakfast. If you don't like what's in TV, turn the channel. If you don't like what someone tweets about, don't subscribe to their tweets.

Narcissism is an empty buzzword. People are just communicating, the only thing that has changed is the technology.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:05 AM   #42
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On a kindle discussion list I follow, we were asked our opinion of social reading. As an introvert, I find the whole concept of social reading to be baffling. I find I don't really care what other people highlight in a book (when I got my Paperwhite, one of the first things I did was turn off popular highlights).

Is all this social reading supposed to make reading more attractive to extroverts ? (Hey, reading is *cool* - you don't have to be a four-eyed geek to like to read!) Is it seen really as a way to sell more books, to hasten new book discovery?

Somehow, being an introvert is seen as being un-American, I think. Is it so in other countries?
You seem very confused about what an introvert is. It doesn't mean anti-social. Here you are socializing on an internet message board, with a lot of other introverts since this means of communication is very comfortable and popular with introverts. Discussing books is not new, only the medium is new and in many ways it's geared to introverts, not extroverts.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:09 AM   #43
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Dismissiveness of attempts to socialize reading are inextricable from contempt for what passes as socializing these days. That is reasonable, but it is confusing two different issues.
(snip with no intention to remove context)
So to the answer the question, of course social reading is the wave of the future. Or at least, it will be a major part of it. We are wired to want to discuss and share our experiences with others. It is natural to want to influence the opinions of those who look up to us and benefit from the experience of those whom we seek to emulate. Now that we have the tools to create virtual communities centred around shared interests, there is no reason why we shouldn't.
I think the issue, for some of us, has more to do with the items that fall under "social reading". Sharing highlights and margin notes is something that would never occur to me. It's compounded by being attached to a specific, proprietary system. As I stated previously, I participate in forms of social reading, but I cut out the middleman (or one of them, anyway) by not involving the ebook / ereader features.

I guess I'm just baffled at how many social reading platforms tout the highlighting / notes as the marquee feature of their offerings. The way I use Goodreads and MR seems more "social" even within the definition of what passes as social these days.

I don't have a problem with today's definition of social. I use Facebook, I have a blog that I occasionally post to, and we all know how much time I spend on MR, and these things are actually great for me, because it takes the pressure off - I can participate as I choose. I love interacting with people, but in-person socializing quickly drains my energy, and I prefer to be alone much of the time. The internet is this introvert's dream come true. Best of both worlds.

In summary - "Social Reading" is often distilled down to center around these highlighting / notes features. That's the part I don't get, because it doesn't seem very social compared to the things I'm currently doing, even by the current definition of "social".
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:45 AM   #44
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I think the issue, for some of us, has more to do with the items that fall under "social reading". Sharing highlights and margin notes is something that would never occur to me. It's compounded by being attached to a specific, proprietary system. As I stated previously, I participate in forms of social reading, but I cut out the middleman (or one of them, anyway) by not involving the ebook / ereader features.

I guess I'm just baffled at how many social reading platforms tout the highlighting / notes as the marquee feature of their offerings. The way I use Goodreads and MR seems more "social" even within the definition of what passes as social these days.

I don't have a problem with today's definition of social. I use Facebook, I have a blog that I occasionally post to, and we all know how much time I spend on MR, and these things are actually great for me, because it takes the pressure off - I can participate as I choose. I love interacting with people, but in-person socializing quickly drains my energy, and I prefer to be alone much of the time. The internet is this introvert's dream come true. Best of both worlds.

In summary - "Social Reading" is often distilled down to center around these highlighting / notes features. That's the part I don't get, because it doesn't seem very social compared to the things I'm currently doing, even by the current definition of "social".
I'm surprised at your impression that the core of social reading is shared highlights and notes. My feeling is the opposite; that it's almost entirely out of sight and mind. I wonder if your impression is more acute among Kindle users than other readers.

In any case, I agree that it's a poorly implemented system whose logic has not been thought out. When a reader highlights or annotates a passage, it is always for personal reasons: to remember it later, to note its importance, to mark it as a personal favourite. There is, generally speaking, no intention of publicizing these. On the other hand, while some readers may be very interested in reading a text annotated by someone whom they respect or find interesting (such as a famous author), Kindle does not allow you to read annotations by individuals. Instead, you get a generic set of all highlights and annotations by the faceless masses, cobbled together using an algorithm that equates popularity with pertinence.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:47 AM   #45
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I recently read a small Kindles Single-type book where, what with one thing and another, just about every sentence had been highlighted by somebody - which made the whole notion of highlights moot.
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