Following on from yesterday’s post, about the need to be a student and not a sheep, today I would like to focus briefly on the importance of improving our comprehension in the era of information overload. It’s one thing for us to read something of value, but if we fail to comprehend what we have just consumed, we will learn nothing.
I deliberately tend to write shorter posts than many bloggers, because like every professional writer worth their salt, I know the importance of brevity. A well written, short piece of information rich copy should be easy for the reader to absorb. So, that’s what I aim for. However, when you look at the comments on longer blog posts, it shows that many people comment, with very little understanding of what they just read. I get it here occasionally myself. I have had people arguing with me, via comments here, simply because they never took the time to read everything, before commenting. They were arguing with me, even though they were in 100% agreement with what I wrote.
The challenge for all of us today, is that there is just so much content out there. I did a search on Google a moment ago, for the phrase marketing blogs and found mine (on page 1!) with over 90 MILLION other results.
Just 15 years ago, if we wanted to keep abreast of what was happening in business, we had the business section of our preferred daily newspaper and maybe a few industry magazines, which were published monthly. That was it!
Today, there is an almost limitless supply of business information; some good, some not so good, but all vying for our attention. Our senses are assaulted with a seemingly endless supply of must click links via social media too. It’s little wonder people are skimming over content rather than reading and comprehending it. So, what we see right now are people who tend to skim over 50 or 100 articles or blog posts in a day, rather than actually read and think about 5 or 10 of them.
In our desire not to miss anything important, we risk missing everything!
It’s a little like those networkers, who flit from person to person after 30 seconds, because they want to meet everyone at an event. They meet 150 people and yet they connect with no one. Another person at the same event, studies the attendee list and decides to selectively speak with a dozen people. He or she connects with all 12 people and potentially makes some really useful contacts.
For me, one of the best ways to improve comprehension, is to read more selectively. Look for the best sources of information in your niche, read their work and then take time to think about what you have just read and how you can use it. Birds of a feather flock together, so you should find that by sticking with your most valued writers, they will introduce you to new, great writers too. Give yourself a hard limit, by setting your bar high and only read from writers, who regularly deliver the goods.
Replace those who are under delivering, so your list stays fluid, but always focused on what YOU find most valuable.