A Lesson in #21stCenturyReading: Being ‘Readable’

In the #teachread project, we have each set up a particular social media venue (we are new to) through which we share and interact with others regarding the YA books we are reading. For instance, even though I have this blog, I wanted to try microblogging and set up a Tumblr site called Part-Time Harlemite. My posts there deal with my reading of The Absolutely True Diary of  Part-Time Harlemite by Sherman Alexie, as well as issues of teaching and learning discussed in our Teaching Reading in ELA course. This post is a cross-posting from that site. 

Through this we are studying what it means to read in the 21st Century: What do we read? How do we make sense of it? When do we read it? What do we do with what we read? 

My first lesson in using Tumblr in my inquiry into reading in the 21st Century was not the one I was expecting. I quickly learned that reading in the digital age not only means equal amounts of writing, but making my writing ‘readable.’ I put ‘readable’ in quotes because I don’t mean ‘legible.’ Rather I mean making the writing palatable to a wide range of potential readers. Here are some of the keys I’ve learned. How to execute them on different platforms, I am still figuring out.

What is a Readable Blog?

  • Easy interaction:Tumblr comes set up for reblogging, but not for interaction. I, and many others I’ve spoken with, want to interact with ideas, not just read them and repeat them. Dan Pontefract in a recent blog post, defined social media as a connector—of people, ideas, and content—rather than a source of those things. Reblogging allows ideas to move, but not for ideas, people and content to meet.
  • Bite-size pieces of information: Reading on the web is as much a visual as a linguistic activity. I often read about the vapidity of social media, implying that because information comes in snippets, lists and/or limited characters that the ideas across social media are light in terms of content. Rather, they can be incredibly complex ideas skillfully written in concise and dense packages.
  • Trans-friendly: I need readers and I need to people whose work I can read. We find each other not just through searches within Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc. in which we are composing, but rather through other interconnected social media. My titles need #hashtags for Twitter. It needs a Google+ +1 button and a Facebook Like button. And then I need to make sure my posts roll out to those venues.
  • Here’s where you come in… What other aspects of a post makes social media ‘readable’? 

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