Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thoughts on skimming

Stop, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Windows, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

School, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are some photographs taken today. I spent too much time in a car.

Thanks for the comments on skimming, that is, the behaviour of "Google generation". Before yesterday, I hadn't really looked at the Google Analytics statistics of this site, and it was interesting to ponder them.

By the way, these definitions of skimming are what I was aiming for: 1. To move or pass swiftly and lightly over or near a surface; glide. 2. To give a quick and superficial reading, scrutiny, or consideration; glance: skimmed through the newspaper.

Coming back to the Google Analytics statistics of this site, 22.2% of all visits come from visitors who did more than 200 visits here during the last month. That is quite a lot of activity. There seems to be a "fat tail" of visitors who come here regularly. Of course, another matter is whether these statistics can be trusted at all.

On the other hand, my Finnish language blog is visited quite seldom, and that is quite natural as it is my notebook of observations, for example of books I have read, and not written to engage the audience. However, on that blog there is now a steady stream of visitors with very specific information in mind, namely book titles and authors. Usually they don't spend much time on the site - a couple of seconds - but sometimes they really dig deeply into the postings.

I did some more reading on "Google generation", a.k.a. "digital natives", that is those of us who grew up using the net. Earlier this year there was an interesting conference titled emtacl10, and in the keynote presentations there were little gems here and there, short summaries of key topics. Here are some:

  • the web has become a global laboratory for communication and sharing
  • community is the new content
  • specialization: do what you do
  • in an environment of scarce attention high transaction costs equals low/no availability?
  • the Internet makes everything available, but mere availability is meaningless if the products remain unknown to potential buyers
  • data designed for appropriation
  • a widespread change in behaviour takes 5-10 years to become mainstream
  • open education - the idea that the world's knowledge is a public good and that the Web provides an opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge
  • find, reuse, remix
We are living in a time of change. But hasn't it been always like that?


Anonymous said...

I drop by to look at the pictures, which I really like, and to keep track of what's going on in Finland, which I remember fondly from a Baltic cruise taken some years ago.

John Strong said...


Didn't skimming sort of start with cable tv and the need of some to change channels constantly in search of that elusive "something worthwhile to watch"?

In truth, I guess I skim the internet too, but I like to say it's because I find reading on computer monitors too much of a strain on my old eyes; I need reading material in printed form! Sometimes I'll save off something interesting on the net (e.g., the Strobist lighting tutorial pages), print them out and read them at my leisure. Less strain.

Entrertaining photos, as usual...


Juha Haataja said...

@Anonymous: Thanks!

@John: Yes, channel surfing... or is that the right term? Or printing material: I have found that this is often a kind of "learning by osmosis": you print out stuff and then never read it, as if the information would be absorbed just by existing in printed form.