Thursday, March 20, 2014

From Me to We: On Social Reading

Social Reading can be defined as the sharing of reading experiences through electronic means. With ebooks and social media, social reading becomes an engaging discourse of a collective group of people who've read the same books or are reading books that others already have. Technology plays a big role in this shared experience of reading in the sense that readers from varied backgrounds and age group, separated geographically can come together and simply enjoy talking about books.

It doesn't sound entirely new since libraries have been running book clubs and activities that engage and connect readers to the book since when. But, as mentioned above, when technology comes in, the reading experience expands to a wider audience. Ideas are generated. Thoughtful discourse happens. Our brains are sharpened to think in micro and macro levels. We recognize that we're not alone. The "me" time that personal reading affords a reader becomes a "we".

As a concept, social reading is a delightful way of enjoying reading and loving books all over again with people who share the same passion as you.

As librarians, we can participate in the social reading experience by being READERS first. We must read. Period. Format is not a question. Second, we need to be capable of shifting our reading modalities to print and digital formats. Form follows function. This would imply that we need a working knowledge of reading purposes. When do we read deeply? When do we read for leisure and enjoyment? Why do we read at all? What reading devices do we use for deep reading and for light reading. When we're aware of this purpose of reading, comprehension is easier to reach no matter what kind of reading implements we encounter.

Last, librarians need to understand the implications of social reading and the use of technology in facilitating this engagement. It can help us improve our services and define programs that are contextually based on our users. You might wonder what these implications are. Join us then in 23 Mobile Things PH and SG as I'll mentor Thing #10 this coming weekend. There's an online convo being brewed. We'll let you know when it's ready to be served via the website, the Facebook page and Twitter (#23mthingsphsg).

I've identified websites on social reading in the 23 Mobile Things PH SG site, but here are more links about social reading and online book clubs:

ReadUps - create your own reading club where you can discuss books read and recommend some.
Copia - buy and share insights on books read.
Book Drum  - publish book reviews and get comments and feedback; interactive maps and music included in featured book reviews that won awards
Book Lamp - reader, meet your (book) match!
Open Bookmarks - the ins and outs of social reading

Happy reading and see you online!

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