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LIS 768--Participatory Services and Emerging Technologies--Social Reading Research Paper

LIS 768--Participatory Services and Emerging Technologies--Social Reading Research Paper

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Published by: Allison Mary Mennella on Jun 13, 2011
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05/19/2012

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 Running head: SOCIAL READINGSocial Reading and LibrariesLIS 768: Participatory Services and Emerging TechnologiesAllison MennellaApril 29, 2011
 
Social Reading, Page 1
 
 Introduction
 
The amount of time people spend reading and writing has almost tripled since 1980.Currently, ordinary citizens are composing and consuming over 1.5 million blog posts, andcollectively writing 12 billion quips in the form of text messages on their phones
 per day
(Kelly,2010). Because we have evolved into a culture that shares everything from our current thoughtsand feelings, to our specific location, reading and writing have become collaborative, communalactivities, increasing people¶s engagement with information and conveying it across severaldifferent mediums both on and offline. Social reading is a natural extension of the type of reading we have been doing since the early days of campfire stories, however, these previously³casual conversations´ about books are now being moved to the online space where they havethe infinite possibility to blossom into something richer (Esposito, 2010).As a society, we have transitioned from reading mainly on paper, to reading on screens.As this transition intensifies, most of us will begin to read more in terms of quantity, but inshorter intervals, and with less dedication (Anderson, & Rainie, 2010, p. 16). Social reading,however, combats this problem by making content meaningful, thus increasing people¶sengagement with text and strengthening the reader¶s ability to convey and share information as awhole (Anderson, & Rainie, 2010, p. 18).This essay seeks to define, describe, demonstrate, discuss and determine the future of social reading. The essay will begin by offering explanations and examples of social reading, itwill move on to discuss the various forms of social reading (traditional book clubs, online booclubs, social media platforms for books, and eBook reading) before concluding with personalobservations made during my journey exploring social reading in its different facets. The lastsection of the essay will discuss the role libraries should play as facilitators of this phenomenon
 
Social Reading, Page 2
 
 before offering predications, suggestions and final thoughts on the current and future trends osocial reading. What will hopefully manifest in this easy is the observation that social reading isnot a new concept, but one that has been redesigned by the advantages and availability of Web2.0 tools and concepts.
 Pa
rt 1: Defining ³Soci 
al 
Re
a
ding´ 
³Social reading,´ as a concept, is actually quite simple: people want to share what they haveread with other people and receive feedback about their thoughts and ideas. Technology is thegreat enabler for social reading, and the natural place for this activity to cultivate. We have become a society that ³values sharing our collected thoughts and observations´ (Johns, 2010) We post status updates on Facebook, share professional articles on Twitter, check-in to locations onFoursquare and blog about our daily lives, professions, passions and more on a multitude o blogging platforms. We value feedback and confirmation; even criticisms are welcome in our increasingly social-sharing society. Reading socially is only one aspect of our desire to connectwith people over a common topic. If ³the point of books is to combat loneliness´ (Johnson,2010), and if ³reading a book should not be a passive exercise, but rather a raucous conversation:(Shores, 2011), then the idea of ³social reading, ³in all its various forms should be an encouragedactivity in our daily lives.Social reading has several key characteristics. First, social reading is an extremely publicactivity. Gone are the days of ³selfish,´ private reading: reading alone in the bathtub, aloneunder the covers, alone on the couch, alone in the park, etc. Social reading exists because of theinteractions between two or more persons and the text, whether in-person or digitally. Second,social reading extends the reader¶s experience. It takes the reader out of the book and

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