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The Difference Between Things Clicked ‘Read Later’ and Things That Actually Are Read Later: LifeSlackers

monkey reading paper The Difference Between Things Clicked Read Later and Things That Actually Are Read Later: LifeSlackers

Read this NOW.

Yesterday, content-saving service Read It Later—which, like Instapaper, allows you to save the web pages you want to read eventually but don’t have time for quite right now—released a list of data about the most “Read It Later”-clicked authors on the entire whole big bad Internet, which goes hand-in-hand with their celebration of the surpassing of four million users.

But that wasn’t the only list they released.   

Here’s the first one, of those authors who got ‘Read Me Later’d’ the most:

1 saved authors 1 e1323466843427 The Difference Between Things Clicked Read Later and Things That Actually Are Read Later: LifeSlackers

Note:

  • Lots of gadget readers!
  • Lots of tech readers!
  • And a whole bunch of efficiency strategy readers!

 
But why is that chart so much different from this one, which presents the writers whose writing was actually read later?

2 return rate e1323466949285 The Difference Between Things Clicked Read Later and Things That Actually Are Read Later: LifeSlackers

Note:

  • Distinct Voices Win: Deadspin’s crew populates this list more than any other. So do big names, like Bill Simmons, and scandal-driven short-reads that might be a little NSFW (see: Gawker’s Maureen O’Connor). A lot of these writers have a cult of personality; the dedication to them shows.
  • Essayists Dominate: Some things are just better read when you have nothing else to do if only for length.
  • Breaking news writers lose readers: TechCrunch and BoingBoing lose prominence on lists like these if only because the things TechCrunch writes about often lose relevance in the news cycle after only a day, let alone a few hours. BoingBoing, which is usually an early-adopter of news-like memes—or memes that become news, for that matter—loses prominence because the content they start goes everywhere.

 
But really, there’s one very obvious reason why the top of these lists are so different:

Look at the first one again.

Ever been to LifeHacker? There’s a reason people are reading it. It’s a site about making one’s life more efficient.

  • Either LifeHacker readers are doing a great, great job about making their lives more efficient, or
  • Lifehacker readers are doing a terrible job making their lives more efficient. And need to read Lifehacker more.

 
That is all.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think there’s a fairly simple explanation for the discrepancy. I often save Lifehacker articles AFTER I’ve read them, because they contain directions, links, or tips that want to save for reference. I don’t need to go back and read the article again right away, but eventually I will go back to it to refresh my memory.

    Deadspin articles, on the other hand, get saved immediately while I’m at work before someone walks past my cubicle and sees all the f-bombs and NSFW pix. I’ll go back and read those within a day or so, once I’m safely behind closed doors at home.