Michael Hyatt’s Paper Fetish

Ok, my title’s not really fair. I love Michael Hyatt’s blog. He was the CEO of Thomas Nelson (a book publisher), and now he’s an author, speaker, etc., and writes good stuff that makes you think.

But making me think and agreeing with him are sometimes two very different things!

For example, take his latest post, Why the Best reading App Available Today is Not What You Think: 4 Scientific Reasons Paper is Still Superior to the Screen.

I don’t completely agree with his 4 points. Here are his points with my thoughts added:

1. Memory – Michael claims that “we orient ourselves differently on pages and screens” and provides his experience of remembering where a quote appears in a physical book. His “proof” of this is a very interesting article from Scientific American, and his own experience.

The article’s interesting and makes several good points. But Scientific American isn’t hardcore science – it’s pop science driven by popular culture. Two very different things.

Michael also mentions that he sometimes remembers quotes by remembering physical aspects of the book. I’d say that’s just how his brain works. Thinking and learning styles vary greatly.

For example, when I read something, I see a movie in my head (yes, I’m one of those). If I want to remember where something in a book, I need to start thumbing or scrolling through to get context, and then I can quickly find what I’m looking for. But not by remembering something on a printed page.

2. Comprehension – Michael states that flipping back and forth in a print book helps with comprehension, and that process is harder on a screen. And then he claims that things written for a screen are “not designed for deep, thorough reading.”

On the one hand, this is apparently a thing. I’d say it’s a thing we’re used to, so we’re really talking about that rough transition from print to digital again. But I’ll agree with him.

On the other hand, the research that Michael links to for this point isn’t as useful as you’d think. The researchers compared reading comprehension of 72 10th graders in Norway. Half of them read print texts, and half of them read PDF versions of the texts on a 15” computer screen.

For starters, 72 10th graders is not a comprehensive study. Secondly … PDF files on a small computer screen? What did the PDF files look like? Why didn’t they compare print reading to reading on a tablet or at least an ebook reader? They have apparently recently done a study using paper texts and iPads, but that research hasn’t yet been published.

Comparing printed texts to a text read on a small computer screen doesn’t seem very comparable to me.

3. Distraction – When reading electronic texts, Michael says “Suddenly, I find myself checking Twitter or Feedly and breaking my concentration.” OK, that can be a distraction, and print books don’t have Tweets popping up all the time.

This point speaks more about the individual than any real research, I think. Or maybe the material being read! I know that when I’m reading something interesting, whether that’s on a screen or on pulp, I’m focused. Not a problem.

4. Immersive engagement – This is really a rehash of his 3rd point, with another mention of those 72 Norwegian teens. Heck – trying to get a teen to listen to you for 5 minutes is hard enough. I can’t imagine trying to get them to take an immersive leap into a PDF file!

Remember – just because a popular blogger like Michael Hyatt says something is true because it’s “scientific,” that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

Two more really interesting articles on this topic:

  1. E-Readers Don’t Cut Down on Reading Comprehension – from the Smithsonian. There’s a LOT more to reading comprehension than whether the words appear on paper or on a screen.
  2. Don’t Be Misled about Paper Versus Electronic Books – from Psychology Today. Again, the debate is much more nuanced than paper vs electronic. Definitely read this article – the authors make the case that rather than debating the merits of print or electronic, just get people more access to more books so they can read more. And who does that best? A library.

Image of Michael Hyatt from his Twitter account. Go follow him!


Ideas from Platform – the wrap-up

My last three posts have been about Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Great book! Go read it.

There were a TON of great ideas on how to build a platform in the book – well worthy of reading, digesting, then figuring out how to adapt those ideas into an organizational, library setting. It can be done!

Here’s what I wrote about:

  1. Building a Wall of Fame
  2. Content is Not About You. Ever.
  3. Is Privacy Really Dead?

Have you read the book? I’ve love to hear what you found interesting. Please share!

Image from Michael Hyatt’s website

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World #Blogworld

blogworldPresenter: Michael Hyatt

Was CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a very traditional Publisher, he realized that someone needed to figure out new media, so he jumped in with both feet. Nice – more leaders need to do this!

All the world’s a stage – William Shakespeare… and it’s very true today!

164 million blogs. Wow. 1 million new books published last year. Youtube content … etc. point – there is a LOT of noise being created.

You need a platform. A thing to stand on so you can be heard.

Today’s platforms are made of people. Fans, friends, followers.

He started a blog in 2004, mainly to help him think (he thinks better when he writes).

His blog traffic jumped up hugely. 1st four years, he didn’t have much blog traffic. Huge jump in 2008 (from 700 to 20,000 unique visitors). In 2008, he decided to become consistent – two posts a week.

Thought Twitter was silly, but got his family to join, so he cared about who he followed. And he made his executive team sign up.

Most people quit right before the inflection point. So keep going!

Has a new book out – Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Three Benefits to having a platform:

  1. Visibility – provides a way for others to see you
  2. Amplification
  3. Connection

Build Your Platform:

Plank 1: Start with Wow. The gap between someone’s expectations and experience – that’s where you deliver the wow.

But – balance that with shipping. Consistently deliver your product (be that writing, podcasting, etc). Just do it – even if it feels like it’s not the best thing there.

Plank 2: Prepare to launch. It’s a process, not an event. You are the chief marketing officer, and you have to take responsibility for the outcome. Don’t abdicate. If you are a book author – you are in charge. Blog? You are in charge. Etc.

Plank 3: Build your home base. Social Media Framework.

  1. Need a Home Base – a place you own and control (i.e., my blog is my Home Base).
  2. Second element – embassies – social media services that you don’t own or control, but you put regular content there, and send them back to your home base. He has primary and secondary ones.
  3. Third element – outposts. He uses Google Alerts for this. He listens, and answers those questions when needed.

Plank 4: expand your reach. Interruption based marketing (traditional commercials) is dying. Marketing today is sharing. Sharing what you are interested in and passionate about. HE sees a dip in traffic and engagement when he talks about himself.

Plank 5: Engage your tribe. Gave some examples of tribes – Dave Ramsey fans, Harley Davidson fans. Keep comments open. Don’t use those captcha things that are hard to read … don’t make it hard for people to comment.

If you invite people to dinner, and then don’t show up? That’s weird. If you respond to every comment? Also weird.

The 20-to-1 rule. For every withdrawal you make, you need to make about 20 deposits…