Seems accurate that the current growth logic is based on "shares" of a given article/post on that medium. I think you're right that the people who will be interested in Readup will also be interested in trying to explore beyond this logic towards a media site that produces more sustenance than current platforms.
I think the two main questions are how can individuals not on Readup be exposed to the platform as something potentially beneficial in their lives, and how can Readup become a space that facilitates real meaningful conversation about interesting articles.
As you mentioned, a cross-posting option would be huge for exposure. An ongoing survey of user's reading habits could also be helpful not only to find trends which Readup could be helpful in addressing, but also to enable someone outside of Readup who takes a survey to find the ways in which the platform could be helpful to them.
I think something that may be cool would be a tagging function, where any reader could tag an article, hopefully facilitating the ability to connect an article/discussion to other outside related articles/discussions and enriching the conversation. I don't know what it looks like, but users having an ability to bring the conversation beyond a linear set of comments under a single article could be helpful.
Wow. Yes. Two thumbs up. I especially like the first of your two questions:
How can individuals not on Readup be exposed to the platform as something potentially beneficial in their lives?
That's a real stroke of genius. You have reminded me that the way to think about this isn't just from the perspective of the Readup user (and trying to rope other people in) but from the perspective of the recipient (who knows nothing at all about Readup). That completely changes the scope of the project from "figure out what would make people want to share" to "figure out what would lure people in."
Also, yes to tagging. That's a no-brainer. Most articles already have metadata (tags, categories, etc.) attached to them (trump, tech, crypto, science, #metoo, spirituality, climate change, etc) including a vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of articles in our database. So we don't even need to build the user tagging functionality, just the sort. So much to do, so little time!
It will be interesting to see how the tag function plays out. On one hand, it seems like the goal of readup is potentially to create a space where people who are interested in reading and discussing in depth what they've read instead of brief skimming and reactionary responses. To get to that depth, there should be the option to bring new articles INTO the discussion instead of directing peoples attention away to a different space entirely, which I think a simple tag link may do. How do you use this platform to not only be a positive mimic (vs. toxic mimic) of what happens in the real world (physically reading a book and discussing with friends), but utilize the potential benefits of the internet to go beyond that and open the discussion to the real complexities of the world.
Also, "lure" is maybe not the ideal word...the current tech giants figured out how to lure folks in with addictive platforms. Ideally you'd want to make a product that is just genuinely beneficial, and create some way of exposing people to it. If it's good enough, it may just catch on
This blog post is far from perfect, but I like where this is heading. Big upside here if we can get people in the community to engage with us in solving our toughest problems. (And zero downside.) Six months from now we'll need a specific leaderboard for "most replies to blog posts" -- Ambassadors!!? :D
I just read -Take a Vacation Inside an Oversized Sweatshirt
By Julie Sharbutt on The New Yorker page after reading the I am an Old Soul By Cora Frazier. It was a short and fun article and I love fall and could talk all about sweaters for a good hour if given the chance, but I can't comment on the article. Also, Is there a way to share these kinds of articles second hand with Readup users?
Normally I keep a spiral notebook next to me to jot notes when I am reading. I know it has been mentioned that inline commenting would be great and I thought that sounded amazing too! It still does for blog posts, (that whole I would like to comment on the layers of the post not just a piece of it, kind of thing) but for the articles I still like the box at the end. It got me thinking a mini note pad in a small pop up like window, that can be minimized, So I can copy and paste quotes of an article in the moment while reading and jot my comments down line by line would be awesome! Plus if I could save my notes or export them to and from my Readup profile that would enhance my experience on Readup! I can see that being a useful tool for teachers and students as well for anything from group discussions to book reports! These note boxes would also make it easier to share an article (not just one comment) and the reason why I am sharing it with that particular person I send it to that much clearer. I see the share button on the comments and I have tested it out, it only sends that particular comment not a link to Readup or the article I read (that I can see anyway). maybe thats its purpose to A way to share the article with others with or without my notes/comments, that redirects them to Readup could be a very useful tool! Kind of like Pinterest does when I share a pin with someones email address.
Another thought: back in the day, you used to send out one article a week for people to comment on. It felt like a book club - everyone was reading the same article and having a discussion around it in the comments section. What about a feature that enables people to form “book clubs” of people to read articles together? I’m thinking about Community Groups in Goodreads...
I really like your idea!
It would work well with a teacher and a group of students. It would be neat if each persons name came up in the group who had read the article, even if they hadn't commented yet (with like a green star by their name). Then everyone in the group can see who has read it and hasn't. And ask each other engaging questions, because some people are just shy when posting a comment, but asked a question and they might feel more involved and answer.
This blog post made me ask myself, why do I share stories or poems with people? I'll share with a person when 1. I read something about a topic that person is interested in, 2. I read something that relates to an experience that person and I had together, or 3. I read something I find beautiful and believe that person will appreciate.
Something that comes to mind is a tagging system where people can indicate what they're interested in by selecting/creating tags (e.g., 'cats', 'education', 'Southeast Asia', 'cannabis'). As people read articles, they tag them to indicate what topics they relate to. Then people can search by tags to find articles they're interested in, and people can send other people articles they think they'd be interested in based on their tags. (This idea is not fleshed out...)
I never shared articles on social media, but I remember having quotes as my Away Messages on AIM :) Maybe one day Readup could give community members the ability to create profiles so they can share content in a similar way.
You explained this well. However, George and I are sitting here drinking our coffee feeling discouraged. We have been promoting
Readup to everyone who will listen but we are finding a lot of resistance. Briefly, people seem overwhelmed and too busy to even think about adding “another thing” to their lives! They are in book clubs and have subscriptions and can’t even keep up with that. Sending articles can seem like “forcing” someone to read who has already declined to even try the app. It’s like the dreaded solicitor knocking at your door. Podcasts seem more welcomed because they are passive - you can listen while making dinner or sitting having a cup of tea. This has been my experience thus far. I’ll be so interested to hear what the community thinks. I want this to succeed, feel it’s SO needed. I still think bumper stickers and a handout like a book mark worthwhile.
I think you are on to something. I love podcast/books on tape and it is very convenient like you said (cooking, cleaning laundry background sound while working). I like to read but time is a factor (2 kids and employed with a few jobs). What if someone read the article and you can replay it. It would benefit the writers and publishers, maybe they would help fund the readers.
Ksabey, I like your idea of the articles being read with an audio feature. Maybe a feature/button on the side of the article that lets you "listen" to the article if you want to. Readup could measure the audio reads and add that to our profiles. In some of our elementary schools here they are using kindles for all of their reading starting in 1st grade! The kids expressed that their favorite features where the audio (being read to) and the fact that a word they didn't know could be highlighted and explained. It has increased the reading level of the students by almost two grades in the years they have been testing it.
I believe, for Readup Jr to break into the educational spectrum of things, some of these features will be a must. I completely think that the slow down and not skim is an important piece to the puzzle, but for those in a stage of mad busyness in their lives, or those challenged with reading, the audio feature would allow for great content, a variety of topics, and the ability to converse within the group. Kind of like audible for online news and magazine articles!
Readup/Listenup! It is a big problem, for sure. But I think part of the Readup philosophy is to get people to slow down, make the time for actual reading (no skimming) because of how good it is for our brains and Adrenal Glands (no flight or fight reaction)! I think if it were just used as a tool for anytime one is waiting - doctor’s office, long lines at the gas station, grocery store - sneak in 5 or 10 minutes. They bookmark where you left off and you can return. But I get where you are at now, Ksabey, in your life - kids and work - hectic! I’m retired now, so I have time. It’s certainly another avenue for Readup - retirees. Not that they are not engaged in life, just a slower pace. I’m loving this community! Keep the dialogue going! Thanks so much for your input!
Pegeen, I had this exact moment yesterday at a speech appoint with my youngest son. I was visiting with the other moms in the waiting room and the conversation went from movies to books to books made into movies, to the dumbing down of America and it was a perfect moment to introduce Readup and I was shot down with the "I dont have time for one more thing in my week" and "I am trying to spend less time on my electronics" My momentum was bruised for only a heartbeat. The conversation turned to something else and I thought to myself, that's okay because I have planted a seed and seeds take time to grow.
Yes! It is a blow initially! But I’m learning to not take it personally also. It’s very difficult to convince people that Readup does not take up a lot of time - that is the readers choice! I find it adds to my day in more ways than takes. And, we are pulling from the very best in the way of periodicals, newspapers, magazines. I even have canceled my subscriptions! Readup is my go to when I’m in a waiting room - most of the office magazines are crap! Oh well, onward and upwards. I did get a young man at my local health food store to join. I’ll let you know of more successes as they come so we can be inspired to keep planting seeds! Thanks for reaching out.
Seriously, do not touch those magazines! lol I worked (temporarily) at a medical office as a receptionist for a few weeks. I will never touch another magazine in a waiting room again. So excited to hear that the health food store was a successful spot! And I completely agree we should keep each other posted on the site of our good encounters! Cheers :)
I completely agree with the bookmarks and bumper stickers! Who doesn't read the bumper stickers on the car in front of them when stuck in traffic or at a red light? I even read them when walking through parking lots with my kids. Totally a great idea!
tough one..... need some time to formulate a concise idea.
I’d like to start by saying if anyone could answer these questions they would be the most sought after person in the tech industry. I don’t Believe that there is a “magic button”. Getting people to download the app will be the easier part but then getting them to use the app is another hurtle. I’m speaking from experience with my own app in the retail market I provide a service that delivers liquor wine and beer On-demand within an hour, it works great and people love it. The only problem is that people prefer to use third-party apps. I could be more competitive in the market, provide a better experience and price; we personally hand sell our app to customers and 98% of the time they don’t download the app and when they do only 10% of them use the app. In the digital world Influencers may be the best money spent for you guys. That will not work for me since I’m dealing in a small geographic area. I think this is a great thing that you guys are working on and I do think that it has legs, keep up the good work and don’t get frustrated.
Not to distract from the topic of the this post, but what area are you in Ksabey? Is your app for business, individuals or both? I do not drink personally, but I do cook with alcoholic beverages. It would be nice to order it without having to go out for it. That said, my RV wheels rest most often near a military base, drinking is almost a competitive sport here. There are distilleries, wineries, micro breweries, and bars, by the thousands in this particular location. This is also a restaurant mecca here. Maybe the app you have developed is just geographically stunted?
I meet a lot of people during my day, but not all my interactions pave the way for bringing up the site. Also, there are so many places I visit and things I do where I drop things off that I could leave some information. It might catch attention that I would of otherwise missed. Bookmarks, Flyers, Bumper stickers, are passive ways of reaching people. They are choosing to read the information. These items could be placed in locations from our local libraries, laundromats, community centers, church bulletin boards, etc I even saw a community board at a local gas station and while waiting in line, two people pulled down business cards. You as the founders can't be everywhere at once, but I bet all us readers are in different places and we can help in our own areas. If there was a downloadable link on the side of the website where we could print these items off using a link we could do it at our own pace, in our own communities, across the country. I would love to see it with a way to track how they heard about the site too! I also travel a lot and being able to leave information at sites I am only visiting for the day would be amazing! Another idea is that we could write the website name inside of books we donate to libraries or to little free libraries inside the book covers. People picking up the books are already readers, so you are half way there with them. I say the biggest idea is that if you want to attract more readers to the site-go where the readers are. Bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, education learning centers, etc. Also have you thought about sharing information with any volunteer organizations that help people through books, like Wounded Warriors, Military Special Needs offices, Books and Barks, and as crazy as it sounds Senior Citizen Centers? Finding the directors of these offices and contacting them could be a lot more people helping you share your site too! I definitely think that a way to share on social media platforms is a must!! Even if the Readup founders and some of its readers don't use these methods, there are that many more of us that do. These are just some of my ideas anyway. Give us, the readers, your supporters, more tools to help you, Share. That could even be the title of the tab
<-----over there to the left that says Sharing Tools, maybe?
LOVE your enthusiasm!
Thanks. I have been the owner/operator of an unofficial book and educational sharing room for a few years now. Getting the word out there and connecting with others feels like the biggest challenge sometimes. Most of the time the wind inspires my best sharing ideas!
Ugh. This is so right on that is practically hurts. The craziest part of all (you already know) is that I'm in bookstores and libraries every single day. So it's not even like I'd need go nuts with distribution - it would be so easy to work into my daily habit.
I'm not going to beat myself up about being slow on the uptake here - although you can! :P I deserve a good smack for dropping the ball on this for so long! Regardless, I'm just going to fix this problem ASAP. Stay tuned.
Blazing moment of clarity today! I was at the organic market in downtown and saw a bulletin board! It struck me-Go where the people feed their minds! Organic markets, health food stores, farmers markets, Trader Joes! Yoga studios and healthy eating locales, maybe?
College campuses-you only need one teacher in the English department to start a trend! We have a rural community college here that embraces free resources of all kinds and I am pretty sure those peeps have social media sharing skills.....hmmm?
Good convo starter. First thought having used the Readup “service” a bit - sharing needs to be easy in both directions: into and out of readup. I need a seamless way to share things from the web (or perhaps create a shareable thing from a tangible thing Ive read) with readup users; and be able to take something I’ve read in readup back into the real world.