As we follow recommendations from the people we follow online (my wife calls them my “fake friends”), reading is not necessarily a solitary activity these days. From Steven Johnson on the Findings blog:
My article/essay/blog post reading has become intensely social. I think easily more than half of the articles I read in the average day come from passed links on Twitter. Those social recommendations are a tremendous source of serendipity, much more interesting and unpredictable than they are given credit for. It’s not just an echo chamber of predictable fare from a close circle of friends, partially because I follow a lot of people from different fields who are not personal friends: musicians and political writers and food writers and movie critics, etc. And also because they’re often retweeting interesting links from people I’ve never even heard of. This is not a new idea: it’s the strength of weak ties argument essentially. But I’m surprised that people still underestimate the power of those weak ties in terms of making surprising and rich new connections.
This is very true for me. I find a lot of great new things to read that would never have crossed my radar thanks to my “fake friends” and have grown because of it.