What You Read, Who You Are

What you read shows a lot about who you are.

When you suggest something to read, it

  1. Reflects your own skill and expertise.
  2. Associates you with the author.
  3. Connects what you do with the article content.

Suggesting articles in addition to books amplifies these benefits many times over, so providing an updated reading list as part of your web site can do a lot for your web presence. Here’s what that should look like, and how to set things up without adding much to your weekly content maintenance.

What it should look like

People looking at your reading list are interested in

  1. seeing what you’ve read recently,
  2. seeing your most highly recommended articles,
  3. searching your links and/or browsing by category.

Your reading list should not have a category outline. You don’t want to maintain a taxonomy, and reading classification names is not enjoyable. Assign keywords to links and let people browse by keyword.

Every link should have a short note from you about why it is worth reading. The note makes the links personal. It helps others and it will help you also if you search your own reading list later.

Your reading list should have an RSS so automated trackers can follow it.

How to set things up

To avoid adding to your weekly content maintenance workload, integrate your reading list updates with your social media posts. Connect a social media automator to your reading list RSS to handle both at the same time. Reading list entry updates make great social media posts.

You read a lot. Train yourself to recognize that moment when you just finished reading something impressive. Words like clarifying, comprehensive, energizing, insightful, or brilliant might spring to mind as indicators something is memorable. FWIW, something is brilliant if it seems obvious and clear in retrospect, but you would not have been able to articulate it before. When you read something like that, add it to your reading list immediately.

Avoid the trap of saving for later. That only saves time if you never read it again. Take the few seconds to record it while the context is fresh in your mind. Let your reading list manage the reference context for you.

Next steps

Set up an account, and create a membic theme for your reading list at membic.org. Click the membic theme settings for the code to insert it into your website, and the RSS address for connecting it to automated tracking. Check this previous article for an example of how to connect your theme to your social media automatically.

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What You Read, Who You Are

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