That's a debatable point. My experience has been that a thoughtful blogger who tags his posts can cover a subject well. But Nielsen's idea is that people will read (and maybe even pay) for expertise that they can't find anywhere else. If you want to beat the Internet, you're not going to do it by blogging (since even OK thinkers occasionally write a great blog post) but by offering a comprehensive take on a subject (thus saving the reader time from searching many sites) and supplying original thinking (offering trusted insight that cannot be easily duplicated by the nonexpert).
Like a lot of what Nielsen says, this is both obvious and thoughtful.
Nielsen focuses on how to hold people's attention to convey information. He's not overly concerned with pleasure reading.
Pleasure reading is also known as "ludic reading." Victor Nell has studied pleasure reading (PDF). Two fascinating notions:
- When we like a text, we read more slowly.
- When we're really engaged in a text, it's like being in an effortless trance.
Ludic reading can be achieved on the Web, but the environment works against you. Read a nice sentence, get dinged by IM, never return to the story again.
I suppose ludic readers would be the little sloths hiding in the jungle while everyone else is out rampaging around for fresh meat.
Final Unnecessary Thought
We'll do more and more reading on screens, but they won't replace paper—never mind what your friend with a Kindle tells you. Rather, paper seems to be the new Prozac. A balm for the distracted mind. It's contained, offline, tactile. William Powers writes about this elegantly in his essay "Hamlet's BlackBerry: Why Paper Is Eternal." He describes the white stuff as "a still point, an anchor for the consciousness."
Moby Dick has become a spa.
Slateis Grand Central Station.