In general, I think I tend to read a lot. I read things on the Internet along with books and traditional sources of information (magazines, newspapers, etc…). Recently, I had someone ask the following question:
I was wondering if you had any predominant reason why you read so many Internet articles vs. books. I was simply interested in your thought process because I assumed that mine was different and was interested in what yours might be:
As a general rule, I do not read articles of any kind (except for the ones you send me, because I typically find them interesting!) (this extends from newspapers all the way to the Internet), except for journals of theology. I figure that I have very limited time to read – if I am to read anything, it will be books on God, theology, or the Bible – books that have stood the test of time, classics, or books by the greatest scholars of today.
When it comes to books, I generally agree. I want the books I buy to be good solid books that either have or will withstood the test of time. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't. Here was my response:
Basically, I relate reading articles and blogs online to watching the news and keeping up with current events. I would say I have 3 main reasons for reading stuff on the internet:
1)Current events/blogs — I'll skim TONS of these 2-4 times/week. I may spend 5 min at it…I may spend 30 min at it. It just keeps me up to date with lots of different topics.
2)Research — I have something specific I'm looking for or want to learn more about. In this case, I can read lots of things on the internet, get many different viewpoints, then make up my mind. it also lets me research things I would never spend money on (after Cyndi and I went skiing, I wanted to learn a tad more about mormonism. The internet let me learn about it, but I never would have supported a mormon author with money)
3)Yak Shaving — I start reading about one thing which leads to another which leads to another. This doesn't happen often, but mindless surfing of the internet is a BIG BIG waste of time. I try to not do too much of this.
The idea I was seeking to convey was what I have explained above: the books I purchase I tend to be picky about. Reading on the internet allows me to expose myself to many different ideas which I can then use to form my opinion on issues/situations. However, I don't give everything the same weight. An article by someone solid will carry more weight with me than just a general blog post I stumble across. An article by someone who clearly has a wrong slant will get tossed asside without much thought.
Just like in a military situation it is important to know who you are and who your enemies are, it is important I know enough about what I stand on to defend my views, but I also need to be familiar with other's views and what they believe. This will allow us to have a close-to-common base. For example, Muslims believe Jesus was real, believe that Jesus did miracles, and they even believe in the virgin birth. If I wasn't aware of that and simply started talking to a Muslim, I would totally misunderstand what they were trying to say. However, having a basic knowledge of what others think and understanding that the same word may mean something totally different forms a necessary base on which to build.
So, how about you? Why do you read? How are you in critically evaluating your sources? Books you purchase? Articles you read? Things you use to form opinions?