I assume that everyone reads Matt Muir’s excellent weekly(ish) round up of interesting things from the web that might be slightly related to digital media industries? If not you should go here and subscribe immediately. It is a brilliantly written thing and shows a curious, intelligent humourous and slightly warped mind in all its glory. I am a massive fan of smart people collating interesting things and providing them to me on a plate as I am lazy and it saves me doing anything like work. Web Curios is also a long read and contains a lot of links and this got me wondering how long would it take for a person to consume a whole episode of Web Curios? Every link? Every video? Every thing?
I produce a few similar things to Web Curios both on this blog and at work but nothing quite on the scale or humour or quality of Matt’s rambling delights. At work our team produce a monthly newsletter made up of news, blogs and interesting links that relate to our work/interests. We often ask ourselves how much time do these things take to consume (or delete without reading)? What if you clicked on every link and read every post. If only we had a tool that you could feed a bunch of links and it would give you the answer as if we could come up with some perfect amount of time it should take. Well to the best of my knowledge no such tool exists (it better bloody not do after the amount of work I did on this i.e. about 2 hours).
As a ‘little’ experiment I decided I would have a go at working out how long it would take to consume an entire edition of Web Curios. Instead of actually reading/viewing/playing with it all I made a spreadsheet instead. I chose an edition from a four day working week so in theory it should have been a bit shorter but as I began the task it became clear shortness is relative. You can find the edition of Web Curios I chose at http://www.imperica.com/news/web-curios-10-05-2013 and you should of course read it from beginning to end (and then let me know how long it took you).
What did I actually do?
The first job (after reading it and enjoying it) was to capture all the links in it. This involved me opening the links, copying them into a Google Docs spreadsheet, giving them a basic categorisation (words, pictures, video, tool etc) and then doing some horribly basic and assumption riddled maths on consumption time. It was a grind of a task but strangely rewarding.
The answer I came up with was as follows…to consume the 10th of May 2013 edition of Web Curious would take 7 hours, 8 minutes and 33 seconds, which is a good chunk of a working day and would probably be better than work. Web Curios itself has over 4,000 words and contains 102 links. The links lead too 57,016 words, 1 hour, 48 minutes and 35 seconds of video, 525 pictures, 9 tools/services, 4 games and a 1 hour and 41 seconds long mix tape to listen too while you do all that reading (you would actually have to listen to it five times though).
This is based on assumptions such as average reading time of 215 words per minute, 3 seconds per picture, a minimum noodling time (technical term) with the tools/sites. I only took into account the first page visited for most links unless it was a multi page article. Like I said basic and assumption riddled. My very rough calculations do not take into account any rabbit hole falling down you may do, any addictive game playing time or time taken to tweet Matt Muir about NSFW links that you were not warned about and opened at work. Thankfully this weeks edition was relatively clean. My normal interactions with Web Curios is to read it all and open some links for reading once I have finished, I assume most people do the same.
I am pretty sure nobody clicks every link (apart from me this week) and consumes every item but I just wanted to put some almost meaningless figure on if they did. I have no conclusion or no great insight into what this means. I would of course like a tool that automates this for my own work, giving Friday Reading posts an average reading time for example would be a nice feature. It was just an idea that had been in my head a while and I wanted it out and there is nothing like the reward of completing an almost pointless task.
You can see that very exciting spreadsheet embedded below or over here if you prefer links/can’t see the embed/want the full interface.