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As someone who’s checked the Drudge Report once an hour, every hour for the last 10 years of my life, I can certainly accept the idea that the sites I read and like has to do with habit, as opposed to just content. WSJ’s BuzzWatch blog interviews two researchers Eric Baumer and Bill Tomlinson, both at UC-Irvine, on their new study about why and how people read the blogs that they read. Their argument: habit is key. But beyond that point, it’s sort of hard to tell what implications to take. For one thing, the study was just conducted by monitoring 15 individuals — all of them under-40 bloggers — so it’s hard to say that they got a representative population. And even though habit plays a big role on what and how people read, they acknowledged that there are still a lot of factors at play, in terms of why people read what they do, and how they interact with the content. Of course, people do all kinds of things based largely on habit, so it’d be surprising if blog reading weren’t one of them.
Something that warrants more study is how habit formation affects the way readers interact with the content. Says Baumer: “Habits aren