I stopped by a friend's blog recently and found a link to this site that proclaims itself "The Blog Readability Test" ("What Level of Education is Required to Understand Your Blog?"). So I typed my own blog's URL into the site and--extremely promptly-- received the following diagnosis:
So the fact that it took less than two seconds for "The Blog Readability Test" to asses my blog seems a teeny bit suspect to me. I mean, I know we have a very fast internet connection, but really.
Laying that aside, I still have questions. For example, on what criteria is this test based? Vocabulary? Themes? Number of words in a sentence? Number of pictures per post (or lack thereof?) How many posts you have archived? Does anyone else have any ideas?
But my primary question is this: should I take the elementary-school level thing as an insult? 'Cause it sorta feels like an insult, though I'm not really sure why it should. Is this thing saying that I have the intelligence of an eight year old and should really grow up? Is it saying that my blog reads like an elementary school text book? ("Cindy and Lulu are having a picnic. If Cindy brings two sandwiches and two bananas to share and Lulu brings two apples and four cookies, how many pieces of fruit will they...?") Should I be irritated? Devastated? Or should I just roll my eyes and move on? The website itself offers no clues, that I can find, as to its intended purpose or diagnostic methods. And it doesn't make any recommendations based on its results.
In my mind, this lack of information leaves me free to derive my own meaning from "The Blog Readability Test" and its cryptic evaluation. I think I shall muster up all of my magnanimity, all of my Christian charity and assume the best about this test. Instead of taking the results as a stinging critique, I shall wear my "elementary school" stamp as a badge of honor. (In other words, I shall practice the fine old art of spin.)
As someone who considers herself "a writer" (that, in my mind, is distinct from being "a blogger"), I'm going to receive my "elementary" label as high praise. After all, good writers try to write simply, in ways that just plain folks can understand. Good writers know that big words and complex sentences are not necessarily marks of good writing (although they certainly can be included in good writing). So a fourth grader could tackle my blog and come away with a good idea of what I'm getting at? Great! So it doesn't take a PhD to enjoy my posts? Hmm... I think that's okay. Because I'm pretty stinkin' sure that no one with a PhD reads my blog!
All the same, I am rather curious to know what it takes to achieve, say, a "college reading level" stamp from "The Blog Readability Test". Maybe if I start randomly sprinkling my blog with phrases like "quantum mechanics" and "Galilean relativity" and "the geometrical theory of gravitation" I could get bumped up one or two levels. (Pretty good, huh? I found those in the physics article on Wikipedia.)
Do I rate yet, Mr. Readability Test? Do I, huh, do I?