Reader Attention is a Tricky Temptress

Posted by on Aug 22 2011 | From the Writer's Desk

Jerry Seinfeld once said that the longevity of content doesn’t matter as long as it’s good. Now, of course, he said this in his characteristic, Seinfeldic style and I vaguely remember an after-joke that had something to do with a couple of giraffes and George Carlin, but the gist was the same. However, with multitudes of web content clamouring for eyeballs, coupled with a stubbornly myopic attention span on part of the viewers, it seems that ‘I told you so’ probably isn’t on Seinfeld’s list of things-to-say-when-kicking-the-bucket.

It’s tragic really. Scores of great content, write-ups that deserve more than just a second glance are being sidelined along with other, inferior content, like a burra sahib being herded along with the rest of the flock in the general category of a Banaras local. Content writers everywhere are being hard-pressed to deliver crisp, edgy content that can keep the attention meter to a cent percent at all times. One could argue that it’s all for the better, as this would automatically translate to better standards of content. Debatable.

With the dynamic pop culture dishing out new watchwords of cool (read FTW, OMFG, ROFL, LOL and the asinine ‘muaah’) it seems the writing is etched firmly on the wall. If it’s terse, you get the cookie. Case in point: the blog is slowly but surely being replaced by the tweet (Microblogging? Oxymoron, if there ever was one!) The age of good ole’ content that would languidly sculpt a scenario before executing the much-awaited coup de grace is fighting a losing battle against its briefer, crisper progeny. Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy must be turning in their graves.

The tone of this blog will might decry suggest protest, rant et al, but for many, this has come as a good change. Conciseness is a godsend for those (read all) who don’t have the luxury of time on their hands. So, if you’re looking to wow readers with cut-the-bull content, you had best deliver in spades. Failing that, your readability can be measured in seconds, if at all.


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7 comments for now

7 Responses to “Reader Attention is a Tricky Temptress”

  1. Sid

    Cleverly written. The article gives a solid idea about the present trends of writing attractive content. It also tells you how difficult it is to hold on the attention of a reader.

    23 Aug 2011 at 5:22 am

  2. when will people come to understand the fact that if your ideas and thoughts can be compressed into 140 characters, then then its probably not worth anything. no mttr hw mch u m’age 2 cmprss ‘em.

    23 Aug 2011 at 5:28 am

  3. sonam

    Clearly explained the need of the hour is to follow the change in writing styles.

    23 Aug 2011 at 5:30 am

  4. isha

    concise but aptly portrayed content always works…the appealing factor of the style of writing differs with different target readers.. the colloquial language isn’t appreciated by many…

    23 Aug 2011 at 5:41 am

  5. Mikhil

    @Isha: You’re right. The ‘crisp’ factor has become the operative word for the audience of today. However, there are those who still swear by the old school ‘beat around the bush’ *guilty* ;-)

    23 Aug 2011 at 5:58 am

  6. Kritica

    Real interesting read! And for once I was disappointed that it it was so concise ;)

    Readers’ attention is the prime focus when writing. But then again what one reader finds interesting, another might not be able to make any sense out of it.. And that’s when ‘Know Thy Reader’ comes in.. okay I think I am digressing here.. :-/

    23 Aug 2011 at 11:01 am

  7. Shalini

    keeping it brief :)

    23 Aug 2011 at 12:20 pm

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