Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The de-evolution of the Skimmer

As I look over my +feedly feed I notice a lot of things, but there seems to be a reoccurring theme among the myriad of different sites that I follow; lists. Top 5 this, 16 signs you're addicted to, 14 dogs dressed as...

In an age where 140 character wild fires spread in hours, 40 million pictures are Instagramed daily, GIFs and memes reign on tumblr and commercials are being crammed into 6 seconds, its no wonder our attention spans are fading. These platforms are developed for the masses which, unfortunately, are largely comprised of by these people.  Communication has become clutter and the reader has realized it; give way to the skim reader. 

Brands have caught on that if they want to get the full message across they need to cut it down. Lists are effective for a number of reasons: bold headlines attract attention and are quick to read, pictures/GIFs often accompany these headlines, bullet points appear shorter than full paragraphs and readers know when the article will end. 

I however believe that the attention span is making a comeback, ironically, being lead in part by the co-founders of twitter (who recently acquired Vine). Medium is a better place to read and write. It is a central hub for writers and readers to publish and enjoy meaningful, creative, passionate short stories and blog posts. Medium is brilliant because it is essentially a universally owned blog space where you always where listeners are always present to provide insight and notes. 

Another driver for creative long form content is a site that has exploded over the past year. Wattpad hosts over 10 million users who have uploaded more than 16 million books. In this free P2P sharing platform writers are able share their work, build a fan base, and receive instant feedback on their stories. With over 2 billion minutes spent on Wattpad each month it is evident there is demand for quality long form content and people are searching it out. 

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