On Skimming

Here’s an interesting piece on how people read online – and what that might mean for how we write online:

I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long. I’ve already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you—38 percent—are already gone. You “bounced” in Web traffic jargon, meaning you spent no time “engaging” with this page at all.

So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! We’re at the point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who didn’t bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!

OK, fine, good riddance. So we’re 95 now. A friendly, intimate crowd, just the people who want to be here. Thanks for reading, folks! I was beginning to worry about your attention span, even your intellig … wait a second, where are you guys going? You’re tweeting a link to this article already? You haven’t even read it yet! What if I go on to advocate something truly awful, like a constitutional amendment requiring that we all type two spaces after a period?

So here’s the thing (provided you’re still reading this): what does this mean for how we communicate in other venues? Writing books? Sharing our testimonies? Is there any way to tell stories in this world – or does it mean our stories have to be that much better to capture someone’s attention to the end?

 

  • markdroberts

    Fascinating link, Alyssa. Disheartening, in some ways. But it presents a communication challenge that we need to take seriously. Thanks.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X