Search My Blog and Linked Pages!

Detail is not wordiness

I've noticed a current trend in United States written discourse. "Cursory skimming" is at an all-time high. It stands to reason given the on-demand, internet-search-driven mode of information delivery today. Compound that with Twitter and texting becoming more prevalent and the trend seems pretty pronounced. I'm observing this "skimming mania" in many modes of communication from websites, to emails, to brochures.

With this skimming comes a side-effect. If you do not very explicitly state your meaning on every key point you write, with detail and in several clauses apiece, the reader doesn't find enough key words to catch their eye. They skip right over major points.

What is the result?

The reader misses something vital you already answered, then moves on to life's next shiny bauble. You never get past the reader's filter. The reader never registers the validity of your point. Or worse, they dismiss your observation as ill-considered because they miss the fact that you *did* consider key alternatives.

This flies in the face of the "brief is better" dogma often taught in written communication. While it is important to be concise, it is less important to be "brief."

con cise
 giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive.

This takes much practice. Although certain personality types find it annoying when you re-state an idea with different wording or write two sentences where one will do, I find that annoyance is a good thing.


The person objecting is often the type who becomes irritated they had to pause and understand what you wrote, rather than speed-reading it to understand the "gist" of what you wrote.

In today's world of filter bubbles and custom-tailored content, understanding the author's meaning rather than one's own predisposed opinion is often considered an imposition.

Don't be afraid. Impose.

No comments:

Post a Comment