Make Me Think about Length Debriefing

Reading attentively on the web

For Thursday, we're going to talk about a few of these: what they illustrate, how they get us to think about reading and attention, and how they help us think about reading and attention: how they work, essentially.

We're using the tales to extend and build and complicate Price and the general dictum on writing and reading web content.

Choose a fave to talk about with respect to what it illustrates and how it works it.

MakeMeThinkAboutLengthExercise. Reading and notes.


TIO Labs intro

Look at how the articles are displayed on TIO Labs: title and sub. You can change those - and you want to as the author of the work to get a reader focused on what's up from the start.

placing things back in context

Niesen's measure is sufficient value - which begs the question of readership, but here are some of his observations
Users don't waste time on the 2/3 of the long articles that aren't sufficiently valuable.

  • Reading benefits vary, depending on user circumstances.
  • Most of the time, short articles contain more value per word.
  • People sometimes gain higher value from complete or very detailed information about a problem.

What Should You Do?
  • If you want many readers, focus on short and scannable content. This is a good strategy for advertising-driven sites or sites that sell impulse buys.
  • If you want people who really need a solution, focus on comprehensive coverage. This is a good strategy if you sell highly targeted solutions to complicated problems.

From "The Optimal Post is 7 Minutes"
But beware!
This doesn’t mean we should all start forcing our posts to be 7 minutes! There is enormous variance. Great posts perform well regardless of length, and bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out.

What it does mean is that it’s worth writing however much you really need. Don’t feel constrained by presumed short attention spans. If you put in the effort, so will your audience. It’s just math.

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