02 Jul

Comprehend and Recollect

There are links connecting content to a never-ending stream – a tail, if you would. I plan on shortening the tail and increasing comprehension and recollection.

It’s the start of a long weekend to commemorate the United States’ independence from Great Britain in 1776. My RSS feeds are updating less frequently and my Twitter feed is displaying more personal updates than usual. This is the first time, in many years that I will not be traveling or working on the 4th, but rather, relaxing at home.

The additional free time in my workday has allowed me to consume much more content. While reading various posts, I have taken the time to click the reference links, research related posts and explore the commenter’s personal sites. The vast amount of content that a single blog post is linked and connected to is extraordinary.

As stated by the New York Times article “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price” by Matt Richtel, “[scientists] say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.” The overuse of hyperlinks within posts actually hinder the readers experience and decrease focus and the ability to retain information rather than add value by referring the visitor to further research. Instead of the brain comprehending the post in question, it is processing whether or not to click the link now, wait till we finish reading or to bookmark it for later.

For a visual image of how distracted one’s workspace can be, click the following link to see a 2-minute SensoMotoric Instruments Video track his eye movements (Static Image Below). Don’t forget to come back though!

Kord Campbell’s life as a developer may be an exaggerated example, but isn’t far from a typical Internet users experience. Take right now for example. While you are reading this, I have posted an image, a link and have 5 of my most recent Twitter updates catching your eye (just to the right). In addition, your friend is trying to get your attention from across the room, a relative is texting you and several email notifications have “growled” at you from your desktop. How can I expect my reader to recollect the point of this post, let alone the author’s name!

The result, a change in style for all future posts:

  1. Every post will start with one or two sentences replicating a formal thesis.
  2. ALL links will be found at the conclusion of posts.
  3. No post will exceed 600 words.

“The Internet of Things” is a phrase used by ReadWriteWeb on a daily basis. My hope, is that this new format for blog posts will enable readers to choose when the tail stops. Enabling individuals to choose when to stop consuming, and to start producing.

What will you do?

Links

–        New York Times, “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price” – Link
–        SensoMotoric Instruments – Link
–        Kord Campbell (LinkedIn) – Link
–        ReadWriteWeb, Internet of ThingsLink


  • Ah, so you’re following Nicholas Carr’s advice. Have you read The Shallows yet? I haven’t gotten around to it; despite Mr. Carr appearing on the Colbert Report to promote it.

    Also, why no more than 600 words? It’s a fairly respectable length for a quick thought, sure, and 200-600 is where the vast majority of all blog posts fall; but why have a maximum, as opposed to a minnimum length? Verbosity is the consequence of length; shalllowness the consequence of brevity. I think the former least offends.

    Shifting post structure to be more formalized – e.g. use many headers, put things in list format, etc – also helps; skimming being the trend.

  • Ah, so you’re following Nicholas Carr’s advice. Have you read The Shallows yet? I haven’t gotten around to it; despite Mr. Carr appearing on the Colbert Report to promote it.

    Also, why no more than 600 words? It’s a fairly respectable length for a quick thought, sure, and 200-600 is where the vast majority of all blog posts fall; but why have a maximum, as opposed to a minnimum length? Verbosity is the consequence of length; shalllowness the consequence of brevity. I think the former least offends.

    Shifting post structure to be more formalized – e.g. use many headers, put things in list format, etc – also helps; skimming being the trend.

  • Ah, so you’re following Nicholas Carr’s advice. Have you read The Shallows yet? I haven’t gotten around to it; despite Mr. Carr appearing on the Colbert Report to promote it.

    Also, why no more than 600 words? It’s a fairly respectable length for a quick thought, sure, and 200-600 is where the vast majority of all blog posts fall; but why have a maximum, as opposed to a minnimum length? Verbosity is the consequence of length; shalllowness the consequence of brevity. I think the former least offends.

    Shifting post structure to be more formalized – e.g. use many headers, put things in list format, etc – also helps; skimming being the trend.

  • I have heard Mr. Carr’s advice, and as you can see, it has influenced me. However, I have not read “The Shallows” yet.

    As you read, I am interested in being concise with my posts, due to the ever so popular excuse, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” Furthermore, I too feel this way. I have been spending the majority of the past two weeks attempting to create content for eBranding Me, but continually find myself just finishing reading my RSS feeds and Tweeting mid afternoon! If the authors I follow began to limit their posts and becoming more brief in their writing style, I would be able to stay current and produce.

    However, it might be easier to rid myself of this over powering need to consume EVERYTHING than it will to convince other bloggers to limit their posts…

  • I have heard Mr. Carr’s advice, and as you can see, it has influenced me. However, I have not read “The Shallows” yet.

    As you read, I am interested in being concise with my posts, due to the ever so popular excuse, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” Furthermore, I too feel this way. I have been spending the majority of the past two weeks attempting to create content for eBranding Me, but continually find myself just finishing reading my RSS feeds and Tweeting mid afternoon! If the authors I follow began to limit their posts and becoming more brief in their writing style, I would be able to stay current and produce.

    However, it might be easier to rid myself of this over powering need to consume EVERYTHING than it will to convince other bloggers to limit their posts…

  • I have heard Mr. Carr’s advice, and as you can see, it has influenced me. However, I have not read “The Shallows” yet.

    As you read, I am interested in being concise with my posts, due to the ever so popular excuse, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” Furthermore, I too feel this way. I have been spending the majority of the past two weeks attempting to create content for eBranding Me, but continually find myself just finishing reading my RSS feeds and Tweeting mid afternoon! If the authors I follow began to limit their posts and becoming more brief in their writing style, I would be able to stay current and produce.

    However, it might be easier to rid myself of this over powering need to consume EVERYTHING than it will to convince other bloggers to limit their posts…