February 17, 2012
Constant problem solving (to click or not to click?) and divided attention (you’ve got mail) lead to cognitive overload on the Web.
And according to Nicholas Carr’s book “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain,” cognitive overload can:
In fact, a 2005 study by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London showed that online multitasking temporarily lowers your IQ more than smoking marijuana does.
Cognitive overload isn’t the only obstacle to getting the word out on the Web. Backlit screens, scrolling and other mechanisms of online reading can also cause:
What’s the bottom line? With Web writing, you can literally make your readers sick, resign and forget where they parked their cars.
So how do you write blog posts, Web pages, email messages, status updates and other copy without repelling your readers? Here are some pointers to consider:
Don’t overlook print as your medium of choice. If you are writing a thought piece on the state of the industry, the CEO’s vision for the future or the company’s five-year plan, then put it on paper.
Sorry, what was I saying?
Oh, yeah. The way that the Web distracts and overtaxes your readers’ brains doesn’t make it a place for long, difficult messages. So deliver complex ideas in print, and nuggets of data online.
Copyright © 2012 Ann Wylie. All rights reserved.
Ann Wylie works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com. Get free writing tips at: FreeWritingTips.wyliecomm.com. Get more than 2,000 writing tipsheets at RevUpReadership.com.
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