To all you current and wannabe bloggers, I came across some interesting statistics the other day, courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics .
As far as us lovers of blab go:
The average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.
The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.
The average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds.
I just imagine the statistics for 2015 are even more mind blowing. What does that hold for us chatterboxes? Are we full of hot air? Do we think we are Shakespeare when we are merely Rocky?
I tried to think of things you can do in 8 seconds. You can:
Glance over one’s resume
Count to 8
Delete your Facebook account
Deseed a pomegranate with a spoon
Speed dial Japan
Make a bologna sandwich
So what the article was saying is — keep your message tight, short, to the point.
Right — and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really our president, either.
I looked back at my blogs. I’ve been chatting away since 2011. I must say I have cut back on my rhetoric. Back then, Dinner with the Queen (6/22/11) was 1015 words. Chocolate and the Tuscan Sun (4/23/11) was 1016 words. My last few blogs have been more reasonable. Incredible Edibles (686). Evidence was 452 words. BFFs was 564 words. Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty was 686 (am I pushing it here?). I am trying to heed the warning that these days it’s really easy to bore people. To numb people. I have them flip past your book/page/article and move onto the next. And the next.
Some articles I’ve read say you should be able to tell your story in two sentences. Anything else is wasted work. (Of course, that particular article was over 1,000 words long). I know we are all used to Yahoo headlines. After all, that’s how many of us get our news these days.
But how do you know if you’re missing anything of substance? How do you know if you’ll enjoy what you read if the story is only 20 words? How do you know what the person(s) is feeling or thinking or doing in less than two sentences? I think eating only one piece of chocolate is easier.
I could shorten my blogs to a couple of sentences:
Evidence: My cat steals things from my purse and leaves them on the dog’s pillow. She is naughty.
Incredible Edibles: Going to a Creative Leftovers School would be fun. You could learn what to do with leftovers.
They just don’t have the same panasche as the thought process of the sneaky fat cat or the truth behind impulse buying and portion control, do they?
I suppose that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Short, sweet spots of information. Glance and forget. Or glance and send to yourself so you don’t forget it. I have about 15 recipes on FB that I’ve sent myself so I wouldn’t lose them in the plethora of information spinning past me every day. Don’t ask me if I’ve ever gone back to look at them, though.
I think writing, like anything else, is done half way in the middle. Sometimes it takes paragraphs to describe scenery or someone’s evil thoughts. Other times, a few words will do. You will “get it” no matter which you choose. Just be careful the tone in which you convey your message.
You may be describing a decadent desert and someone will mistake it for porn. Worse yet, you may be describing porn and someone will think you’re talking about strawberry shortcake.