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The TL; DR syndrome

The Internet is growing at an ever increasing rate of knots. And we are not talking about months, weeks or even days here – you can measure it in seconds!
For instance, did you know that 13

That’s an awful lot of clicks.

 

On the other hand the nature of the web is changing too. Thanks to easier access to 3G and 4G we tend to access web from our mobiles and tablets more and more, gradually leaving desktops and PCs to the 20th century. At the same time, our attention span is getting shorter and most people now seem incapable of concentrating for more than a few seconds before they’re on to the next thing.  That makes things ever more challenging for writers and content producers.  You’ve only got a tiny window to catch hold of the reader’s attention and unless what you write is really compelling, they’ll be off to the next thing.

That leads to a huge number of unfinished articles. Or perhaps worst of all, the damning indictment of a single comment – TL; DR (too long – did not read).

So how do we, mere mortals, cope with this information overload? How do we know what is worth our time and what we should just skip?

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First of all, “TLDR” is all a matter of perception. Whether the piece was recommended to you by a website you subscribed to, a trusted mentor or your friend, remember that the final decision on how you spend your time is up to you. You are the final authority on whether something important to YOU.

You can always take the easy way out, assume you already know everything and TLDR – read nothing.  But is that really a solution? Really? Think twice. Shorter doesn’t mean better, longer doesn’t mean more boring. What you need to do is invest a bit of time in separating the clickbait and the trash from what’s useful and well written.

Seth Godin in his blog suggests changing the TLDR to NWDR (not worthwhile; didn’t read) and I completely agree with him.

However long or short, if it’s not worth my time, I Wouldn’t Read it.

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