Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Writing for Todays Attention Span

As the semester begins most of professors start with basics; inverted pyramid, proper sentence structure, etc. However recently in one of my classes we discussed a puzzling factor in writing, the brevity of a now 21st century reader.

In “The Philosophy of Composition” Edgar Allen Poe suggests that a writer must base the length of their piece the readers’ ability to consume the piece in one sitting. Poe adamantly states that the
reader must be able to take the piece on without interruption in order to achieve the proper effect the writer intended to express. Now back in the late 1800’s, the writers aim for a reader’s attention was around one hour. One hour is a long time to ask from a 21st century reader. So as this writing intensive field of public relations begins to grow, how long can we ask from our readers? Thirty minutes, ten minutes or 140

To write for the 21st century reader, the sentence structure must be key. Using clear declarative sentences allows the reader to retain and grasp the idea or situation a writer is trying to convey whether the piece is fifteen minutes or 100 characters. I tend to get tied up in fancy words and witty statements with no grammatical backing, but when I stick to the KISS (Keep It Simply Stupid) principle I get more responses on both my blogs and updates.


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Samantha Wanner said...


Thank you for your courteous comment. I was inspired to write this blog by my News Writing class here at Temple University. The first day is always the toughest, especially when its an 8a.m., but this topic really hit home for me as I am very involved in social media and blogging.