(this is actually the post that will point back to this page, and the page will have resources summarized)
by Wayne Willis
Hey you Old Dogs? Wanna learn some new tricks? If yes, you’ve come to the right place.
Even better, here you have to UNLEARN a skill that got your into Yale and undergirded your career: Expository Writing. You remember that architecture, don’t you? Topic sentence. Two to five supporting sentences “proving” or supporting the topic sentence. A conclusion. And a transition to the next paragraph. Rinse. Repeat.
That created neat paragraphs of 100-150 words each that people would actually read, likely decode, hopefully understand and maybe remember. Guess what? Those days are gone. You might as well write with a quill pen and use the florid prose of the Founding Fathers. People don’t read like that anymore. I might even say people don’t read anymore, period.
Don’t lament and whine like some Grumpy Old Man. It’s done. Get used to it. Better yet, embrace it and learn the new tropes and tools of expression in the digital age. Doing so will extend your shelf life and endear you to your grandchildren, who have the short attention spans of youth coupled with the “multitasking” and well-documented attention grabbers of social media and digital life generally. One wag likened talking to this group as “trying to catch a BB in a boxcar.” You have a maximum of seven seconds to get someone’s attention when they look at you digital communication, according to many “internet marketing” professionals.
Here’s the good news: You are smart, and you can do this. As and when you start “writing for digital consumption,” you’ll get into the virtuous cycle where increasing competence with this new way of expression is reinforced by better, more effective reactions from your audiences and correspondents. Frankly, forcing yourself to use these tools will IMPROVE your writing, because it forces your points to be manifested succinctly,