August 19, 2017

Info overload creates “ostrich complex”

Ignorance may really be bliss

What happens when readers are overloaded with information?

Info overload creates “ostrich complex”

Head in the sand Don’t let your readers get overwhelmed by information Image by Sven-Kåre Evenseth

Ralph L. Lowenstein and John C. Merrill, authors of Macromedia: Mission, Message and Morality, write:

“(T)he more communications we receive, the less each is taken seriously. In a sense, we are experiencing a period of communication inflation in which messages become ‘cheaper’ (of less value) as they become more numerous.
“One research study has shown that the average American is exposed to 1,600 advertising messages each day but is moved pro or con by no more than 15 of them.
“Undoubtedly there is also an increase in total quality, but this seems obscured in the repetitions, jargonized gush of pap and prattle.
“Ignorance perhaps is really bliss, and a kind of ‘ostrich complex’ may prove the sanest stance for a human being to take today.”

Have your readers stuck their heads in the sand? How to you overcome “continuous partial attention“?

  • Cut Through the Clutter

    Is your copy easy to read? According to communication experts, that’s one of the two key questions people ask to determine whether to read a piece — or toss it.

    Fortunately, academics have tested and quantified what makes copy easy to read. Unfortunately, that research virtually never makes it out of the ivory tower and into the hands of writers who could actually apply it.

    Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's persuasive-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017 imageAt Catch Your Readers — a two-day Master Class on Nov. 16-17 in Kansas City — you’ll leave this session with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability.

    Specifically, you’ll learn to:

    • Apply a seven-step system for making every piece you write clearer and more concise.
    • Use a cool tool (you probably already have it, but you might not know it) to measurably improve your message's readability.
    • Drastically condense your copy using the fastest, most effective approach. (The way we do it every day takes far more time and makes your message less interesting.)
    • Hit the right targets. How long is too long for your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words?
    • Increase reading by hitting one key on your keyboard more often.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's persuasive-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017

    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Catch Your Readers workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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