Why I Prefer Skim Over Whole

UntitledI'm a skimmer.

There, I admitted it.  I don't always read word for word and when I do, I often have to re-read.

It's why as a writer, I try to use little words, make use of bold, italics, and the like.  There's nothing I cannot stand more than sitting in a meeting in front of a Powerpoint slide deck that's full of data in 8-point font.

When will people get that less is more?  Here's why.

1.  Our attention spans are shrinking!

The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, and The Associated Press report that in 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds.  In 2013, it was 8 seconds.  In fact the average number of times per hour an office worker checks their email inbox is 30.  Sad, but true, our brains are shrinking.  If I don't get engaged,  I'm done.  I cannot tell you how many books I've put down because I just don't have the appetite to read it cover to cover. Bullets, please! 

2. A picture IS worth a 1000 words.

This saying refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image.  Why do you think Instagram and Pinterest use is on the rise?  According to 3M, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text.  So why wouldn't you consider using more visuals today than words?  

3.  And, videos are better than visuals.

According to YouTube, over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month —that's almost an hour for every person on Earth with 100 hours of video uploaded every minute. WOW!

4.  Social is changing everything.  The glass is just as important as the kind of milk you drink!

We knew newspaper and magazines were dying, but look what else is changing?  With four generations in the workplace, what does this say about how we all learn and prefer to engage?  Forget content for a moment, it's about the channel.  What channels are you using?  Read the full article here.

screen shot 2014-05-04 at 11.33.19 am Source: Ofcom, Benedict Evans

5.  Time moves fast, but data is moving faster.

Varun Nayak says it best in this article. Here's the skim version.

Source: Varun Nayak Source: Varun Nayak

Do you know what your audience prefers?  Skim or whole?  Visuals or video?  Email or social? A mix?

I personally want my skim milk with a side of warm cookies, okay?

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