It’s been a while since my last writing tip here on Daily Mayo!
Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about formatting.
Remember your old high school teacher who gave you the formula for writing? She probably gave you a formula that looked something like this:
- Opening paragraph with a sort of introduction to the topic.
- Content paragraphs supporting individual ideas.
- Conclusion paragraph summing up the main idea.
She probably told you that each paragraph needed at least 5-7 sentences and were sort of formatted into mini-papers themselves, with a main “paragraph idea” supporting sentences, then a “concluding sentence.”
This formula works well for school papers, but when it comes to writing for the great Internet, that formula is terrible.
Here is why:
Internet People Get Bored Quickly
So, you spend an entire post saying the basic same thing about 20 times, your audience will get bored within the first 2 paragraphs. They will then drift off to something more interesting- like watching this YouTube video of Nyan Cat.
Large Text Clumps Discourage Comprehension
Consider the average Internet reader to have about the same attention span for reading as a first grader. Big chunks of text will usually make someone skip on to something else that looks more interesting or miss half of your content.
The Internet is Like Written TV
I have found the evolution of the Internet quite fascinating over the past 20 years or so of Internet history. At first, everything was like, “Oh cool, let me tell you how to hand-carve a ukulele from a single block of oak wood in 100,000 words without pictures.”
Then, of course, pictures and video came along, and now, every web page is competing for the attention of millions of visitors. That is why you will see videos and things with people literally jumping around the screen like a four year old on crack just to keep the attention of viewers.
Watch this one:
When you are using the “old” communication method of writing, you have to do the same thing with words. That is why short blocks of text and easy-to-read sentences do best.
Text Alone Is Not Enough
You know what people don’t want to read online? Words.
That is why pictures and video have become the Internet. If you want someone to read your posts, of course you need to add the visual of pictures. Things like infographics, charts, pictures of animals, and funny captions will keep someone reading even if they hate reading. A good set of photos or graphics are essential to a successful online post.
Here is an infographic I made up just now:
See, doesn’t that make this post so much more fun?
So, it turns out, the rules of Internet writing are much different than school writing. Keep things simple, don’t overwhelm with text, and add plenty of fun ways for people to engage and fight over stuff! It’s easy!
Happy writing everyone!