In our world of diminished attention spans, words still matter

Yes, people love video and images, but conveying important concepts requires stringing letters into phrases to reach your audience and land your message. You’re reading this, aren’t you?

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Ah, writing. Such a mysterious, maligned, battered, contorted craft. Anyone can do it. I once saw a show about a bonobo who could type.

Are you still with me? That first paragraph was pretty long.

It’s OK, I’m a bit of a scanner myself—headlines, bullet points, things that are bold or shiny. Which stinks, given that I write for a living. Sigh.

There’s never been a worse time in history to have a job that hinges on stringing together words in a pleasing, purposeful manner. Writers used to be held in high esteem.

I bet that on career day in ancient Mesopotamia, the kid whose dad carved Hammurabi’s Code held his head high and couldn’t wait for his old man to regale his jealous classmates with tales of cuneiform glory—and babble on.

The other problem with writing today is you. Not you, specifically. It’s all of us. Our minds have become warped, our attention spans obliterated by the relentless onslaught of distractions, screens, social media and content we all must endure.

Now that humans’ concentration powers have been deemed worse than those of goldfish, do words really matter anymore?

Hail, mighty visuals

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