Google-ized brains and how you communicate

by Michele on January 10, 2013

Consider information overload when you communicateI find myself saying more and more that our brains have become Google-ized.  It’s not meant to pick on Google (which I love) but as a shorthand way of saying overloaded, drowning with input and managing more stuff than ever before.  I’m increasingly finding that when I’m out just talking to people casually that I have to alter the way I speak because I can’t count on someone’s attention long enough to express a complex thought in 3 sentences.  I’m rushing when I talk and trying to compress everything into the smallest number of words possible.  While the change has been slow over the past decade, it seems to have really changed a lot in the last 3 to 5 years.  One way I’ve changed is that I often shop for a short article on something I want to learn about rather than read a long one because I don’t know if I want to read a long one yet.  In other words, I often won’t read a long article on something unless I know beforehand that the subject is worth it to me.



I haven’t seen this as much in business conversations but I think that makes sense.  If we’re together to do business or talk about business, it doesn’t make much sense to rush and speak in simple terms.  We’ve both committed time and energy to accomplish something, so we put more effort into being effective with our communication.

The important of this is that when people consume your information or content, they may be in a frame of mind where they are looking for a quick read, a fast conclusion, one simple concept or a two-minute breather.  You can’t know what your reader’s current frame of mind is when they encounter your content.

As someone who wants other people to read your content, what do you do?

Where possible, consider making your content accessible by as many people as possible regardless of their frame of mind.  This doesn’t mean you have to withhold your brilliance, but it does require some adapting.  Keep your articles and blog posts on the short side and make them focused on just one point.  People can do a quick read, get the point and move on.  If you have a more complex concept to present, consider breaking it into individual pieces and linking them.  That allows people to get the information a little bit at a time.  Tailor your content to the situation – if it’s an article or blog post, you can’t count on much commitment.  If it’s a tweet, there’s even less incentive to read it and be focused on it.  If it’s a ebook your reader paid for, they probably have a higher level of commitment to the material.

In short, don’t ever dull your brilliance but when possible present it in a way that make it available to as many people as possible no matter what their frame of mind is at the time.


Comments

  1. Mozette says:

    I’ve noticed this too with people; that their attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Just last Sunday, I sat with a few neighbours I didn’t know very well while they were sharing a few drinks late that night (as a few other neighbours had kept everyone else up too). We talked about attention span and I found that if they found something interesting, they’ll pay attention, but if not, they’ll ignore it.

    For me, I’m kind of the same. If I want to spend time on something, I’ll make sure I spend time on it and it has my full attention. However, if I find it’s not all that interesting to me, I have trouble being interested, no matter how much it interests somebody else.

    And being a blogger, I’ve found that when I broach a subject in any of my blogs, I have to make it sound bigger than it really is – more exciting than anything anyone’s come across, more colourful than my audience has seen – to keep them reading; no matter how long my blog post is. I did a complete history on Glo-Mesh Handbags (which is a tough one to do now because there really isn’t that much about them around) and I had to talk to my Mum and Dad and retailers and e-mail manufacturers and get websites and really put in the hard yards for my people. And once the article was up – and it was a long one – I included links in the article and on the side bar and I had over 1,000 hits on that article alone! I was amazed at how many people read it!
    Another one I had a lot of hits on was about Permeate in Milk here in Australia; and how the companies had been using it to make our milk go further… it has also been making most of the country sick. I did a lot of research and found out exactly what Permeate was – the one in the milk – and informed my peeps about it all. I had over 200 hits on that one post from here in my own country as well as Europe, the USA and in Africa… it was amazing!

    So, I have found that no matter how long the article you’ve written, so long it’s interesting and full of the right information, websites and attention to detail as well as written the right way, you’ll keep the people interested.

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