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Our TL;DR Society

Posted on January 21, 2017 by Jeff Pollard


We live in a society where people have increasingly short attention spans. As marketers, our mission is to create concise and engaging content that capture our audience’s attention.

There’s a phrase that has become popular in the past couple of years, you may have heard someone use it in everyday language. Or you may have even seen it on a news or community discussion website. It means: “Too Long; Didn’t Read”.

I think the sheer fact that this phrase even exists should tell us a great deal about where our society is right now. Years ago, we would tell clients that their website must convey who their business is and what they do in about 10 seconds or less. More recently, we’re likely to suggest that they now only have about 5 seconds to convey that critical information before the visitor might lose interest.

The truth of the matter is: This evolving behavior isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This mentality can actually drive us to create more engaging messages, more succinct copy, and organize our content in ways that will captivate these TL;DR folks and cause them read a little deeper.

So What Can I Do?

Here are some quick tips to make your content more easily digestible:

  • If you have long content, try summarizing it in the first paragraph or two. Or if your content is really long, consider breaking it up into separate articles.
  • Use imagery. As the saying goes, a picture can say a thousand words. Using good photos can help illustrate your message just as well (and maybe even better) than your words can.
  • Break up your content with creative and descriptive sub-headlines. Most users will scan the page in an “F” pattern looking for interesting content. Sub-headlines give readers waypoints along the way to guide their scanning.

And even aside from the marketing angle of this topic, consider how beneficial it could be to be succinct with all of your communication. Take email messages, for example. We all receive more emails in a day than we prefer, so why not make each message as concise as possible? Save the small talk for your next networking event.

So the next time you’re creating content for your website, blog, or email campaign, think about how you can quickly hook your audience and keep them engaged. Need assistance coming up with clever ways to engage your audience? Contact Us and we’ll do a site assessment with recommendations for improvement.

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About the author:

Jeff Pollard

Partner, Director of Technology

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Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.