This is my first post on Paragraph and I'm already enjoying what it feels like to write here. The platform's AI-generated suggestions make for fun brainstorming and, while I don't end up incorporating any here, make it easier to get started. No one likes blank pages (or pixels).
Writing is hard. Even having the brightest of ideas will not necessarily make the act of writing them down any easier. As a result many good ideas get lost along the way. Twitter's shorter character length was a big unlock here. And I'm excited about a future where more ideas make it out into the open through the medium of mid-to-long form essays. Our world needs nuance more than ever.
More writing will mean that there is more to read. Candidly, this makes me nervous. I already subscribe to several newsletters and bulletins, and every week my inbox becomes flooded with interesting ideas and questions. As much as I try, I struggle to get through them all in a way that does them justice.
I like to read at a slower pace. I pause at clauses that are unique or unexpected, often reread lines, and tend to take a more forensic approach to digesting text.
Luckily, there are email clients like Shortwave that provide a 'summary view' of these articles so I can get a general overview of what's up, then selectively choose what I want to double down on.
This makes me wonder whether something like a summary view could ever exist at the content layer. What if blogs were more interactive with readers? Do you want the 1-minute story, the 5-minute, or the 10-minute? What if, like a window blind, blogs could be furled up or down based on reader preference?
Many writers may push back on this and it would be fair of them to do so. 'TLDRs' could cheapen the work. Some ideas too intricate for condensation. It's readers who should make room for reading, not reading that must shrink itself for readers. These concerns are valid and vary of course by the nature of the writing in question.
And yet I still go back to the puzzle: if we live in an era when language is as plentiful as ever and attention spans as short as ever, how do ensure we spend our reading time effectively? So that, when the next page-turner comes along, we have the time turn the pages. Tools for readers, in addition to writers, might be the solution.
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