Author Archives: Red Writing

Ideas and more

Just below is a window into my Twitter feed (@RyansWriting).
Also on this page, I have a brief bio, some music, and links to my core blogs about communication.

"Using a weighted average of the various people being tracked, the mirrors rotate to face the nearest person" twitter.com/russellmanthy/… 5 days ago

"these responsive, even sensitive machines truly create a sense of encounter with a digital life form" @rAndomHQ theguardian.com/artanddesign/2… 6 days ago

“The bots learned to lie. ‘This behavior was not programmed by the researchers,’ Facebook wrote in a blog post” newsweek.com/ai-facebook-ar… 2 weeks ago

“They float like giant bioluminescent sea creatures from an age that is at once prehistoric and futuristic.” @artnet news.artnet.com/exhibitions/sh… 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - “They float like giant bioluminescent sea creatures from an age that is at once prehistoric and futuristic.” @artnet
https://t.co/1qcB0tLu9n https://t.co/HJkTfsIugW

“teaching computers to identify emotions in music is a bit like therapy: First, you name your feelings.” @Variety variety.com/2017/digital/n… 2 weeks ago

AI network creates art that’s rated as more “intentional, visually structured, communicative, and inspiring” ow.ly/Qx6k30e8PXw 3 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - AI network creates art that’s rated as more “intentional, visually structured, communicative, and inspiring”
https://t.co/kftk0mMkiY https://t.co/SyBKhmF1Pe

Reversing the trend and using AI as art's inspiration rather than its end... artplusmarketing.com/digital-proces… 3 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - Reversing the trend and using AI as art's inspiration rather than its end... https://t.co/w589jXQPf6 https://t.co/0VG5oYEm0m

New electronics that can dissolve into the body, for everything from wearable electronics to large-scale surveys ow.ly/Kd8N30dJvLF 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - New electronics that can dissolve into the body, for everything from wearable electronics to large-scale surveys
https://t.co/0XdgABSfqb https://t.co/9Fh7Nchqlm

My new favorite number to text: twitter.com/RachelleJervis… 1 month ago

Battling with Technology: “It cannot be adequately reviewed,” he wrote. “It must be read.” twitter.com/LAReviewofBook… 1 month ago

twitter.com/CreativeReview… 2 months ago

Not sure how I would feel about being called artificially intelligent… twitter.com/TheLiamMurphy/… 2 months ago

TMFA creates Close copies of art and sells them to ask: Could an AI auto-Warhol steal some high-level work? ow.ly/xzLt30d7Bjr 2 months ago

"art doesn’t need to be tangible to appreciate it" twitter.com/dougwarner/sta… 2 months ago

On writing and clarity: twitter.com/POETSorg/statu… 2 months ago

"With such a concept in mind, we at Bam! decided to work on architecture and landscape simultaneously"  twitter.com/Dezeen/status/… 2 months ago

What does AI *want*? Artificial reality, or reality? vimeo.com/220442625 2 months ago

There’s a Lot to be Said for Saying Less

Stripping Down to Brief

Every writer has heard that it’s better to be brief. Brevity improves reader engagement, clarity, retention, and more. “Brief” is hard to be, though. It requires us to draw a distinct limit around how much we say.

We must decide to say:

Here. This text is the most important message. There are other details and qualifications that are at least somewhat important, but I’m not going to state them here because I don’t want to distract from this:
[essential message]

… or, to be brief …

This is essential:
[essential message]

As shown in the examples, longer text might offer more clarification, but that clarification reduces clarity. In the shorter text, brevity drives home the message, and uses the power of the word “essential.” Thanks to the brevity of the second statement, the audience can immediately read, understand, and even remember it.

Brief is Better. How Do I Get There?

How do we put “brevity” into practice? What are the steps to writing for brevity?

  1. First of all, hunt down any redundancy. Squash it. Like the second sentence above. One might argue that “It’s reinforcing the point,” but unless it’s adding relevant information that can’t be included in the first sentence, it’s just watering things down. If the first sentence needs reinforcement, then it’s weak—rewrite it, rather than propping it up.
  2. Use headings and structure (like numbered lists!) to create a path for skimming, navigation for non-linear reading, and points for reference.
  3. Pick better terms, rather than using qualifiers. Focus on the words that are there, and use their power.
  4. Assume that your reader is about to walk away. Don’t fall into the trap of writing for yourself. Write for someone who looks like they are disengaged, and about to stop reading—you might be right.
  5. As with any writing, set it aside and come back to it later. You’ll find things you can improve.

I’ll leave it there.