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.

Bending perception to connect a concept twitter.com/RoyalVoxPost/s… 12 hours ago

“Our Machines Now Have Knowledge We’ll Never Understand” @dweinberger backchannel.com/our-machines-n… 2 days ago

A digital window into daring fish twitter.com/CanGeo/status/… 5 days ago

“Humans have always integrated themselves with technology... The camera didn’t make painting extinct.” ow.ly/K4qR30bFATq 6 days ago

test Twitter Media - “Humans have always integrated themselves with technology... The camera didn’t make painting extinct.” 
https://t.co/LBc8DONcdb https://t.co/TnZkoryC21

Dutch sculpture traces the image associations of Google Googles fastcodesign.com/90124938/one-a… 1 week ago

test Twitter Media - Dutch sculpture traces the image associations of Google Googles
https://t.co/OL91da6uz5 https://t.co/Wae8NYzoFe

finally, a phone that's designed to help you stop using it... ow.ly/CrnV30bDE4r 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - finally, a phone that's designed to help you stop using it... https://t.co/2VPJUJfokV https://t.co/V8zC09YcHk

RT @hyperallergic: 50 Years of bringing "cutting-edge technologies to the art world" hyperallergic.com/377762/50-year… 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - RT @hyperallergic: 50 Years of bringing "cutting-edge technologies to the art world" https://t.co/8qNZc0QVeO https://t.co/pWImQ58fPP

A camera "trained" to recognize award-winning news photos reveals tech's influence on our taste and imagery ow.ly/B3fP30bDAt1 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - A camera "trained" to recognize award-winning news photos reveals tech's influence on our taste and imagery https://t.co/FqNlamDR3C https://t.co/lPqn7cThY2

Ain't no revolution like a data revolution. Woot. thedrum.com/news/2017/05/1… 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - Ain't no revolution like a data revolution. Woot. 
https://t.co/U0YCeljUDd https://t.co/rN6XGpup88

tattoo tech! but does it sound more fuzzy over time? twitter.com/WTOP/status/86… 2 weeks ago

twitter.com/Ted_Bray/statu… 2 weeks ago

Cubs' Joe Maddon curious about robot umpires "I'm going back and forth on this one. I don't know." es.pn/2phRHAq 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - Cubs' Joe Maddon curious about robot umpires "I'm going back and forth on this one. I don't know." https://t.co/KtQRHltAnK https://t.co/laCSxIldZb

... and here's a bit about how AI makes decisions: ow.ly/bDcc30brd9K 3 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - ... and here's a bit about how AI makes decisions: https://t.co/poCW0AlYTA https://t.co/pAiWGhmNvQ

Groups are fuzzier than you might think... here's how AI does it: ow.ly/S3Qt30brcS8 3 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - Groups are fuzzier than you might think... here's how AI does it:  https://t.co/nUPsaQmJwG https://t.co/2IEOT3ZxQ9

Celebrating one year of real-life stories about cognitive and other leading technology twitter.com/halljolene/sta… 3 weeks ago

“AI will perform as an artist... This is the art of our time. Art is ahead of events,” said Omarov (robotically) ow.ly/odPW30bgDti 4 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - “AI will perform as an artist... This is the art of our time. Art is ahead of events,” said Omarov (robotically) 
https://t.co/LZFWCUgPIi https://t.co/uCBotIWiFu

Confidence doing a U-turn on driverless cars? twitter.com/RWW/status/857… 4 weeks ago

"Self-publishing is a real force in the world today" twitter.com/LAReviewofBook… 4 weeks ago

twitter.com/toggltime/stat… 1 month 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.