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.

vintage visionary twitter.com/Distinctboxes/… 5 days ago

The "Descendants" series explores "humanoid figures, printed using multi-color, multi-material 3D printing" ow.ly/fyDo30a0jOU 1 week ago

test Twitter Media - The "Descendants" series explores "humanoid figures, printed using multi-color, multi-material 3D printing" https://t.co/cKaM34JsJO https://t.co/Nt63vYma7N

"Bengtsson's 'computational design' process uses digital simulation to generate the natural growth of shapes" ow.ly/8U0C30a0jhS 1 week ago

test Twitter Media - "Bengtsson's 'computational design' process uses digital simulation to generate the natural growth of shapes" https://t.co/7d7CyNpEpX https://t.co/lz2XqMjpYP

"Mordatch and his collaborators created a world where bots ... create their own language as a way collaborating" ow.ly/F7QK30a0iCG 1 week ago

test Twitter Media - "Mordatch and his collaborators created a world where bots ... create their own language as a way collaborating" https://t.co/6H7OgiZD61 https://t.co/bosUOjFN4k

Chip designer predicts chips with an IQ of 10,000 within 30 years. "We will be less than our shoes…" architosh.com/2017/03/arm-sa… 2 weeks ago

30 AI experts say the technology's future is in conversation, trust, and creativity: ibm.com/cognitive/adva… 3 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - 30 AI experts say the technology's future is in conversation, trust, and creativity: 
https://t.co/ObY63eC3C9 https://t.co/g55mlJv5Ak

"[Versus AI], one parameter which will always render the starving artist more attractive as an art-producer: cost." ow.ly/Hsqe309w7dz 4 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - "[Versus AI], one parameter which will always render the starving artist more attractive as an art-producer: cost."
https://t.co/oJZx81MlV2 https://t.co/xg7iuwNrcN

Art input, art output? Feeding a cognitive system with culture to see what it creates ow.ly/sEsd309tqdi 4 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - Art input, art output? Feeding a cognitive system with culture to see what it creates 
https://t.co/ZJERKbjY6X https://t.co/KJRnJoWTHk

"Using bits & pieces of information and photographs, she reconstructs lost artifacts through 3D-printed sculptures" ow.ly/el4L309cZKu 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - "Using bits & pieces of information and photographs, she reconstructs lost artifacts through 3D-printed sculptures" https://t.co/ZV9gGSxa48 https://t.co/gGeoOCslD7

"... by 2020 she expects the average person to have more conversations with chat bots than with human staff." zdnet.com/article/emotio… 1 month ago

MIT enhances AI plan-making by encoding human strategies--is it intuitive AI? ow.ly/NMkz3091Y2T 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - MIT enhances AI plan-making by encoding human strategies--is it intuitive AI? https://t.co/Uiy8s79EQp https://t.co/cwLv3Zj0kn

"There’s been this pattern throughout my career where I was drawn toward this breakthrough area."--Thomas Dolby ow.ly/YOgf308Rohn 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - "There’s been this pattern throughout my career where I was drawn toward this breakthrough area."--Thomas Dolby
https://t.co/jFBpY3VueH https://t.co/qBSHQO6TJG

DeepMind tries creating AI social science models to test policies and interventions deepmind.com/blog/understan… 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - DeepMind tries creating AI social science models to test policies and interventions https://t.co/G7tQYWMYUA https://t.co/B2E32YJZNH

$70M "Digital - Nation Africa" Watson platform helps 25 million people build IT skills for free ow.ly/S8Wa308Rp73 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - $70M "Digital - Nation Africa" Watson platform helps 25 million people build IT skills for free
https://t.co/RmNdQ86wNA https://t.co/4FZbzR24my

"Humans Need Not Apply" exhibit in Dublin-- "the types of jobs that are changing are nuanced." ow.ly/Xsbf308RnQr 2 months ago

test Twitter Media - "Humans Need Not Apply" exhibit in Dublin-- "the types of jobs that are changing are nuanced."
https://t.co/lcwHHGBD91 https://t.co/AsPM89TFrJ

"I also like people not being totally confined to roles of either artist or activist or researcher" ow.ly/gLt2308NU1P 2 months ago

test Twitter Media - "I also like people not being totally confined to roles of either artist or activist or researcher"
 https://t.co/Lk8bCmDsL7 https://t.co/90GTXPg9wC

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.