Category Archives: ideas

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.

"art doesn’t need to be tangible to appreciate it" twitter.com/dougwarner/sta… 3 hours ago

On writing and clarity: twitter.com/POETSorg/statu… 4 days ago

"With such a concept in mind, we at Bam! decided to work on architecture and landscape simultaneously"  twitter.com/Dezeen/status/… 1 week ago

What does AI *want*? Artificial reality, or reality? vimeo.com/220442625 1 week ago

twitter.com/HistoryInPix/s… 2 weeks ago

Björk: Artists must help define and mold technology "Because who else is going to put humanity and soul into it?" twitter.com/CreativeReview… 2 weeks ago

With WiFi access to online books, the New York subway becomes a rolling library nypl.org/blog/2017/06/0… 2 weeks ago

test Twitter Media - With WiFi access to online books, the New York subway becomes a rolling library  
https://t.co/bzL2KS624q https://t.co/pA5soViLxV

Using virtual reality to inform planning and create a palimpsest of environment and experience vimeo.com/184694770 2 weeks ago

... and some of Dirk Koy's VR art to try on your mobile vimeo.com/220002430 2 weeks ago

A South Korean company worked with a movie designer for this 1.6T $8mil robot slated to sell in time for Christmas youtu.be/rgZ90-hm6Cs 3 weeks ago

"Secondary dumb phones could be the gateway drug to a whole inventory of retro telecommunication tools" twitter.com/ElectricLit/st… 4 weeks ago

biotechnology as a form of expression(?) coconuts.co/singapore/life… 1 month ago

test Twitter Media - biotechnology as a form of expression(?)
https://t.co/zW23y0Pak3 https://t.co/IJIZDXzpCk

"Art depends upon surpassing itself — the idea of the new, and actively working to defy prior expectations." ozy.com/fast-forward/t… 1 month ago

Bending perception to connect a concept twitter.com/RoyalVoxPost/s… 1 month ago

“Our Machines Now Have Knowledge We’ll Never Understand” @dweinberger backchannel.com/our-machines-n… 1 month ago

A digital window into daring fish twitter.com/CanGeo/status/… 1 month ago

“Humans have always integrated themselves with technology... The camera didn’t make painting extinct.” ow.ly/K4qR30bFATq 1 month 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 month ago

test Twitter Media - Dutch sculpture traces the image associations of Google Googles
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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.