Writing for scanners

From a post titled Offline Storytelling for Online Scanners by Karina who works at Big Spaceship:

Most of what we do can be classified as digital – which means we’re telling stories in the very environment that has spawned so many Scanners. Our stories live in a “place” that cannot be measured or contained…in formats where just one tap of a finger can lead you either deeper into the story or away from it completely…and in networks designed so that they cannot really exist without the participation of others.

She’s talking about how online content is often consumed shallowly and at breakneck speed. I’m certain that, for the majority of the content I consume, I put in the minimum effort required to take in either the general gist or the essential part. I’ll scan down a page (picking out images, sub-headers and bold text), skip through a YouTube video or skim-read the titles in my RSS reader before hitting ‘mark all as read’.

I’m interested in ways of communicating with people who’re in that mode:

  • Respecting their time and habits by finding ways to deliver content in ways that suit that sort of consumption
  • Finding ways to slow people down
  • Disregarding the scanners completely and catering for people who want to take their time

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.