Have you noticed that over the course of the last few years, communication via the internet seems to be expecting us to express more using fewer words? It has become commonplace to see yellow smiley faces to represent happiness and other moods, acronyms such as roflol to represent that we are laughing (rolling on the floor laughing out loud) and tweets in 140 words or less.
On web sites we are asked to summarize ourselves using no more than 25 key words, or to give a quick synopsis of our expertise in a profile, or lists our “needs” and “wants” in less than 50 words for each category. We are told that in order to be understood, we should write for an 8th grade student or below (using the United States educational system as an example). We are encouraged to think in outline form using bullets or numbers to help clarify our statements for readers. We are expected to be “politically correct” in the United States and “culturally correct” and sensitive when using the written words without the benefit of body language or facial expressions to help connote the meaning and the respect.
With all the expectation, we are learning how to be succinct. We use shorter sentences. We adopt the headline news approach in our emails in order to avoid the undesired “spam” filter. We use smaller words – words that will not send someone to the dictionary to determine the meaning. Our hiring officials generally take less than a minute to review a resume, and may discard for errors in punctuation or grammar on first review.
In short, the demands on us are now to adapt to the quick bite. We must communicate our information and questions rapidly. The pace of life and work seems quickened by this need to get the “point across” in short order. Should our children be taught in school to be succinct? Is brevity the goal? If it is, we may lose some of the beauty of words, thoughts, ideas, creativity, and expressiveness along the way.
Have you mastered the art of being succinct without losing your authenticity?
What is your buzz about?