Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tips n' Tricks

Here’s to secret to writing online articles: Tangential anecdotes.

Consider the following example: A few months back, I was visiting my friend in New York. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call him James. (Actually, that’s his real name, but he doesn’t read this blog so it serves him right.)

James and I were shopping for various sundries at a Target in Midtown Manhattan. We were browsing down the aisle, and apparently my friend moved in front of a middle-aged man.

Now remember, this is New York. Did the man politely ask James to move? Did the man simply move around Jamie and continue on his way?

Nope. He chose to kick James, instead.

It was light, on the shin. So light you’d think it was an accident, but I watched it happen. The man deliberately kicked my friend on the shin and then walked away, as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. That kick is New York, to me. Where there should be politeness, or at least indifference, you get a kick in the shin instead.

But it brings me back to my original point, which is this: look how far down on the page we are! That was a good five paragraphs that didn’t have anything to do with my original point, and we’ve gotta be at least halfway done by now.

Another good thing to keep in mind when writing articles online is the audience’s short attention span. Due to a potent combination of video games, 30-second commercials, 5-minute web clips and Twitter, (which, incidentally, is my arch nemesis and a post in-and-of itself) the average member of our society now has the attention span of a hummingbird on speed. The key is to exploit this with shiny things

Another fun trick is to embed videos. This will make readers think that the entire article was about the embedded video, and if they watch it there's no reason to read all those annoying words. Watch me trick lazy readers by posting this:

Try it yourself! With these powerful tools, you can write your own rambling, nonsensical blog posts. Of course, you’d also have to take five minutes to register the space with a site like blogger or wordpress, and you probably don’t have the patience for that.