Why ‘SEO friendly’ blogs are so crap.

We like The New Yorker, because we like writing. It’s one of the few magazines that still fearlessly publishes page after page of dense but well written prose.

But it might not be such an endangered species after all. A recent article by Maria Konnikova explains why.

Stavanger University’s Anne Mangen explains that reading is an ongoing negotiation between the reader and the medium. Reading on scrollable media encourages skimming behaviour. And hyperlinks, ads, and other distractions typical of ‘digital copywriting’ make concentration even more difficult.

Reading online tires us out.

As if that wasn’t enough, the process of writing in digital is different too. If anything, the ease involved encourages writers to be sloppy.

Reflect on this story about Nietzsche form the Atlantic’s Nicholas Carr.


Verbal Identity’s second favourite German philosopher. (Sorry Ludvig, we don’t need you this week.)

Nietzsche wrote in longhand. When eyestrain stopped him later in life, he learned to touch type with his eyes shut. But something strange happened; his style – which was already very tight – became even tighter. Too tight.

Another German scholar said his writing, “… changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.”

Writing with a typewriter made things too easy.

We’re not saying digital is the Dark Side of the Force or anything.

Actually, we are.