Skimming

There was a fella on NPR giving a little commentary in which he said that he didn't want to hear about what you put on your blog.  Maybe he'll skim your blog once a week or once a month, but that's it.  Just too many damn blogs, too little time.  Diane Sawyer once said that in an information economy, attention is the ultimate currency.

I look at the keyword system that this WordPress has, the possibility to create pages and such, and I know the rules.  If I want more people here, I have to make this blog more accessible, more organized, simpler and easier to skim.

To get and keep attention, you have to entertain.  Make people think that they are thinking and they will love you.  Make them really think and they will hate you.  People will pay to be entertained, but not to be educated.  It's the reaffirmation and rearrangement of current assumptions most people want, not the challenge of them.  The most compelling thing for most people is the most comforting thing they can find, the bold affirmation of their current prejudices.  Just ask Bill O'Reilly.

So I hear this and I know this, and I wonder if I can make my life, my thoughts and my feelings, easier to skim. 

To do that, though, I have to use shorthand codes that play into your assumptions and expectations.  The only thing you can skim is something that you pretty well understand already, an old thought couched in a slightly new way.   Nuance is lost.

When was I kid I used to read fast, real fast. Senior year, Ms. Spousta was to teach speedreading, so I took the class.  First day she ran the click flimstrip projector at top speed, 800 words per minute, just to familarize us.  She was surprised when I asked to take the comprehension test after that first run.  I scored 80% comprehension, for an effective 640 words per minute.  According to my progress graph, she actually slowed my reading speed by over 75%, since I never scored more than 150 WPM after that — 100% comprehension with a projector running at 150 WPM.

My grandfather told me that I was missing something reading as fast as I was, and after hearing tales of prisoners of war who read one page per day to make things last, I understood that he might be right.  I learned not to rip read, but to try and get nuance.

Can I make my narrative more skimmable?  Can I make my life more accessible, so that guy who doesn't have time to actually engage the lives of his friends might just be able to glance at text I wrote and have it quickly fit into his system of thinking?

Rishaya's been going to her therapist for a long time.  This is a person trained and paid to listen and understand nuance, but even now, they think Cheryl is a crossdresser, refer to her "dressing."  Cheryl lived as a woman twenty years ago, and has come to a place where she is centered, the same person no matter what she wears, just like any other woman. 

If a professional psychiatrist can't get the nuance after years, how can I expect skimmers to get the point?  Heck, even most trannys who haven't been the places I have been, who don't have the scars, don't get what I'm saying.

If it's not skimmable, it doesn't have enough value to engage.

If I'm not skimmable, I don't have enough value to engage.

I've spent decades trying to find a way to speak what is inside in a way that can be heard, in a clear and understandable way.  And what I have kept hearing is that my narrative is still not skimmable, still requires too much work.

Not worth it.