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March 18, 2016

Rant of the Month: Is the Web Becoming a Giant Tweet?

I am trying to write some articles based on my notes with companies I met at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I am always impressed by reporters that can type as fast as others speak.  I have this problem where I tend to think more than listen and that makes it hard for me to take complete notes.

Instead, I write the key concepts to the points that are being made and refer to them in general but not in direct quotes.  For backup then I go to the Web to remind me of the product features, the key markets and other aspects of the value proposition the company wants to express.

Normally that works.

However, the Web is now getting to a new stage of design where instead of navigating information from the company, the webpage is a giant tweet of marketing message.

What seems to be lost is that often this messaging is a hindrance -- not a help -- in making the connection, sale or point.

One company has this giant message: “We offer a diverse range of flexible models and solutions.”

Here is probably a good rule of thumb. If the sentence is so vague it could be used equally by a military recruiter and an escort service, it probably is not helping your reader make a decision as to what to do next.

Worse yet, this page is from a company with a name that is equally vague (but not mentioned to protect them from further embarrassment).

Now to be clear, this is just an example, but I see this all over the Web, often with background video of people doing activities (not necessarily related to the website).

I recognize that with crowd journalism and so many other social solutions, the need to make your presence known causes people to broadcast trivial things like your dinner plate. And I recognize you often get positive feedback for drivel.

Once, years ago, I wrote about cleaning up a public toilet and I had a week of interaction with appreciators and hecklers.

I also recognize that dealing with smart phones and small screens forces an economy of words. The answer is to know and show the power of story and to guide the user experience, not put up a billboard on superhighway.

I try not to waste the reader’s time. I try to make a point, provide information or offer perspective. I would hope that your website does similar.  As for this article, I think it may already be closer to the complaint than the solution, so I will stop.

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