by Derek Morrison

It’s Too Long; Didn’t Read
Headlines only, get news at speed
For we digital natives do multitask
Our Twitter feed does all we ask
Collecting ‘likes’ and lots of ‘friends’
Or keeping up with latest trends
No time here for complexity
Keep it simple sans perplexity
Tell us what we want to hear
Or no longer will you have our ear
Eliminated at lightning speed
Like this; Too Long; Didn’t Read.

[To listen to this verse select below]


TLDR is the acronym (internet, jargon/slang) used by a user responding to an online news item or message that they perceive as either too verbose, complex, or just requiring too much time and effort to process. The ascent of social media platforms and services have created a culture of ultra-short form communication, thus emphasising headlines rather than prose. Nuance, complex argumentation and evidence does not tend to thrive in such a restricted ecosystem. Constrained messaging environments certainly have their place in modern communications but, arguably, they also habituate users to short-form news and views from sources of comfort that confirm or reinforce a world view. Such conditioning makes social media platforms attractive to skilled practitioners of political, ideological or commercial ‘spin’ who can then exploit users’ preference for brevity and headlines (for a longer-form consideration of associated issues see also Fake News, Cyberstanza, 23 March 2017).

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