Sunday, March 4, 2007

Suggestion Box

Ever have one of those days when your cursor gets stuck in the search mode?

No. I'm not talking dirty. Rather, I'm trying to unstick thoughts that keep fluttering just out of range. Goes something like this ... blogs are just the beginning.

The rise of the Citizen Journalist? In some cases, yes. But most of the 50 million blogs are similar to this one. Musings on a theme. Very little breaking news. And that's OK.

Mainstream media is under threat by changing times,institutional arrogance, and, in many instances, by bloggers breaking news. Equally threating is the lost of classified ad revenue to Craig's List. And yet journalism schools continue to teach the old way. So far.

Back to blogs. Some blogs challenge readability. Thankfully Blogger and Technorati and other enablers have given some thought to things like line length, type size, color, etc. But somebody needs to give some thought to those pesky advertisements that blink and move and otherwise impede reading the blogger's material. Some colorized backgrounds work better than others. Speaking of type, serif or sans? And don't you need a bit larger type since readers are already a day older?

Most bloggers have never heard of Rudolph Flesch and his magical readability formula. Make haste directly to Wikipedia. Do not pass Go. These old fashioned rules can help your writing.

Which gets us to reading. Not easy, reading is, on the Web. For one thing, readers scroll up and down rather than turn pages, but you've figured that out already. Some geek somewhere needs to examine what makes the electronic product easier on the eye. Why? Baby Boomers are going to need help.

For hundreds of years, reading has been made up of eyeballing blocks of gray type surrounded by white space. Enter the Blog complete with video, photos, and type that flashes. Computer logic overrides reading logic. The page gets busy. And I usually get a headache cured only by white wine in Texas and red in Minnesota.

Note to geeks everywhere -- fix it and you'll be doing yourself a favor. Trust me.


(Note: gallbladder surgery is scheduled Monday. Excused absence.)


Denise said...

Loved your post on the blogs. Some are intellectual, some are stupid, some are pornographic but they're all so diverse. It's a free country, but there are some real dingos out there, let me tell ya! Good luck with the surgery -- it's the best thing you'll ever do!!

Anonymous said...

In grad school we learned to use the Fry Readability Graph, but they're all just a guide. Still it was fun to read that someone actually used the term and I could relate to it!
This is the first time I've read your blog, not my last.

sph said...

Have I told you that I love the way you put words together? Even if I didn't know you, I think I would love the way you write. (Maybe because I read in your voice when it's written by you) I find it amazing how well your words flow. No font or page or reference book can make a person a writer. Hope the absence of that gall bladder doesn't effect that - I'd miss it awfully.

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