Short and fast

Online readers want info app

Actually, we all know it ourselves, because it is certainly true at first glance: online, we don’t want to read long and difficult texts on the screen, we just want to inform ourselves quickly. But is that all the wisdom?

According to a survey of 2,200 internet users conducted by jupiter communications about their reception of online news, at least everything seems to be quite clear: while more and more internet users are turning to online news for breaking news, they spend an average of only about 10 minutes there to get an overview of the news. Forty percent of people still watch tv to find out what’s new, but online news has already overtaken broadcast news (12 percent) and, of course, the slowly plodding newspapers (2 percent) in this respect.

61 percent read national and international news, 39 percent business news and 34 percent sports news. This is followed by entertainment news with 31 percent, regional information with 26 percent and finally technology news with 20.6 percent.

Because of the short attention span invested in online news, half of the hurried infonauts are drawn to search engines or portals such as yahoo or msn, and 40 percent to online services such as america online. Here you will find up-to-date headlines and short news items from various sources, but no long texts or in-depth analyses. Because readers read news online only in short blocks of time and choose specific sites that offer it accordingly, jupiter communication recommends that online editors focus even more on short and current news and then make more extensive offers or links to them, instead of "in-depth analyses" . No wonder, then, that news agencies are on the rise as a source of information.

If one were to proceed according to the recommendation, then the news should be divided into the fast online world of info snippets and the moderate print world of more detailed texts with background information. At the very least, however, online offers should appear as attention grabbers on the homepage with short news items that are constantly updated, and then group the more difficult to digest texts around them. So one buys in with a news agency, which supply evenly this contents. This dries up the diversity of the news – and then perhaps also leads to the fact that, if one sees the same thing everywhere, one turns again to other media, unless the approach to the expectations strengthens them further and then only information rags are offered.

Sure, people don’t like to read long texts on the screen, but then print them out at the highest possible rate, because this (still?) so gewohnt ist, man im augenblick, z.B. At work, does not have enough time, or print the costs, which always also drive to hurry. We do not want to lament about the impoverishment of the (political) culture, which could be caused by the supposed adaptation to the reading, listening and viewing habits, but it is obvious that this is a spiral in which attention is trained. If all the offers are designed only as attention traps, it leads to more and more competitive prere for short, fast and pragnant diversions in order to keep the attention, which becomes more and more volatile and demanding in this respect.

But you don’t just have to become a pessimist and talk about cultural decay, which is exacerbated by every new attention-grabbing medium, you can also see the advantages of online media that many agencies and news providers, especially in this country, have not yet fully exploited. Most of the time, the reports are still as isolated on the web as if they were printed texts. Hardly any links to further texts are placed in the own offer or to the outside. There seems to be a fear behind it, one could lose the readers, but maybe also that the readers could become too self-reliant and start to see through the tricks of the journalists in comparison with the original documents. Perhaps in addition to the current and brief news, which will presumably come from fewer and fewer sources, there will be a greater need for background texts, analyses and commentaries, which may well be subjectively colored. Since online media are not geographically limited, it is possible that they were also suitable for such "intellectual" those who, according to the advice of jupiter communications, rely on the short information applets, burn themselves out in the competition for the scarce resource of attention.