One of the nominees for our Word of the Year was “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read). The Official Word of the Year Committee rejected this nominee because it did not meet the competition’s criteria of having widespread recognition and visible prominence.
That was then. This is now.
Last week, this trending phrase came up a lot in our conversations.
A client asked one of our Account Executives to take care of something that she had already handled—and had actually told the client in an email that she handled it. However, the line in the email where she indicated having completed the request was one of the last lines in the message. Must have been too long for him to read.
We also shared our thoughts about an article by Seth Godin that criticized “TL;DR,” remarking that judging the value of something simply by its length is foolish. The article even suggested that we throw out the acronym “TL;DR” and replace it with a new one that makes more sense: “NW;DR” (not worthwhile; didn’t read).
These examples were reminders that culture and technology have changed how we get information—reminders that we have to be more aware of the length of our written work and the structure of our emails in order to make sure our recipients get the information we want them to get. More than one of us used the cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover;” just because something is long doesn’t mean it’s not relevant or important or has good information, even at the end.
We also noticed last week that we sometimes can’t stop ourselves from talking in abbrevs.