It’s All Too Much

On Monday, Seth Godin claimed less is sometimes more when it comes to blog content.

By writing too much, too often, we’re trouncing on the attention of the commons.
Blogs with restraint, selectivity, cogency and brevity (okay, that’s a long way of saying “making every word count”) will use attention more efficiently and ought to win.

Today, Kevin Maney addresses the same theme in his weekly USA Today tech column.

I’m at PC Forum, an annual A-list tech event that’s kind of the industry’s big think-a-thon. About 500 CEOs, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and inventors get together and bat around grand ideas about what the industry is doing and where it’s going.
Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less got on stage and told everyone that study after study has shown that more choice does indeed mean people are more likely to find exactly what they want, usually leading to greater prosperity.
But this is a mixed blessing. “People may DO better, but they FEEL worse,” Schwartz said.
Turns out there’s a whole bunch of reasons. Endless choice means people feel regret. It’s easy to imagine you could’ve made a better choice. Choice raises expectations. If there are 10,000 shoes on, you expect to find the perfect pair, and you wind up disappointed if you don’t. And choice leads to self-blame.

I think there’s something to this. I hate clutter and clutter is served up on the net, much the way certain restaurants overload one’s plate, believing that quantity trumps quality. Many times, this is a design problem, not a content problem. Yet, I recognize that too much content can degrade the value of an offering, by overwhelming the audience with choices.
As it is with all things, balance is key.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.