A Rant on Long Articles

For me social media isn't about other people. It's about memes, news, and discussion. However sometimes I run across purportedly insightful articles. They have a direct and engaging title and exist in a web page deeper than a well. Surely engaging with these articles is a commitment of time and effort. I expect something worthwhile if I jump in and slowly sink to the bottom of the page.

Unfortunately the beginnings of these articles often share the same problem. They start with an out of context human story meant to engage you for the story they're about to tell. Like tying rocks to a swimmer they try and influence you to engage with them. Seemingly forgetting you've already jumped in voluntarily. These beginnings might pull some people in. But for me they are ineffective and I instantly disengage from the article. It's patronizing to assume I need some emotional introduction to be invested in a topic. Take this article on animal cognition published in the Atlantic, it doesn't start talking about animal cognition until the 7th paragraph.

Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

After disengaging from an article, I decide if I have enough willpower to get to the topic the title promised me. I'm sure it's there but it's a difficult value proposition now. The frustrating aspect is these beginnings are unnecessary. The article could be shorter and more concise if the writer would focus on their topic. I think this would lead to a better and more impactful article. It wouldn't ask such a time commitment of it's readers and would engage them with the topic that hooked them in the first place.