A Solution for Skimmers

Twitter shortens statuses, Bit.ly shortens urls, and now Longreads shortens internet articles.

Longreads’ premise is to collect, collate and curate long-form journalism for online reading. It started in April 2009 as a Twitter hashtag. Users who found long (1,500+ word) articles or stories could append #longreads to the article’s url and tweet it. Followers of @longreads would then get a daily river of lengthy, in-depth fiction and nonfiction from magazines, newspapers and online publications.

Readers, myself included, are daunted by article length. That’s one constant that transferred seamlessly from print and television: keep the main point (lead) within the first sentence to grab attention because the rest of the article will more than likely be left unread. Once the reader loses interest, one click can bring it back… along with another article.

Longreads aims to give lengthy articles a fighting chance at readership by shortening them. I think it’s a pretty cool idea; the site links to the original articles for people who are really interested, gives the wordcount of the original article, and also has a retweet function.

For the speed-centric future our culture is heading towards, this seems like it could be a way to keep important, informational articles from being passed over for less academic ones.

Further Reading:
Long-Form Journalism Finds an Online Friend


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