Challenge The Static: how the office life is killing the art of writing

Does your mind ever feel like this? static

Do you ever just think that there’s too much noise around you?  I’m not just talking about the literal noise around us, especially for city-goers; unless you’ve submerged yourself in total silence, you can’t avoid it.  The hum of a fridge, the beep of a notification, the tiny crescendo of a Skytrain a kilometre away … even when you’re walking underneath electric lines, you can hear the slight purr above your head.  But what about the other forms of noise around us, that mould our minds into the static vision above?

I’m currently a Social Media coordinator, and for five days a week, it’s my job to provide information in a quick tweet or Facebook update, that gets straight to the point, with a direct and concise CTA (Call to Action).  Anything more  … well,


And it begs the question – well, what do we have time for?

Unfortunately, the office life dictates we keep things clean, concise and quick.  That email that goes beyond four paragraphs?  You need to edit that down to one.  That sentence there? It can do without the adjective(s).  The thoughts within that parentheses?  It can go in another email.  Blogging?  Let’s try microblogging.

Maybe it’s the idea we’ve moved from a literary form of communication to more visually-based forms of transmitting information – it’s evident in the rise of infographics, the love people have for Tumblr, Pinterest and other visual social media, the amusement we have in using pop culture .GIFs to articulate emotions, the idea that a music video can change our love or hate for a song … the visual medium is growing, and sentences are shrinking.

So far, my thoughts seem a bit randomized, but what I want to say is that this constant grey-noise perpetuated by these visual stimuli are beginning to stifle how we communicate.  Why say it in a sentence, replete with poetic devices, when a phrase or song lyric plastered over a filtered image can do the same?  Yet, this overload of stimuli isn’t a problem – what is problematic though is the translation by other entities that this is the norm, and we must work under such norms.

How much time do we actually take to whittle (and this is an appropriate word, because we’re shaving every detail deemed inappropriate or improper) down an email?  How much of our day we think that our managers would prefer the shortest possible email?  We then begin these assumptions of time as an even rarer commodity; we can’t possibly waste a colleague’s three minutes, so we spend a good five minutes making an email the simplest it can be.  We’ve conditioned ourselves to accept a marketing sentence in under 10 seconds, so our teams now spend a further 30 minutes making a CTA in under 140 characters.

It’s ridiculous.  We’ve made time such a commodity, we waste more time preserving how sacred it is.

want to flood these posts with relevant words, with adjectives, without fear of taking up your time. Whether you choose to stay or not, is your choice.  (Hopefully, I can avoid turd posts as my last blog, which was driven by ennui and 8 hours of mindless answers to emails – it genuinely is terrible writing, and I apologize)

But I will ask you to challenge the static above in some way – take that moment in your day to get away from the noise and get that second of clarity.  Do what’s in your might to prevent the conditioning of a thousand marketing agencies.  Declutter your mind, and take the time to read something that hasn’t been edited over and over and over again.

Make sure that tree in your mind isn’t whittled down to a toothpick.



Tell me what you think! -KL

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