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The Importance of Long-Form Content in a Post Post Literate Society: Why Short-Form Isn't Enough

The Importance of Long-Form Content in a Post–Post-Literate Society: Why Short-Form Isn't Enough

You and I are supposed to be consuming short-form content on social platforms. We are pushed to hit the dopamine pipe that is reels, stories, and TikToks. I know this because every day, unemployed people try to hustle me into creating short-form content, promising that my YouTube channel will grow faster.

I am certain that some of the content is entertaining, and there must be some short form that is educational. But short form is like a bumper sticker; it may provide some wisdom, but without the depth one might expect from something that is supposedly important.

We may not yet know the outcome of continuously watching short content, of having our faces always turned toward a small screen that glows with something novel. It is doubtful that anything good can come from giving so much of our attention to something so small and insignificant.

The great names of humanity drank deeply from history, reading the Greeks and Romans, and studying the wisdom of those who came before them, figuring out how to live well. They were not looking for shortcuts.

This week I encountered an offer for an AI solution to reading books, condensing each nonfiction book down to a 10-minute audio version. Listening to this is not the same as reading the book, as you will miss the context and language that would allow you to understand the content, making it unlikely that you will be able to apply what you heard. You would be better off listening to the entire book, which would give you a better understanding of the main points and a sense of the nuance missing from a short-form version.

Post–Post-Literate Society

The concept of the post-literate society comes from the idea that most of what we consume is no longer text. The post-literate society emerged with the advent of television. The post–post-literate society is rooted in the idea that short, mostly shallow content dominates our attention. In the past, people sought wisdom, but today we seek entertainment instead.

The social channels are designed to keep you scrolling and scrolling, searching for something entertaining enough for you to pause. This informs the algorithm how best to keep you glued to a screen where an app provides a continual stream of images and videos selected just for you. Social media also encourages you to share the content with others, making inattention contagious and passing along a hit of dopamine, the brain's reward for you providing novelty.

The Value of Long Form in the Post–Post-Literate Era

If you want to understand how to develop a sustainable strategy in business, you are not going to find anything better than reading books, which are long form content. The short-form content that keeps you entertained offers nothing close to a sustainable strategic advantage.

Mediums you listen to and watch are passive, allowing you to lean back and consume the content without any effort. When you read, you must process every word and determine what it means. Then, you must consider whether you agree with the author as you digest the knowledge and insights they have written. Long form fiction and nonfiction is offers you the possibility of growth and the ability to explore new ideas, making it better than passive-content

This article is not for everyone. It is for those who reject short-form content and those who refuse to participate in the post–post-literate society. It's for those who are not interested in writing off deep ideas as tl;dr (too long; didn’t read).

The long-form content is a neural network of deep ideas that entertain a singular thought and cover it from varying perspectives. It is interconnected by a primary idea and the offshoots are like branches of the same tree. It makes the audience understand the relevance of the original idea in diverse aspects and scenarios. You can find meaningful long-form content preferred and published regularly by SaaS companies like Zapier, HubSpot, Hootsuite, Shopify, and EZRentOut. Their content pieces are extensive and cover one single topic in depth.

Too Long; Didn't Read

Those who respond with tl;dr tell you something about themselves that isn't good. Their unwillingness to read something because it is longer than a TikTok is evidence that someone may not be the kind of person you would trust with your business or an important decision. No text is too long to read. Instead, people are too lazy, or are too accustomed to short-form content that they have lost the ability to give something their full attention.

AI encourages the post–post-literate society by summarizing longer texts, giving people an excuse to believe that there’s no reason to engage deeply with long form.

Too Short; Didn't Watch

Short-form content is something less than long form content. If the idea can be explained in a few seconds, you may find that it isn't worth your time. Spending your time and attention on short-term content provides the same nutrition for your mind as a candy bar might provide to your body. The empty calories in short form will do you no good, while long form promises to fuel your ability to think in ways that will provide you with an advantage in sales and in business. Real knowledge and insights cannot be distilled into a TikTok.

If you want to join a group of people who are reading substantial books that will allow you to have a perspective on the future, you can join us at the One-Up Book Club. You can pay $10 to $100, depending on how much you want to spend talking about these books.

Sales 2024 One-Up
Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 12, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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