Social networks were never really meant to be long-winded. Twitter has and probably always will limit its users to the SMS-style 140 characters; Facebook cuts statuses off mid-paragraph and encourages you to ‘see more’ instead of displaying the whole thing and TL;DR (too long, didn’t read), a phrase originating well over a decade ago on Usenet forums is now wildly popular on Tumblr, Instagram and just about any other social network.
Nowadays however, things are more ephemeral than ever. Not only are social networks curt, but so are news websites and apps. Look no further than popular mobile apps like Snapchat and Jelly; on the former, communications last for a few seconds and vanish forever and the very format of the latter is based on brief queries and short communications between virtual strangers.
It’s not just apps and social media either. Websites like Upworthy and ViralNova are popular for their short, snack-sized listicles populated with vibrant images and simple explanations. Even more sober outlets post their more extensive articles with the hashtag #longreads often attached to discriminate them from the quick-fire journalism that has become the norm.
This is an important development for PR and marketing, because it means that keeping things brief is more important than it ever has been. A snappy pitch is a simple task for most PR pros, but a snappy pitch that will stick in a consumers mind long after they’ve clicked on one hundred other links isn’t at all.