Why Readability in Social Media Should Matter

Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

Around 1981 I was at Teachers College and I was studying a unit that included a section on readability. The section highlighted the need for the use of appropriately leveled language based on content and level of subject comprehension of the reader. No point having content that is comprehendable to a student in year 12 if the content is consumed by a year 8 student.

The following link will take you to a Readability Wikipedia page that provides a great overview and associated links. In short, a formula is applied to a block of text to determine the minimum education level needed for the reader to comprehend the content on its first reading. I used an online tool to test this Blog and it produced an answer that you needed to have finished 12 years of formal schooling to comprehend this Blog on a first reading.

I recall thinking at the time that more syllables in a word equates to degree of difficulty. There is more to it than that but you are probably getting the idea.

So we then scan forward to 2017 - yes, over 30 years later. Yes, of course I am good with it…

But back to the story. How do you determine modern readability — online, social, video etc? How do you morph the range of inputs to measure readability, especially when you consider the huge volumes of video consumed plus the immediacy and simplicity of the social mediums plus the eReader content consumption, plus, plus, plus.

I wonder if the modern readability is implicitly linked to the social network that you identify with and as such attach to and participate within. So the need doesn’t exist for language to be adjusted, quite simply, if the language doesn’t resonate with you then you carry the onus to shift. The network doesn’t carry the responsibility to adjust to you.

If there is a truth within this theme, then how do you engage appropriately with your customers and prospects through your written work? Do you look to structure a measure and feedback loop that assesses the readability level or socialness of a customer or prospect? If not, maybe the day has arrived.

Might be an interesting exercise to put a sample of correspondence you receive through the readability tool I mentioned above.