January 9, 2008

I KNEW IT - Genius Level Ain't Bad

Seth Godin understands me, without knowing it. He recently made a post about dumbing down to reach the average.

The thing is, when you dumb stuff down, you know what you get?

Dumb customers.

Too true! I recently made a post myself about my blog ranking at a Genius Level reading ability. I pondered whether or not it was a good thing, since the Melissa Donovan's post (where I first saw the quiz) was proposing that it was good to rank lower so more people could understand you.

But that's not how I write. It's not the type of people who appreciate my writing. So why should I "dumb down" what I write in order to reach the average middleman? That was my stance, and I don't mind saying that I feel justified that a major blogger like Seth sees things my way.

One of the comments on my previous blog noted that you should write the way you speak when blogging. That opens up the conversation. I completely agree with that, and the thing is... I do speak this way. Which is why I write this way. I need not apologize for my love of grammar and syntax!

3 comments:

James Chartrand - Web Content Writer Tips said...

Hmm... So this implies that if a fun, entertaining little "analysis" on the Internet based on some obscure and unknown algorithm of calculation determines your blog to be less than genius, the blogger is creating dumb content for dumb customers.

That's a beautiful, sweeping assumption.

Because a writer chooses simple words out of preference or because he feels no need to pull out a thesaurus on five-syllable words does NOT mean that the writer is dumb, the readers are dumb or that the writer is specifically lowering himself and his intelligence to speak to dumb people.

I'm happy for you that you feel proud to be awarded the "genius" level by a site that really shouldn't be taken seriously. I really don't give much of a damn about game sites like that or what people say because no one has to pull out a dictionary to read my blog.

Quality isn't a measure of how lofty or complex your content can be.

TrishaLyn said...

Whoa, hold on there tex... I never meant to imply that lower level reading blogs are below mine or bad. I don't pull out a thesaurus. Didn't mean to imply anyone was dumb either.

I know the site is not to be taken seriously. For all we know the algorithm could be completely random, yes. This just confirms for me that the people who read this "get" me.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the link.

You might want to read my post again. I explained pretty clearly that writing with simplicity and clarity can expand your audience, and that there are times when more complex language is appropriate. Nowhere did I suggest a writer should dumb herself down.

As James mentioned, the gadget that determines your site's reading level is just a silly toy, which I used as a conversation starter. I doubt its estimations are truly accurate. In fact, I'm almost positive they are not.

This is an important issue for writers to consider. I'm glad it's being discussed.

Melissa Donovan
Writing Forward