AI Use: Your Thoughts & Feelings

Polling all colleagues and friends! Calling you here to serve up the results of the questionnaire you so kindly responded to about the one, nay—the many, data-slayer: artificial intelligence (AI). (And even more specifically generative AI.)


The original impetus for this poll was a panel that I participated in at the Healthcare Internet Conference, first week of November. I knew that I was not particularly enamored of current generative AI tools, so I sought input from the many, whose opinions are often a better representation of the public-at-large rather than my own editor-at-medium professions (as in -sions that were professed).*

I also needed input as most of my own job functions are not those that AI comes in particular use for, but more about that later. Let’s break down the deets.

NOTE: Unless stated otherwise, this blog was written purely by—me—Jennifer Brass Jenkins, and is owned by—me—Jennifer Brass Jenkins. Be assured, however, that no AI was harmed in the making of it.

Questions, Answers, Predictions, & Hypotheses

The poll consisted of 10 questions (I didn’t realize how nicely that number came out). Some Qs asked for more clarity, some asked for demographic information, and most asked for open-ended answers, in order to tap y’all’s hidden genius.

Out of about 80 recipients, I received 39 responses. (YAASSS–WAY TO SHOW UP FOR THE TEAM Y’ALL!!) Though not all answers were required and thus answered by all respondents, all questions had at least 30 respondents.

The first questions were basic:

  1. Do you use AI in your work?
  2. If so, how often?

Fig 1: Pie chart showing the percentage of users who use AI tools in their current work (71.8%) vs. those who do not (28.2%).

Fig 2: Pie chart showing how often those who use generative AI apply it with answer choices of daily, weekly, monthly, as needed, and a must-I option. (Note that two people chose “Do I really have to?”, which was one of my favorite answers.)

Out of the 39, 72% said they use generative AI in their current work. Of those, 18.8% said they use it daily. I’mma’ go out on a limb here and say that I think our web developers probably use it the most, aka daily.

Read this pithy commentary by our lead developer on how he uses and values AI. (TL;DR: He loves it and uses it for troubleshooting and ideation at work and home.)

Image 1: Chat screen with lead developer Mark Thomas (at U of U Health) about his experience with new generative AI tools.

For those who have used it, but perhaps have not incorporated it into their own processes more regularly, I added the answer “as needed”. (It’s hard to work something into your workflow that you don’t regularly need :D.)

Prediction: I believe that a year from now, our answers to this poll will not be significantly different. I do think, however, that we will have better incorporated gen AI into our processes.

AI Use at U of U Health

The next question focused on AI at our institution. The question about where AI is being used allowed users to add any reply. There were three main categories into which the answers could be classed:

  1. Generative AI tool use specifically
  2. Institution services/department references (some more specific than others)
  3. I dunno’ responses

With 34 responses, here are the cited uses of AI that our respondents are aware of at U of U Health:

Generative AI

  • Photoshop (for use in image editing)
  • Utah Magazine (not sure how but with development–I think giving/donor development)
  • Video editing and advertising
  • Idea generation
  • Epic (the electronic medical record system used by the institution)
  • Writing/rewriting/refining
    • Emails
    • Interview outlines (rough drafts)
    • Podcast descriptions (rough drafts)
    • Meeting notes
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Social media posts
  • Article or book summarization for learning purposes
  • Stock image/illustration search
  • Troubleshooting (I assume in context of web development)

Institution Services/Departments

  • Radiology services/department image reading
  • Biomedical Informatics department
  • Identifying “critically ill newborns who are best candidates for rapid whole genome sequencing and using that to guide care for these newborns. We are doing this work in collaboration with Rady Children’s (”
  • Lung cancer predictive screening: “We have used predictive models on lung cancer risk to help improve screening for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths. We have increased the odds of screening for lung cancer at U of U Health by 5-fold (”

Obviously, if a respondent worked with a specific program/department/study using an AI tool, they were able to identify more specific use cases. 

Hypothesis: Many entities/programs are experimenting with the use of AI at U of U Health and this will continue for the next several years.

Time/Money Savings

The next question focused on savings in time and money. I did not structure the question here so that a respondent could choose multiple answers. Fortunately, I did add an “other” option, in which the respondents let me know of this misstep. 

Due to that, I have restructured the original data-generated poll graph to better categorize all answers:

Fig 3: Answer categories (and number of answers) of potential time or money saving uses.

Please note that the answer “Other” consists of the following:


  • Information Consolidation
  • Research
  • Brainstorming
  • Email Responses
  • Social Promotion
  • Longer Term Use
  • Audio

Greatest Potential Misuses

Question 5 asked users to choose (multiple choice) what they thought the greatest potential misuse of AI could be.

Fig 4: Line chart showing most selected answers regarding the greatest potential misuses or negative effects of AI.

Tied as the most selected were these two answers:

  1. Spreading misinformation
  2. Confusing intellectual copyright

Data collection and privacy ranked as the third potential highest area of misuse.

I also inserted a more qualitative, open-answer question asking users how they felt about AI and the future of work. Many thought it was great but has unachieved potential. Some worried about keeping up with changes in AI tools and applying them to their works.

Summary: Most respondents worried less, however, about whether we should be using these tools and more about regulation, quality of work produced, and costs.

Identifying AI Use Elsewhere

For Question 7, I wanted to see if respondents could or had identified the use of AI by other entities. Out of the 30 respondents to this question, some answers were pretty generic or just no/don’t know. 

Here are some of the more in-depth answers (categorized for easier analysis).

Obvious AI Use

(How can we joint this group?)

Less Obvious & Generalized AI Use/Hearsay

Summary: These answers confirmed what we all see, or don’t see: Everyone is trying out the tool or has been using it and we may or may not be able to guess. (Unless you are as good as the person who noticed that some newsletters have no soul…I feel you.)

Best Uses for AI

Next question: What are the best uses for AI? I’ve put these answers in a graph by categorization (by use case–and note that some respondent answers identified multiple uses).

Fig 5: Answer categories (and number of answers) around best uses of AI.

Here is the full list of responses (summarized):


  • Research (including time saving)
    • Social media influencer/hashtag research
  • Topic exploration


  • Brainstorming
  • Teacher/Intern/Sounding board
  • Higher-level thinking (INTRIGUING)
  • Design

Content Creation

  • Outlines
  • Thesaurus
  • Repurposing
  • Headlines
  • Captioning
  • Persona/brand extension (specific example: deceased artist covers–INTRIGUING OR DISTURBING?)
  • Photos
  • Illustrations

Analysis: Data & Other

  • Analysis
    • User sentiment
    • Arguments/presentations
  • Error reductions in the analysis of large datasets
  • Large text set analysis
  • QA (quality assessment)
  • Summarization
  • Information display


  • Conduct repetitive tasks
  • Enhanced tools
  • Chatbots
  • Enhance/complete
  • Speed up tasks
  • Note-taking
  • Copyediting
  • Productivity

Summary: These responses, I believe, confirm our own experiences. (Since we all could potentially be “experts” in AI use.)

Worst Uses for AI

For this question we had 34 respondents. Again note that some respondent answers identified multiple uses. See the answers, again categorized and then the full list:

Fig 6: Answer categories (and number of answers) around worst uses of AI.

Fact-Checking, Truth, and Editing

  • Use of AI as the final source of truth
  • Data verification/fact checking
  • Final drafts
  • Fake references

Classroom Work/Learning

  • Student use for classroom work
  • Inhibits creativity or skills

Process Impedimentation

  • Continual rewrites when you aren’t getting the rewrites you want from prompts
  • As the only tool


  • Misleading content
  • Use on news and government platforms
  • Intentional misinformation
  • Provider notes

Replacing the Hooomans

  • Replacing human thoughts and ideas
  • Replacing human-created work with lower quality work
  • Making bread–my favorite answer! And companies in San Francisco at least are experimenting with replacing humans in food service.
  • Replacing jobs
  • Takeover of content production

Copyright Infringement

  • Generating content without thought for copyright


The final question, again not required, asked for the main identity of each respondent primarily so we could see what disciplines were represented in our survey.

Fig 7: Respondents classified by department, program, or entity.

Note that Departments/Programs include the following:

  • OPMO: Project Management Office
  • Service Line Director (Dermatology)
  • IT
  • UUMG: University of Utah Medical Group

Thank you to all those who participated. Your input was greatly appreciated!!

The Whole Enchilada

So, that’s quite a lot to digest. 

If I were to say one thing that you should remember, it would be this: be cautious about the tools you use and what data is going where.

Note that any information you enter that is proprietary for your work, such as meeting summaries or email rough drafts, is used by open AI (such as ChatGPT) to continue training model.^

If you opt for a paid subscription model (which we all will have to eventually) and want to create something proprietary, consider the work it will take to customize this and if you might potentially switch tools (time investment vs. time the tool saves/contributes value).

In the end, nothing has really changed. It still goes back to time, money, and effort and how to make the best of the tools we have at hand.

Originally published on Pulse, the U of U Health Intranet, Dec 14, 2023

*Editor-at-large is a publishing title used in print, now often digital, publications. It refers specifically to an editor who writes on no one specific topic of specialty, but reviews trends and industry shifts.

My favorite editor-at-large of all time was ALS or Andre Leon Talley for the uninitiated. Both his perspective, as a Black American in fashion, and his self-deprecating take on fashion were unique and fantabulous.

^Source: Weighing the Open-Source, Hybrid Option for Adopting Generative AI, Harvard Business Review

Day in the Life of a Content Manager

My department has recently been conducting interviews for new marketing specialists and even a content specialist. One of the smartest questions I think a candidate can ask is: What’s a typical day like for you in this job?

A few years back, I actually recommended to different academic departments in our institution that they build out content around this question in relation to life (day-in-the-life) as a medical student, resident, fellow, nurse in training, and surprise! It does really well.

Screenshot of content created for Day in the Life content series | Day in the Life of a Content Manager
Example of content we create for “Day in the Life” type pieces. These are used for recruitment on our academic websites and tend to perform well, which in this case translates to roughly 80% higher time on page compared to most of the other site pages.

So, in lieu of my sometimes so-deep-we’re-gasping-for-air posts, I’ll just stick to something simple: Day in the life!

Background: I’m coming up on year five of being resident web content manager at University of Utah Health. The journey has taken me through many sidewinders and close to some fascinating dead drops, but through it to date, I’ve kept these skills sharp and picked up some new ones:

  • writing,
  • editing,
  • data analysis,
  • SEO,
  • managerial work,
  • reporting,
  • client management,
  • project management,
  • networking,
  • reading, and
  • strategic thinking.

At this point in time, my team manages roughly 30K webpages across five (give or take) subdomains. At any time we are each (there are three of us and an SEO/digital analyst) managing 15 clients personally in a particular week, but that client list rotates.

The work we do is assist in structuring content governance (as we can’t manage all the pages personally), information architecture, new website set ups, and then conduct more in-depth content work for department priorities (that hopefully align with business goals), such as writing, auditing, and optimizing various webpages/content types.

First Things First: Pacify the Inbox (9–9:30 am)

Every morning when I get in and turn on my computer to check my email inbox, I make sure my water bottle is filled up. I also usually say hi to anyone else on the floor or around me. I may not have time or be in the mindset to start a conversation, but individually acknowledging co-workers by name as I see them throughout the day is really important to me.

As I review any emails that came in after I left the previous day, I use this as a way to orient myself to the day’s work load. I also double check the day’s calendar. The best days are mornings with just a few newsletters and few to no client responses. That means I can begin work on something substantive.

Then there are the days that I have meetings right away. I try to keep meetings first thing to a minimum—and our culture begets a lottttttt of meetings—but I really need those first few organizational minutes turning on computer and reviewing my calendar for the day.

Calendar day from first thing on through | Day in the Life of a Content Manager
Notice the blocked out “work time” areas. When I have serious deadlines to make, I can’t be open to meetings all day, so I block off time to work. Sometimes it makes other people crazy, but it keeps MY workload sane…

I’ll answer any truly important emails or emails with quick-Q answers. Now I’ll take time to review my task list from yesterday. These are items to follow up on from that I didn’t answer yet or small maintenance Qs that I want to follow up on.

If I have a high priority project, however, I’ll start work on that in the morning, as usually I’m a bit sharper mentally at this time.

High priority projects could include writing or editing something, QA’ing a website, continuing a content audit, keyword research, work in the content management system updating CTA (call to action) links that aren’t working or have changed for some reason. Anything I have scheduled to complete in the sprint* or for a meeting.


Depending on the day, I’ll either be in meetings or I might be taking care of any of the following five levels of work types:

  1. Basic maintenance: Updates to contact info, updates to provider/doc lists on websites, vanity url requests, contact info requests (who can help me do XYZ?), and the like. We are lucky to have a person who manages the basic maintenance queue who can assist with these types of requests; though, my team does some of them as well. Rule of thumb: Requests that take 10 minutes or fewer.
  2. Content maintenance: This usually involves a request to add a content page on a site or add a significant content chunk somewhere. There can also be things we have to untangle as to who to contact to get an issue addressed. These are middle level maintenance tasks that take a little longer than 30 minutes to do but fewer than three hours.
  3. New webpage requests: These requests can come from departments that need a lab site set up or a folder structure done. Typically the client can add the content themselves, but it takes some time to set up the bones of the site and check that they have training. There can also be requests for page setups for new services, clinics, locations, or the like. These are hard to measure time-wise. I actually prefer a complexity level measure. The more stakeholders you have to work with at any given time, the more complex I consider the task. Sometimes they cannot be completed during a sprint, in which case I schedule them in an upcoming sprint.
  4. Feature requests or project requests. These are genuine I-need-a-site-rework, I-need-a-new-feature, I-need-a-content-module-created. These need to be broken down into our sprint time periods as they often involve meeting personally with the client or significant research or writing time and effort. For example, we have a new health center opening, which entailed a roughly 25-webpage build with about 35 stakeholders involved. Sometimes the client will want what I call a feature, which has to have a developer or UX (user experience) specialist work on. These types of tasks also have to be scheduled once we have gathered the basic client objectives and time constraints.
  5. Priority projects or department projects. There are priority services identified by our institution that our marketing department supports. These projects are usually driven by the fiscal year. Typically they involve a project plan (including an associated content strategy) and scheduling throughout each quarter. These involve lots of writing, editing, client time, SEO optimization, and support work.

Meetings may involve various clients or stakeholders. Often if I have to travel to campus to meet with a client (our office is located in an administrative area further from campus, which is, however, better for lunch dine-ins or drive-throughs!), I’ll usually have to schedule two to three weeks out as travel time adds 40 minutes on to the meeting time and requires planning.

There are also interdisciplinary team meetings for priority and department projects as well as phone meetings/check ins for ongoing client projects. Then there are administrative meetings, like sprint planning meetings or project check-ins where we may be working with the devs, UX, or UI.

Lunch Time! Or Mid-Day Networking (11:30 am–1 pm)

Lunch is usually on the fly. I have long given up on packing a lunch as I never remember it. So, sometimes I’ll order in (I claim credit here for identifying a particular sandwich delivery service-to-my-desk option that the entire building uses). If I go out, it will usually be for a networking lunch with colleagues.

If I have a less intensive week with projects or deadlines, I use lunch as an excuse to keep up with friends in the department or do genuine networking. This also helps me remember to take some time for a break as even if I’m dug in to a project; my productivity is better if I take a breather.

It’s the same after lunch, except I stop answering emails. Anything that arrives in the email inbox after two or three gets pushed into the to-do task list that I answer on the following day. This helps me finish a project that needs doing or remain focused on a task. Around three I usually hit a slump period, so I may walk around (in an ideal world) or stop to chat with co-workers.

I also may *not-ashamed-to-admit* have hit up the caffeine machine for some Dewy goodness. (I do have a balance though – more water than other beverages goes in throughout the day.)

Towards the end of the day I usually get a second wind, but I may not be as clear headed, so I might work on optimizing a piece, keyword research, editing, reporting, but generally projects that are less cognitively demanding.

The Dismount (5:30-6 pm)

When I’m ready to wrap up, I’ll check what’s on the calendar for the next day. I rarely, rarely check or answer emails at home, so unless someone texts me, I’m off for rest and relaxation (AKA: cat feeding, grooming, and entertaining…).

Bitmoji goodness: What a day! | Day in the Life of a Content Manager
Day’s end—that’s a wrap!

And that’s a wrap! I really value the physical separation of work and home life. It helps me keep burn out at bay. Obviously there is no way to completely keep the two separate, but some boundaries always help in the pursuit of happiness.

And, as they say in Zombieland**, I try to take time to enjoy the little things.

*We use sprints in this case to denote bi-monthly cadences rather than in the true Scrum sense. The reason for this is to give us reporting periods. As a content practitioner, I find Kanban to be a bit more our style, but there are particular periods, like when working with developers, that sprints fit a work load.

I also find the terminology and concept of sprints a great way to communicate deadlines and work load to clients. If I indicate to them that we have a workload queue and give them some sense of measure to it, they are far likelier to have balanced expectations on project delivery.

**Random, I know, but I recently saw the reboot, Zombieland: Double Tap, and nearly cried I laughed so hard. Little things…

Be Brief! And Other Paradoxes of Long Form Content

After All, Brevity Is the Very Soul of Wit*

“Be brief!” says Howard Rauch, author of Get Serious About Editorial Management.1 “Following this should be duck soup for most editors,” Rauch writes. “But that’s hardly the case.” What does Rauch mean by this? Should our sentences consist of only three words—noun, verb, direct object? Or should we seek for more, as the long form content movement progresses?

Primarily, Rauch references sentence structure and grade reading level. He writes of something called the Fog Index, a quantitative measuring resource I will have to check out. He brings up, what is for many of us, a fantastic point: how long are our sentences? What grade reading level are they written for? For whom are we writing?^

But how does this figure in to long form content?

Long Form Content

At first glance this long form business appears to be based around search engine marketing, but hark! What is the end goal of search engines? I find the answer to my question “What does a search engine do?” confusing:

What does a search engine do?

Apparently, a search engine is a web index. That’s nice and all, but how does that help me? Web indexes in search engines provide us with results to our queries on the internet. So, let’s ask Google another question: What is the point of search engines?

The result can be found with an even better question: Why do people use search engines? suggests the top uses for a search engine are:

1. Research,
2. Shopping, and
3. Entertainment.

While my experience certainly does not support the ordering of that list, it definitely supports the content. (My experience rarely equates with the 99%, however, I can only guess that it does make up some part of that total percentage as someone, somewhere, does relate with my experience, probably that miniscule .00000001 percentage of people—I call them friends).

If those are truly the top uses of search engines, then it behooves the search engine to try and align the quality of their web indexing to match those user goals. If search engines are focused on users, then it follows that perhaps we should be too.

Why have I followed this train of thought so thoroughly? Because I focus quite a bit of energy on thinking about applying SEO guidelines to my work. And SEO best practices should be very aligned with content best practices. While search engine results can’t tell us why users are doing something, they can certainly tell us what they are doing.

And if what they are doing is spending a lot of time and energy on long-form pages, perhaps we should spend some time focusing on quality long-form pages.

There and Back Again**

Not too long ago, I recall breaking up long form pages of content. These pages were miles long—well the web equivalent of miles—with anchor links and “back to top” under every section. If long form is The Thing, why then did we change our pages a couple years ago, breaking up information into tabbed pages?

I tend to think we followed a design trend. Or perhaps it was the explosion of SEO-gaming tactics, writing multiple short articles about nothing—fluff punctuated by keywords leading to higher search results. There were also things like microblogging and tumblr.

Design-wise, in a desktop focused industry, it was a way of making vast amounts of information more visually palatable. The web however, as all other things do, evolves. What remains constant is the centrality of search engines in our lives.

With this brief reminiscence, we now ask: long form content, what are you now?

Long Form: 2,000+ Words

A return to Search Engine Journal indicates long form is primarily 2000+ words formatted in whitepapers, e-books, and how-to guides. Short form content, like blogs, social posts, and emails (although I’ve seen some reallllllly long emails…) are apparently also useful, often referencing this long form business.

The best length guidelines for content that I’ve found focus more simply around your audience. What are their needs? What research are they conducting? What do they need to know to make a purchase? What tasks will your content help them to?

Longer form content for webpages focus on these user tasks. What does our user need and how can we deliver that information?

In my work at University of Utah Health, we discovered in our content audits that pages packed with information approximately 1,600 words more or less in length performed very well, at least as far as number of visits and time on page. Whether these met marketing and conversion goals, however, is another story!

Duck Soup^^

Our mission then is clear: we must be brief—but not too brief—focusing on our users’ needs. We must write for our readers using well-constructed but not overly wordy sentences. Our brevity must be more than a haiku but less than a dissertation, and I like to think witty.

Shall we organize a duck soup tasting?

  1. 2017, Get Serious About Editorial Management, Howard S. Rauch, pg 120.

*A sentence that was for Shakespeare, indeed very brief.
^Note: I write this primarily for myself to study and consider the vocation of content. If you are reading it, then wow! Please continue!
**A reference to Bilbo Baggins’ recounting of his journey in The Hobbit. If you don’t know who hobbits are, you have missed out.
^^An idiom meaning something easy to do or accomplish, which became widely used after its use as a title for a Marx Brothers film in 1933


The Kosher Use of Uppercase: A Brief Case Study

Capitalization has a long and sordid history, but generally a well-known meaning: the use of a Capital Letter places Emphasis on a Word. The stylistic guidelines regarding when it’s proper to use upper case and when not to differ widely from language to language and culture to culture.

HOWEVER, there is a right time and a wrong time to use capital letters.*

The Right Time to Use Capital Letters

Proper names and personifications – Ask yourself these questions:
• Is the word a name for someone you know or a person that theoretically exists (even though you haven’t personally met them)?
• Is it a trademarked phrase or name for a company, brand, or entity?
• Does it refer to a movement that exists in one place only in history, such as the Age of Enlightenment or Postmodernism?

If not, don’t capitalize it.

Titles (before, not after names) – I know it’s tempting to associate capital letters with important people, but technically capital letters are used to emphasize something or someone specific. For example, if you are referring to the president, then it works like this:

Example (right): President and Commander in Chief Barack Obama came to visit us.

But, if you aren’t referring to a specific president, but rather the fact that Obama is a president, you use capital letters like this:

Example (right): Barack Obama, president and commander in chief, came to visit us. (I didn’t make the rules—blame the style guides.)

The beginning of sentences – Here is where I pose the thinking question: Why do you think capital letters are used to begin sentences? Bonus question: Why are sentences that fall after a colon capitalized?**

The pronoun I – Since we are referencing a specific person, ourselves, it probably makes sense that we capitalize it. One does wonder, however, what that says about us and our culture…


Generalizations, such as specialties listed in a sentence or paragraph:

Example (wrong): The doctors at U of U Health Care specialize in Radiology, Neurosurgery, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

All of these specialties are general specialties (not that they aren’t still special); they don’t refer to a specific person, a trademarked company, or patent, so they should not be capitalized.

Titles after names: 

Example (wrong): Joe Jones, MD, Dean of the Department of Punctuation, requested that students express greater respect for the use of uppercase.

While the Department of Punctuation, since it refers to a specific if fictional department, can be capitalized, the word dean, since it falls after the current dean’s name, refers to the general position of dean, not the Dean Joe Jones himself.


This is a more recent use of capitalization stemming from our ever more frequent messaging with typed symbols to express ourselves as opposed to talking on the phone or in person where our body language can express tone or attitude.

Take a quick browse back over those paragraphs above. Which are easiest to read? Which are More Difficult to Make Out or Skim (a technique we frequently use in reading and not just on the web)?

Conclusion / CONCLUSION

The use of uppercase is a practice to be respected, particularly in formal or business writing. While legalese and, occasionally, bureaucratese can get away with almost everything, we regular peeps must abide by writing style guides to be respected as professionals in whatever sphere we adhere to.

Oh, and if you have a bit of time, read this highly entertaining article about the origins and use of caps lock: I TURNED CAPS LOCK ON FOR A WEEK AND EVERYONE HATED IT via @thisisfusion. It might change the way you type.

*I invite you to enjoy the dramatization—I think it adds to this piece. At least I hope you laugh.

**A: The use of a colon generally indicates an independent clause or sentence (the colon acts as the equivalent of an equals sign); independent sentences are almost always capitalized, except after a semi-colon. (Don’t you love English with all these exceptions and rules and best practices?)

Previously published on Pulse, University of Utah Health Care; used with permission.

5 Reasons Writing for Web Is Different Than Writing for Print

Cover of Writing for the Web Guide
Cover of Writing for the Web Guide

Originally published Sept 19, 2014, on Pulse, University of Utah Health Care’s intranet. Used with permission.

Every medium requires slight adjustments in writing style, tone, punctuation, formatting, and the like. The web is no different. While the current goal of web content specialists is to create content that is device (or it could be said medium) agnostic, the overall style and tone of web writing is far more personable and relaxed than has been the case for print writing. Here are five reasons why web writing is different from writing for print:

1. It’s interactive.

When we visit any page on the web, we do so with the expectation that we can leave the page at any time via hyperlinks or search if we don’t find what we’re looking for. And there, in a nutshell, is the web: we are usually searching for something. While this can be the case with printed material, the web culture demands faster results—pretty much right now.

2. Readers scan paragraphs rather than reading them.

Most readers are either searching for specific content or browsing. As such they tend to scan paragraphs for the information that most appeals to them. Usability tests have overwhelmingly confirmed that this is how we read the web.* If that’s the case, we need to alter our writing techniques to match. We need to include subtitles, catchy first lines, and highlighted areas of importance via techniques like bold text, anchor text for a hyperlink (though this will take your reader away from your page), or bulleted lists.

3. Tone and style are more informal.

There are tons of different articles and pages, even books, on the web, but the writing tone and style that overwhelmingly define it are more informal. This is in part due to how we read articles, but it’s also a product of the intimacy of the web. Web pages have varying levels of credibility due to the democracy of the web: anyone can post almost anything, and many, many pages are personal sites and posts by individuals, which are not vetted through editors or any other sort of accrediting body. This naturally leads to a lighter, more informal style.

4. TL; DR: Shorter is sweeter (most of the time).

Too long; didn’t read. Literally. Readers are turned off by articles that take way too much time to describe something that could be done in a condensed manner. For example that last sentence could have been: “Readers are turned off by articles that aren’t succinct,” or “Readers like short articles.” The general rule of thumb is to cover the subject adequately, but not over the top. Some writing styles lend themselves to the verbose, but know your audience. As a general rule, shorter is sweeter.

5. It’s never finished!

People who spend vast amounts of time on the web innately understand this. News that is updated in real time is valued more for its timeliness than for its definitive nature. This doesn’t mean that content of a more evergreen nature (or always valuable) isn’t an essential part of any site, but rather that updates, corrections, or changes are just as important to the written piece because of the way we use the web.

* Yes, this article is older, but it’s that evergreen sort of content, and from a highly, highly reputable source.