TL;DR: This is a write-up about how I improved my writing by using TL;DR, for social media posts, messages, emails and even WhatsApp messages.
What is TL;DR?
TL;DR stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read.” It is a common internet acronym that expresses that a text is too long to be worth reading, or that summarizes the main point of a long text. I use it to summarize the points in the write-up and currently use it as the first section of almost all of my writing, including social media posts, messages, emails and even WhatsApp messages. This write-up summarizes the power tool that helped make m writing better.
How TL;DR helps!
TL;DR has several benefits for both writers and readers. It captures the attention of busy or impatient readers who may not have time or interest to read the whole text by highlighting the key message or argument of the text and making it clear and concise. It enables organizing thoughts and structuring text logically and coherently, avoiding unnecessary details or repetitions that may distract or bore the readers. TL;DR demonstrates understanding and mastery of the topic being written about.
While these benefits help a writer, readers could also get benefitted from them. TL;DR can help them decide whether they want to read more or not based on the summary, get a quick overview of what the text is about and what it aims to achieve, save time and effort by skipping irrelevant or redundant information, focus on the most important or relevant points of the text and evaluate the quality and credibility of the text and its source.
Not just positives, there are some challenges
TL;DR is not without its challenges. For instance, one major challenge is the balance between brevity and completeness, that is, avoiding oversimplification or omission of essential information. The writer needs to use clear and precise language, avoiding jargon, ambiguity, or confusion, adapt their tone and style to suit their audience and purpose and anticipate possible questions or objections and address them accordingly.
For readers, TL;DR can be misleading or deceptive because it may omit important details or nuances that may affect their understanding or interpretation of the text, contains biases or errors that may distort or misrepresent the text’s original meaning or intention, be used as a substitute for reading rather than a supplement to reading and discourages critical thinking or further exploration of the topic.
Overcoming the challenges
Writers should show careful attention in writing TL;DR. Fixing the position of the TL;DR text is one such remedy. I, personally, prefer it to be on the top as that’s where the attention goes first. But, some prefer it to be at the end of the text. So, irrespective of having a TL;DR at the beginning of the text or the end of the text, the point is to have it.
TL;DR is added to the long text to summarize it. Don’t make it too long. Limiting TL;DR to a couple of sentences, if possible, or at most one paragraph, that covers the who, what, when, where, why, and how of their text. One could also use bullet points, numbers, headings, subheadings or boldface type to make it easy to scan and read. The writer should provide links or references to more detailed sources if available and should review and revise TL;DR multiple times before publishing it.
While writers improve TL;DR, readers should also read both TL;DR and the full text whenever possible, and read and compare different summaries for accuracy and consistency, of different articles and write-ups, and the readers should also ask questions after reading the TL;DR.