“Content blur” is a phenomenon that causes a person who just read content to forget everything they just learned about. This often occurs when all the content you have recently read meshes together and you cannot remember what you just read.

Most of the articles I read these days are online. I love to read. My challenge is I have the attention span of a flea. I am hooked on the Flipboard app that aggregates content based on the subjects I have selected as my preferences or interests. Every Sunday, I read a selection of articles that are waiting for me in the app. The odd thing is, once I have read a few articles about a topic – i.e., “Why Content is King” – I forget what I just read. Does this ever happen to you?

SEO may be the cause of  “content blur”

Putting my research hat on, I have found some information that explains why I am experiencing “content blur.” I was surprised to learn that many content marketing companies write for SEO vs. for recall or expanding someone’s knowledge. The content is not focused on a particular audience, it is crafted to maximize SEO results via Google and other search engines.

Blame it on the brain

Remembering what you just read is not part of the content marketing strategy. But unless content creates memories, the likelihood of being able to recall what you read is diminished.

There are two types of memories:

1) Memories you make a conscious effort to form.

This memory is stored in your hippocampus. Most articles that I read are flowing right through the hippocampus.

2) Memories you form unconsciously through experience.

This type of memory is stored in your neocortex. Memories stored here are stronger because they are stored in different parts of your brain. The more synapses you have (think about your senses – sound, sight, touch, taste, smell), the easier it will be to remember.

Algorithms rule what we see (+read) online

This discovery got me thinking…I am a proponent of AI (artificial intelligence), but is an algorithm going to steer what content I see and possibly read?

The short answer is yes. If you subscribe to specific publications, you may see a wider breadth of content. However, if instead you are reading what the algorithms suggest would be of interest to you, you will likely see something that is SEO-focused and potentially not going to appeal to your senses. The creativity may be missing. If the content was memorable, it would be easier to recall, however it may not appear on the first page of an SEO search.

Creativity is subjective

I understand why some writers may choose to write more generic content to increase their SEO readability scores and improve their SEO ranking. However, for me, this type of writing has lost its soul.

I enjoy reading content that is creative, intelligent, witty and quirky with a pun thrown in here or there to keep me engaged. Personal stories, anecdotes and unique content appeal to me. I recognize this style of writing may not have much of a mass following, but I am ok with that. At least I may read with a clear mind and savour the information shared — therefore, it may cause me to engage, react and remember.