A truth about Wordle?

by Martin MacConnol – Apr 21, 2022

Like everyone else on the planet (or so it seems), I have become a bit of a Wordle addict.

Copious words on the Wordle phenomenon have already been written and I am not going to rehash them all here. But I do wish Wardour was not just a brand content agency, and that we had invented such a simple idea worth so much to such a big media brand like the New York Times…Just think: Wardourle.

Of course, its success does say a lot about content today – and has been a topic of debate among the team as we think about content marketing strategies for clients.

Wordle’s popularity lies in it being totally right for the content world of 2022. It is simple to play and it is rationed so we can’t over-consume. And then beyond that, the interface fits with our lives: it is a springboard for conversations and banter through our social channels. It has become a daily moment of innocent joy and shared humanity – well it certainly has for me with a group of old friends.

That’s the upside of Wordle. But there is a downside too. Or, if not a downside, an observation to be made that is a less than positive reflection of content consuming trends in 2022.

What does Wordle say about our attention spans and our intelligence? There is a story that, once upon a time, the provost of Eton would time his boiled egg by how long it took him to do the Times crossword. Ninety years on, and they would be very tough eggs if that brainpower was still the measure.

Wordle reveals that today we have so many pressures on our time that all we can afford to focus on for fun is just one word clue a day. And the word itself is not a long one – five letters is not really that much of a vocab stretch.

So Wordle is a brilliant success. But does it also hold up an uncomfortable mirror to our society? Does it reflect how time poor we have become, how saturated we are with content? How unable to concentrate on things for a long time? How dumbed down we are as a society?

These are important questions for me and the Wardour team. As content marketing specialists, we have to create solutions that are right for the time. The pressure to make things quicker and simpler has been huge in recent years. Copy lengths get shorter. Videos should ideally be less than 2 minutes – and on social less than 30 seconds. Copy should be concise, so you get the point immediately.

All this is laudable in one sense. But in another, I fear we are moving to a world where nuance is lost and where, even worse, our ability to process anything complicated (and in our world of B2B thought leadership, a lot is complicated) gets ignored. Regardless of the overall trend though, part of our role is to help our clients find the optimum way to communicate their key messages, whether that's a condensed nugget of information or more of a deep dive.

Published Apr 21, 2022

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