Do you read a long-winded email the moment you open it? Chances are that you’re more likely to delete that email or send it back to the limbo of your inbox. You are not alone. TL;DR.
TL;DR (#TLDR) or "Too long; didn't read" is a phrase that’s popular within the student vernacular. It's a common response that students have to information that they deem unnecessarily lengthy.
When a person becomes overwhelmed with information, they tend to do nothing as a result. #TLDR demonstrates a common cognitive phenomenon. Adolescents are particularly prone to postpone tough choices and complex tasks in favor of pleasurable pursuits. But they're not the only ones; adults procrastinate as well when faced with complex directives.
We know that organizations have a lot of great information to give to students. So, how do you maintain student interest and avoid a response like TL;DR?
Beat #TLDR with These Texting Strategies
1. Get To The Point
Text messages contain a maximum of 160 characters, which means that each one counts. The very nature of text forces organizations to decide what information is most important to send to students.
2. Keep it Simple
Lay out next steps in a way that makes it easy for students to take action. Including a link, resource, question or call to action at the end of your text can make a profound difference.
3. Reduce Hassles
Make it easier for students to overcome perceived hurdles like financial aid or scholarship applications. The fewer steps, the higher the completion rate. Guide them along the way.
4. Send Quick Nudges
A quick nudge via text message can prompt or remind a student to accomplish a timely task. Messages sent less than three days before a due date can trigger high task completion rates (but make sure students will have ample time to complete it).
So the next time you decide to direct your students to a website with tons of information, or you find yourself about to hit 'send' on a long-winded email, just remember: simplify your message.
Armed with your newfound TL;DR awareness, you’ll develop reader-friendly text messages that won’t result in student procrastination.