Let’s all stop saying “after the jump”…

The phrase “after the jump” on blogs is one of my particular pet peeves, and I have noticed that usage does not seem to be abating. One reason why it’s annoying is because the majority of the readership has no idea what it means — including the blogger, in many cases. Besides being unintelligible, it’s also meaningless in many blog-reading situations. More after the paragraph break.

See how annoying that was? Anyway, “after the jump” originated as a newspaper term, referring to front-page stories that were continued inside the paper. Bloggers took up the term to refer to stories that continued after a break caused by an inline advertisement. It might also refer to a break from the truncated story on the blog’s front page to the full post.

Even though it started as a newspaper term, editors did not put the actual words “after the jump” in the paper. Instead, they said something more intelligible and helpful, such as “continued on A-23.” And since newspapers don’t change format from one reader to another, the text was helpful for all readers.

This is not true on the web. In many cases, I see “after the jump” where there is in actuality no jump of any kind. That’s because I’m either reading the full story in the RSS feed or on the interior of the blog (not the front page). In some instances, I’ve seen the phrase used several paragraphs before or even after said jump. This is just confusing. And it breaks the flow of what I’m reading, making me less inclined to finish your post, whether there’s any jump or not.

Even if there is a so-called jump, many readers are still scratching their heads. Jump? What’s that? I may have to click a link to get to the rest of the story, or I may have to scroll down a page. But I am never required to jump.

If you really must signal to your less-than-intelligent readers that they should click on a link or scroll past an ad to continue reading, why not use a phrase that everyone can parse instantly. How about: “Continue reading” or “Click for more” or “Scroll down for more”? And here’s an idea — don’t put this in the content but with the element that the Internet boneheads must successfully navigate around. That way, those of us who don’t have to perform the maneuver don’t have to be bothered with the instructions either.

“After the jump” is so overused these days that it’s becoming a tired cliche. You don’t want your writing to be tired, do you? I didn’t think so.

Rant over.

After the Jump on Ask MetaFilter
After the Jump on Urban Dictionary

5 responses to “Let’s all stop saying “after the jump”…”

  1. i love that i found someone with a little common sense on the internet.

  2. Yes, please. It’s well over a year since this post was written and bloggers are still abusing that foolish/annoying phrase.

    Regardless of whether or not readers know what the phrase means, it’s a device bloggers use to hide the interesting part of their content until a reader clicks through to the full post.

    It’s as annoying as new casters that use teaser phrases to get you to keep watching (“What common household product is giving you & your loved ones ‘Brain Cloud Syndrome?’ Find out after this break…”).

    Please stop using this bloggers. Please.

  3. hello! found this post a bit late but i have a “related to” question:

    i’ve been blogging for quite a while now but i still consider myself a noob. i recently had my posts split, having the “Read the rest of this entry” link to indicate that there’s still more to read. As a blogger, do you split your posts? As a reader, do you mind clicking a “after the jump” link or you prefer to see a post from beginning to the end of a blog page no matter the length?

    a reply will be appreciated, thank you!

  4. That’s a good question. For me, I find the blog breaks especially annoying. That’s because I usually read blogs in a feed reader and I don’t like having to click through to read the rest of the article. If I am on the blog itself, I still would prefer having the whole post on one page than having to load additional pages, which just adds more time. Hope this helps, Shannon

  5. thanks Shannon! ok, i so i guess i have to rethink my post-splitting thing here… ^_^

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