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.