“White-Line Fever” is also known as “highway hypnosis” or driving without attention mode (DWAM).
It’s a form of hynopsis one can enter while driving a vehicle.
Although they have the appropriate reactions to external stimuli so they know when to speed up, slow down, stop, turn, etc., they have no memory of having done so.
The usual reaction: “WOW, how did I get here? Last I remember, I didn’t make that left turn at Albuquerque!”
This happens to us sometimes on road trips, especially if we’re driving to a place we’ve visited many times before and long segments of the journey occur on major interstate highways.
We get there safely (we’re here now, aren’t I?) but we don’t remember a damn thing.
This Sort Of Thing Happens To Your Audience, While Following Your Road…
The impacts are felt in you’re daily life and your regular reading (online AND offline) more than you may realize…
Remember when you had assigned reading in school? Did you flip through the pages before reading to see if their were any pictures? Did you already feel tired, bored, and blurry-eyed if all you saw waiting for you was page after page of uninnterrupted small-font black text on white paper?
Would you read 4 or 5 pages of your assigned reading, line by line, and then realize you hadn’t noticed word of it?
These days, do you scroll up and down a webpage such as a sales letter, re-scanning different passages of sales copy, feeling you need to read it a second time?
How Do Typos Happen?
Why is it – you have five people proofread your copy, yet as soon as you send it out there are STILL typos?
You’ll have a big prominent graphic up on your website for two months, and only then will finally notice it’s missing a very important word?
WHO ALLOWED THAT TYPO TO GO LIVE???
Who’s getting written up for being so lazy and stupid?
Who’s getting fired?
The human mind often reads what it expects will be on the page.
For example, if a written sentence is missing a word, your mind-function might “filll in” that word, causing you to percieve the word was there when in actuality, it wasn’t.
This hypnosis how typos can get “missed”. Often extremely glaring ones in places such as headlines, large text in graphics, etc.
Drivers have white-line fever; readers have written-line fever.
That’s why the proofreader should not be in any involved with the copywritng or editing.
Now let’s shift to
Breaking The White-Line Spell For Your Readers
One way to break the spell: make a strategic “typo” that breaks the hpnyosis.
Another way: do something completely unexpected.
Be sensational. Buck a trend. Take a contrarian stance.
Add a picture of a funny cat.
Next Time You Notice A Typo On A Webpage Or In A Publishes Book, Just Remember: It Was BRILLIANT.
It snapped you out of your “hynposis” did it not?
It got your attention – which good copy is supposed to do.
Think about this, along with the entire concept of written-line fever, before leaping to “conclusions” about that marketer, there intellect, there intelligence, and the value of what they can do for you, today.
How many e-mails do you read, then immedately forget what they said?
How often have you missed something, only to be reminded “it was in the e-mail”… yet you remember no such thing?
You go back and re-read it, and sure enough, there it is.
You read that e-mail, top to bottom. How did you manage to miss THAT?