My RSS and ATOM feed collection includes several individual author feeds from The Washington Times newsletter (see my article about why I subscribe to individual authors). On April 5, an article with a very intriguing headline popped up from my feed for Washington Times journalist Brad Matthews: Team of Australian and Japanese researchers find deepest swimming fish ever recorded. This headline set up deep sea expectations. I know there are some interesting-looking deep sea fish. If you are telling me that this is going to be the deepest deep sea fish that I have ever seen, I am expecting something wild.
The photo would look like a fish sitting on ice at a fish market but for the fact that it is probably too small. I was expecting something that would make the anglerfish look like a goldfish, not something that looks sort of like a tiny goldfish in the wrong light.
I saved the article for later sharing in The Newsletter Leaf Journal, notwithstanding my feeling a little bit let down. It was interesting even with the disappointing photograph.
But things would change not long after I filed The Washington Times snailfish article away for later use. When you subscribe to many feeds, sometimes more than one of your feed sites will cover the same story. When my feed reader refreshed, a headline from Smithsonian Magazine appeared: Behold the Deepest Fish Ever Filmed. I ascertained that this article was about the same story I had read in The Washington Times. I could have easily swiped it away since I had already read one solid report on the news, but I opted to read for two reasons.
Firstly, I could compare the Smithsonian story to The Washington Times story and decide which one was better for newsletter sharing. Moreover, Smithsonian’s website tends to write up stories from elsewhere, so there was a chance it could link to a fuller version of the story.
Secondly, however, and more significantly – I held out hope that the Smithsonian report would include a photo of the snailfish that lived up to my deep sea expectations. Maybe the photo used by The Washington Times was taken in bad lighting, or something like that. I hoped against hope that we would have a good photo.
We did. Smithsonian featured the snailfish in action.
This photo lived up to my expectations. The snailfish has an interesting shape, small eyes, expressive mouth, and front fins (or something) that look kind of hand-like. While I’m not sure that it is quite as dramatic as an anglerfish, the snailfish has a face and form that one will not soon forget.
The article even has a video!
(I am not sure the snailfish would appreciate Smithsonian giving the article its Weird Animals tag.)
After I thought about my experience, going from feeling let down to having my expectations fulfilled, I realized that my snailfish deep sea expectation story was too much of a roller-coaster to confine it to the Around the Web section of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. It was too deep (pun intended) to publish as a short-format Leaflet or Leaf Bud.
Fulfilling my deep sea expectations turned the story into a full article.
(This is the closest I have come to writing an article in the voice of one half of our fictional dialogue duo, Justin. See a comparable dialogue on the science of expectations of finding money in your coat pocket.)