Computing while doing other things is pretty much standard practice these days. Many people consider the internet, especially social media, a regular dining companion. A new infographic in AdWeek lays out the stats around food and computers, and up to half of online consumers report that in the past month, they’ve texted or logged into social networks during meal time. It’s the digital version of reading the cereal box. The fact that social media has become a ready companion means that it keeps us company during daily chores.

Most people will not admit to it, but plenty of us are surfing while driving. It’s illegal and dangerous, but it’s what people do. Last night I was at a ball game and observed countless people checking Facebook. Think about it. People walk down city streets maintaining phone screens within their fields of vision. Students keep a tab on Facebook while sitting in a lecture. Business meetings take on added (and unwelcome) dimensionality when participants are texting under the table.

Online content is compelling enough to draw our attention while we complete unrelated tasks, but it has to be the right kind of information, delivered correctly. Your content strategy needs to incorporate the fact that readers are not simply sitting in front of their computers, fastened on every word. Your audience is experiencing a range of distractions at any given moment, from a dripping sandwich to a changing traffic light.

Rather than disdain the multitasking reader, embrace him. Consider the most effective messaging strategy for attracting the attention of the distracted consumer.

Developing small, easy to understand communications modules is a good way to create messaging that fits in with the multitaskers you’re targeting. Your top line messaging should be designed like a puzzle where all pieces are equal, or like a honeycomb, made up of interchangeable parts that fit together no matter where they are placed.

Clear, simple and enticing phrases should be designed to catch the attention of the reader and encourage her to find out more.

Remember the pyramid and stick with it. Provide the most compelling information first, and lead the reader deeper. Don’t judge your reader for being distracted. Just go with it. As in the rest of life, it’s best to accept people where they are, meet them at that place, and go along on their ride. Sometimes, quite literally.