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Is shorter better?

Our AME, Alex Miller, is probably the most Web and gadget savvy of the journalists in this newsroom. Web Editor Austin Richardson is right there, too.

I fall closer to the Luddites, although I do consider the evolution from typewriter to computer the very salvation of mankind, at least where I’m concerned. I never was a careful enough typist to handle the typewriter. I pretty much went from writing long hand to writing on a screen. When forced to work on the beast, I consumed WhiteOut by the barrel in the ugly, ugly days before word processing technology saved my life.

That said, I don’t drink a lot of the Internet Kool-Aid. I have made a point of dancing free of the jargon. I don’t know robust from scalable. I think the overwhelning number of “visionaries” are pretty much full of crap. I think the thing, the real thing, from the days when the latest communication technology was the campfire, is the quality of the story well told. That dhasn’t changed from campfire to podcast. Even if the “visionaries” haven’t quite figured that out yet.



I love the accidental success stories like Craig’s List and Yahoo, or is that Google? Even the beginnings of Microsoft and Apple. Folks had fun, with no clue or care about getting fabulously wealthy and changing the world quite as they did in fundamental ways. Management by objective, corporate polish and office politics followed, of course. Breeding the requisite rodentia: posers, pretenders and marketing geniuses. You can tell them by the jargon, code for we really hope you don’t know what we’re talking about because Lord knows we don’t, either.

But I trust Alex, even if he is an inveterate early adapter. I mean, he’s a 40-something who really does listen to podcasts.

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And he reads blogs.

He advises that the way to go with writing them is short. Think Quick Takes, the short, 300-word fulmination that runs most days on the right side of the first commentary page.

That makes sense. Everything these days needs to be short. Even scenes in a two-hour movie. Keep it moving. Give the reader, viewer, listener that quick hit ” respecting their need to move along.



I’m thinking, and I hope not merely wishfully, that variety aiming at a balance between short and long is really the way to go.

Whatever is longer ” novel, song, movie, blog ” had better be good. But that’s always been the case.

There was a movement in writing theory not so long ago that EVERY sentence had to be short. The shorter the better. Subject verb object. Avoid the fancy types of sentences, like this one with a clause. And no commas if you could help it. Pretty choppy, though.

Now the theorists recommend mixing short and long. Meantime, the real artists with words just write. They’ve always pretty much broken all the “rules,” which really aren’t rules anyway. Just conventions.

Ah, but I’ve gone on too long. A blog should not be blah, blah, blah even if nearly all of them are precisely that.

I think ” ever the Luddite, I know ” that a blog, like any other story, should go on just long enough to tell the story and no longer.

The end.


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