Lengthy Blogs: Admirable Rigor, or Self-Important Blather?
Sometimes you don’t need 2,500 words to make an important point.
I’ve gone out of my way recently to find some very active blogs and read multiple posts. I won’t call anyone out here, but in several cases I found literate and well-reasoned blog posts that must have, from the writer’s perspective, seemed like powerful, rigorous analyses of given issues. One blogger focuses generally on the disruption that digital media has created for traditional media. Another blogger's very long post was (ironically) advice for writers to trying to stay focused on things that are most important for them.
For me, both of those bloggers—and many others no doubt—went on (and on) for thousands of words when their points were pretty simple. And so I’m left wondering: Are these kinds of blogs unnecessarily long-winded, particularly when dealing with simple ideas? Is there a writerly self-indulgence occurring? Or are they actually disciplined marshaling of important ideas, worthy of emulation—and where less detail amounts to intellectual laziness?
I don’t know the answer, not definitively. I do know that 2,500 words on why someone declined a business trip to a conference at an appealing resort location (basically, it wasn’t critical to his business and it took him away from his family for a week) seems indulgently excessive.
I understood the point after the fourth or fifth sentence, but slogged through about 2,400 more words to make sure there wasn’t anything revelatory below the fold. There wasn’t.
As mentioned, it was extremely well written, professional, polished. But it missed a critical point of journalism: Brevity. Don’t write more than you need to write to make your case. Sometimes a topic deserves 2,500 words. Other times it can be said in 324 words.
And that’s a concept worth remembering as we build brands through our blogs.