I’ve had it with these sorts of comments:
“Blog posts should be short because people skim them.”
“Write in short paragraphs because they’re easier to absorb.”
“Readers love bulleted lists because they can skip right to the relevant information when it’s bulleted.”
You know what? You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you turn away from relevant content because it doesn’t fit into a quick-read format. Yes, you’re pressed for time, and yes, we’re lucky to have you stop by our measly little blog, but have you ever thought that absorbing information shortened for the purposes of easy reading might actually be a bad way to take in the good stuff? Does a 30-second skim or a horribly truncated write-up give you food for thought? Maybe. But almost certainly not as much mental nourishment as a full-length, head-to-toes post.
I strongly believe that the shorter we write — the more we condense and tighten up for readers’ benefit — the more likely we are to leave out the most relevant, thought-provoking, salient points we’re trying to make. There’s obviously a balance between writing a 250-word topic snippet and a 1,000-word op. ed. piece, but the excuse that you don’t want to read longer blog posts because they’re just too arduous get through doesn’t fly with me.
We compromise our points by chopping them short. We give little to no credit to the critical thinking skills of ourselves and our peers by offering up lamely clipped, easily-consumable content. We find no exercise for improving our ability to communicate fully-developed thoughts in writing numbered lists of random crap we think our readers might be interested in. And we sure as hell don’t add to any conversation by operating within the boundaries of how people think a blog post should be constructed.
Unless you’re Seth Godin, there’s a good chance you’re going to have a hard time sending home a truly valuable argument or idea with 300 words smashed into quasi-paragraphs or bulleted lists. And if you’re sitting on the sorry excuse that a blog isn’t a medium that lends itself to long-form writing, I don’t buy it. Your blog won’t self-destruct if you write more than 500 words. I promise.
Get off your mental ass. Find the time to read longer content, and think about it. Find the time to write longer content, and think about that, too. Find the time to leave thoughtful comments on long blog posts. And if you have to trade in the 75-blog reader for the 10-blog reader to do this, I’m all for it. Sacrifice quantity for quality just this once, okay?
This is the part where I usually get all disclaimer-ish and say I have no place to tell you what to read or how to write, but I don’t think that’s appropriate in this instance. I challenge you to read from top to bottom every article and blog post you click through to. I challenge you to write from beginning to end, without bullets, in full literary paragraphs filled with complete thoughts.
Just this once, stretch outside your usual blogging confines and see where it takes your brain. And challenge your own blog readers to stick with you through the lengthier bits you write. You never know what might happen when you stop taking the easy route.