Saturday, January 30, 2010

Q: Why spend time on 800 words when you can do it in 150 characters?

A: Because a fruit fly is not an airplane

(Allow me to twist some logic.)

I am hearing a lot of noise in the thought-o-sphere that the attention span of the public mind is just short of 20 second sound bites and 150 character tweets.

Might be true.

Recently I had to express the benefit, modernity and newsworthiness of a very complex technical architecture in under 200 words. It took me about an hour and half with a half dozen revisions. Reminds me of the Mark Twain quote, "I would have written less, if I had more time."

The task was hard, really hard.

Let's face it, there's a lot of engineering going on to get a fruit fly off the ground, maybe more than required for an airplane. I mean, jeepers, fruit flies know how to replicate themselves!

It seems to me that issue at hand is not the brevity of message format. There's nothing wrong with a headline... as long as it's attached to a good story. In fact, headlines are a necessary part of a good story.

Sadly, most of the stories are just not that good.

[Word count: 205]