Shorter is smarter

Shorter is smarter
: Halley Suitt has a post today about trying to teach people to blog and how it’s hard to convince them that most times, shorter is better. She was nice enough to link to a brief list of bloggers who usually keep it short (I’m disproving that today, though) and she emailed them all for their thoughts. Fascinating discussion ensued.

Dave Winer pointed to Lisa Williams’ post that compares Chinese and Western cooking and the division of labor (in China, the chef cuts the steak; here, we have to) to the growth of RSS (in old media, the editor cuts the steak for us; in a feed world, we the readers get to decide how to slice and dice it).

Cory Doctorow says he thinks of a post as — I love this — writing the nut graf, lede, and dek on a news story.

I like that so much because I think it captures the essence of the post-Internet newspaper or news property: It’s a better service to give people the lead and then let them link to depth if they want it.

The problem is that short gets a bad rep and rap. I think I’ve told this before, but I’ll tell it again: At People and Entertainment Weekly, when I started grading shows, fellow critics scolded me: “People won’t read your reviews; they’ll just read the grade.” And I said: So? If that’s all they want, then it is the ultimate in service and brevity to tell them what they want to know with just one letter.