wise elephant, making it happen

Short-ish Note on Brevity

By Jason Moriber • Oct 13th, 2009 • Category: Strategy & Planning, Thinkering

(This note was inspired by David Silverman’s post: When Clarity is Not the Same as Brevity)

Similar to an ecologist pointing out that the culprits of bad-recycling-habits are actually the manufacturers who create all the packaging, NOT the consumer who is then left with the rubbish to dispose of, if we want to figure out “why brevity?” we need to focus on the people/places/things who say that messages, “are too long,” as we cave to this demand and chop-up our daily language into sound-bites via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. It’s become our trend to hurry-hurry-hurry through communications, but what do we end up communicating and what important stuff is left out?

The cultural shift to hyper-brevity has a short history, probably since the television (a longer, slower history could be print advertising) and the need to sneak in contrite advertisements around/within the content. Why succumb? Who says? Does our behavior really match this inclination for brevity? Do we all have to chose brevity over clarity? Maybe we’re not. On the surface it seems that as texts become shorter, our dialogs become longer (longer/more meetings, longer phone calls, more time face-to-face, more spoken words within presentations with shorter slides). The long-ness shifts somewhere (on Twitter people post links to longer content all the time, the long-ness didn’t fade, it moved).

If we can identify the “why brevity” in our own lives we might find it’s only one facet of our behavior, possibly a symptom/trend of advertising/sales messages, and not really the gist of what we’re up to. Before you write your next email, blog post, or other text-based message, consider…could it be better, clearer, more robust, if you gave it a little more time and didn’t worry about it’s character-count.

Jason Moriber is a veteran product/project/marketing manager, underground artist/musician, and online community developer, Jason expertly builds/produces/manages clients' projects, programs, and campaigns. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/jelefant
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