Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The length of blog posts

When I published my last post, I was surprised by how long it looked. I checked, and it was (excluding title) 1,203 words long. Oh dear. My previous one was a more manageable 339, but the one before that came to 1,763. I'm beginning to wonder if my posts are getting too long. It's partly that they are taking me too long to research and write, but also because I'm aware that some people take one look at a long post, and their heart sinks.

I know. Kevin at Anna Raccoon wrote a very good post recently about the situation in Thailand. 9,081 words! What I saw the length of it, I despaired, and my first inclination was to go away. I was sufficiently curious about Thailand that I stayed, and I am now somewhat better informed. And then there are the amazing and learned discussions between Albert and Indigomyth (and others) to be found in some comment sections of this blog....

Of course, some people can get away with it. Leg-Iron's last 5 averaged 1,351 words (and one was up to 2,493). But then not many people can write like Leg-Iron.

Phil Walker writes beautifully brief posts. His last 5 average only 208 words, though the one before that was a little longer at 681.

Patently is also good at brief posts. His most recent 5 posts average only 214 words. He did once write a post of 1,689 - but it was prefaced with "Warning: long discursive post. Go and get a cup of tea."

I feel that I really ought to keep my posts brief. But I just don't seem to be able to say the things I want to say in 500 words.

10 comments:

Stuart said...

The first thing to say is that you are no waffler, that's for sure.

I know when I see a post from you that every single point is relevaant and salient.

I don't want you to reduce post length if it's going to impact on quality of info that you provide.

If a post is very long, then may I suugest you consider posting it in parts.

I for one will happily await a second or third installment.

You know how much I like to cross-post your posts and presenting in parts, does not impact on this, as I simply follow suit.

Just a suggestion....

Young Mr. Brown said...

Thanks, Stuart.

I've thought about splitting up long posts and posting them in parts - but with a lot of posts, it just doesn't work.

So I'll probably continue to post in much the same way as I have been doing. It would be nice to post short posts, and some of my posts will be short. But basically, it's just not what this blog is about.

Stuart said...

Good...

patently said...

I guess I'd better make sure any comment I make in reply to that is suitably brief... :-)

I do like being short and pithy - and it is an essential skill for patent attorneys. I was once so brief, though, that @sshrpe immediately said that I *must* go on Twitter. I think it was a compliment!

Albert said...

I don't mind the length of your posts - it's not like you produce lots of posts a day, so perhaps it evens out. Anyway, I think you can be more pithy than you think. This post is summed up in the thirty or so words of your last two lines:

I feel that I really ought to keep my posts brief. But I just don't seem to be able to say the things I want to say in 500 words.

Now that's almost Zen-like for paradox.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Mr P.

I don't think I'll be considering going on to this Twitter thing. It's definitely not me. (I notice that Leg-Iron doesn't do it, either!)

Albert

I don't mind the length of your posts - it's not like you produce lots of posts a day, so perhaps it evens out.

Good point. For the writer as well as the reader!

Of course you are one of those people who enjoys (or, at least, is patient with) long posts.

Now that's almost Zen-like for paradox.

:-)

indigomyth said...

YMB,

Go with whatever feels most comfortable. You want to avoid burn out, like what happened to Constantly Furious. The good thing with your blog is that you have a small, dedicated readership. If you wanted to be a totalpolitics leader, you would have to post twice a day, which is very time consuming.

I must say, I find the posts where you talk of religion to be most interesting. Since I agree with most of your political beliefs, it is interesting reading your thoughts on the intersection of religion in the modern UK, and politics. I also find the discourse between you and Albert on the topic of religion to be interesting, as it is not something that you get a lot of. You certainly don't seem to get that on Cranmer.

As you can probably tell, I am something of a talker, so appreciate your point about not being able to fit what you want to say in a few hundred words.

Anyway, keep it up.

Albert said...

Indigomyth is right. I enjoy posting on other blogs, particularly Patently, but you manage to inspire a particular kind of argument/discussion that doesn't come so easily elsewhere. And (as Indigomyth has mentioned him) you're no longer than Cranmer and (again in agreement with Indigomyth) I am a talker too. In short, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And it ain't broke IMO.

Longrider said...

I will write as I think, mostly, so length isn't something I give too much thought to. However, if it is going to be a long one, I go for the magazine approach and break the page with sub-titles to organise my thoughts into manageable chunks.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Albert & Indigomyth,

Thanks for your thoughts, which are helpful.

"You want to avoid burn out, like what happened to Constantly Furious."

Interesting that you should mention CF. Reading his final two posts, I was thinking "I know exactly how you feel."


"I must say, I find the posts where you talk of religion to be most interesting. "

I think a lot of my readers do, and I probably ought to concentrate more on those - but there are times when I want to talk about "pure politics." I also have this fascination with statistics, as some of you may have noticed....

Longrider,

I agree about the magazine approach. And I guess that there's no reason why you should think about the length of your posts. To me as a reader, none of them ever seem long. What you do works.