FAQ #4

Q: Why are your blog posts so long?

A: Because I like to make sure there's enough information for people to discuss, chew on or put to good use.

Obviously this wasn't an actual question, but I've been hassled about it a couple of times, so I thought I'd rush to my own rescue. Unfortunately, the hasslers are right. Brevity is not my strong suit. I'd rather err on the side of information overload. At least you'll have learned something by the end of it, even if you don't get everything, right?

It doesn't work like that. The amount of material that people take in every day from various sources is too large to digest slowly. Skimming=survival in the world of amassed media. Plus, according to a 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, "there is a general decline in reading among teenage and adult Americans," including college graduates.

NPR's editorial director for digital media, Dick Meyer, describes it as a "literary death spiral." (read the full article here)

"There is an aversion to long chunks of sentences," he says. "The less we read books, the less we read journalism; the less we read journalism, the less we read books. Reading skills atrophy or, worse, were never properly acquired to their fullest. The dire problem is that long chunks of sentences are still the best way humans have to express complex thoughts, intricate observations, fleeting emotions — the whole range of what we are."

A sad state of affairs it may be, but it also happens to be "the way it is." And maybe it's not all bad. People who can eliminate excessive verbiage and cut right to the heart of the matter should be applauded, right? I'm just saying there might be a happy medium.

30 seconds might be long enough for a commercial, but it'd make a pretty lousy novel, don't you think?

(picture courtesy of merriam-webster.com and my "Print Screen" button)

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