“Sorry for rambling,” types the author of a forum post measuring six sentences.
“Thanks for reading all that,” writes the blogger at the end of a two-paragraph post.
“If you somehow got this far, you deserve a prize,” says the humble G+ writer at the end of a four-line comment.
A friend of mine was recently called “long-winded” for posting or sharing posts measuring a handful of paragraphs on topics that are important to him. Now, I grant you, everyone has a different tolerance for subjects that don’t interest them — and one person’s quick text-jaunt is another’s tedious screed — yet I reel at what I see counted as a lot of text sometimes on forums, in blogs, in comment threads.
Admittedly, I overwrite when I type comments on certain topics, especially gaming and writing. That’s a foible of mine as a writer and talker.
Admittedly, I skim comments that look dense or feel rambling. That’s my choice as a reader.
Concise writing is wonderful — often difficult and often effective. Finer edges cut deeper. Economize.
Yet a lot of the forum posts I read (and I don’t read as many as I once did) don’t feel like someone sat scratching their chin, pruning the work to a fine point. Sometimes a single barb is all it takes to get through. But is reading such a chore that six sentences feel like they require an apology? What’s the magic number of words? What’s long-winded? How far can one really ramble in six short sentences that hinge on revealing the coordinate location of an object in a popular MMO with maps both cosmetic and detailed to draw on, where the exploration of a fictional world drawn from a favorite legendarium is meant to be one of the principle joys of the experience and many leagues can be traversed with a few keystrokes or a foray on a digital horse steered with centimetered movements of a laser-guided mouse, especially when the original poster (or “OP”) has made it clear that he or she is interested in the lore of the land and the background stories of the game’s own development, I ask you?
It’s all subjective, of course. As I move away from clogging Twitter with series of generalized gripes lamenting difficult or complicated topics — as I come to terms with the fact that Twitter’s glorious, enforced brevity isn’t suiting my tastes for certain topics — I fear that the audience of the future is moving in the other direction. If I can’t fit it in a tweet, can anyone be bothered to spare a damn for it? Is it tweet or GTFO?
As I try to come back to blogging at a variety of venues, I worry and wonder. So it goes.
Thanks for reading all of that.