maandag, januari 26, 2009

(Very) Slow Blogging

Once upon a time I used to write complete books. Quite a lot of work, I can assure you. I remember writing a book about iterative development which took me an entire, very hot summer in the attic of my house. It seemed to last forever and even now, when I occasionally thumb through the book, I get visions of sticky, sun-drenched days that I witnessed passing by while writing, thinking, writing, thinking and writing.

Later, I started to fancy creating articles. Yes, the content was a bit more shallow. But it took me less work, typically a day or so, and it allowed me to cover more subjects in a shorter period of time. Then, several technology magazines asked me to become a columnist. I taught myself to deliver crisp messages every month in nothing more than 600 words. You end up writing very short sentences, getting rid of all details and focusing on just one key insight per column. Yet again a bit later, a business magazine invited me to write a weekly column for managers, and I constrained myself further to 400 words, apparently being the maximum amount of content a typical business executive can absorb in one read. I essentially produced sound bites with some stage-setting around it.

Then came the period of blogging. We all learned that a good blogger writes very, very short items and does not really care about style or aesthetics. A blogger does not explain or describe anything. You just link to other sites (thank God for Wikipedia, the source of all truth). And now, we have Twitter. I find myself thrown into a universe in which 140 characters – roughly 30 words – have to tell it all. Even hyperlinks are abbreviated in order to save space. On Twitter I don’t write anymore, I stick to the management summary of the introduction of a first, draft idea.

So I thought this is the right time to introduce some counter activities. If only to remind myself, I have introduced the concept of Slow Blogging. A Slow Blogger takes all the time that is needed to write an item. And the blog readers get to follow it step by step. To illustrate the principle, I have introduced three new blogs. On ‘One Blog Item A Year’ I will produce exactly one item every year. Every week, I will add one sentence to the item, resulting in an item of 52 sentences at the end of every year. Too dynamic? I also have started ‘One Blog Item A Decade’, which build up with one sentence every month, resulting in a final piece of 120 sentences every 10 years. And yes, finally I have also created ‘One Blog Item A Life’ and I will add a sentence to the one and only item on that blog every year.

Not sure how many sentences that final piece will contain, but I am not aiming for just a synopsis, rest assured.

First published on SlowPlanet

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