Why do people mistakenly assume that blog posts are shortform?

I hear this all the time. Uttered as common-sensical, as something “everyone knows and is not in dispute”. Yet it is so wrong.

There is no such thing as “too long for a blog post” - bloggers never heard of the concept of “word limit”, so they often write very long posts.

My longest post is 30 pages long when printed out (http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2009/12/what_does_it_mean_that_a_natio.php ), and many of my most popular and most long-lasting posts are close to that in length. Look at Orac’s posts every day.

I am not talking about quality here (can you ramble too long? Sure, but that is not the topic right now), just the form.

Regardless of quality, the idea that blogposts are short is strange. Paper has word limits. Web does not. Bloggers write until they are done, until everything important is covered. Some best blogging is #longform. I am not sure where that misunderstanding that blog=short, traditional=long comes from, as it is mostly reverse.

What shortform stuff bloggers used to do has now mainly moved to social networks: facebook, Twitter, etc. Which leaves the blog for serious, detailed, well-researched and yes, very long essays.

Which is one of the problems for traditional journalism - word limit means important context gets cut out. Word limit drives a certain schematic way of writing. Readers are unsatisfied.

A post in which I discussed this  http://bit.ly/lmkNoX got a lot of angry pushback, but I still think it is correct.

  1. coturnix1 posted this