“I could write shorter sermons,” said Abraham Lincoln, “but when I get started I’m too lazy to stop.” With a bit more nuance, the same difficulty arises with blogging.
It’s either a function of trifling time or excessive explication but either way, two weeks ago a lawyer reminded me of the problem of long-winded writing when he confessed how much more he prefers consuming content on Twitter rather than from blogs, including even my own. ‘Touché mon ami.’
Well before life was reduced to 140-character intervals and before Lincoln cracked wise about verbosity, 8th century BC soldier-poet Horace encapsulated the pitfalls of the predicament when he declared,“In laboring to be concise, I become obscure.”
In the 17th century, in excusing his wordiness, Blaise Pascal provided further insight by allowing that, “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.”
The heart of the matter is that while Polonius opined the soul of brevity may be wit, we’re inundated with too much content. “The plethora of opinion, brilliant and important as it may be, is just overwhelming.”
And besides being mind-bogglingly wordy, social media can also be, as blogger Elayne Clift posts, “pretty boring . . . hyper-egotistical.”
But worse of all, there’s the professional affliction all lawyers contend with — or as marketing blogger Nataline Saumore posts, “Nobody tries to write boring content except for maybe lawyers . . . .” Or I might also add judicial scribes.
Photo Credits: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looking at an album of photographs, via Wikipedia Commons, public domain; “Wee Westie with Glasses,” by Randy Robertson, Randy Son Of Robert at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution; “Annika is Getting Soooo Big!!,” byVicki’s Pics at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content for noncommercial use requiring attribution and share alike distribution; “Snore,” by Collin Harvey at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution.