Monday, April 09, 2007

Shelley on blog writing

Here I sit with my paper, my pen, and my ink,
First of this thing, and that thing, and t'other thing think;
Then my thoughts become so pell-mell all into my mind,
That the sense or the subject I never can find:

This word is wrong placed,--no regard to the sense,
The present and future, instead of past tense,
Then my grammar I want; O dear! what a bore,
I think I shall never attempt to write more...

...My wit's so copious, it flows like a river,
But disperses its waters on black and white never;
Like smoke it appears independent and free,
But ah luckless smoke! it all passes like thee...

--Percy Bysshe Shelley (1810)

from Shelly: Poetical Works (Oxford University Press, 1970) p. 843.


The challenge of the blog post is brevity. You could go on and on, but pithy writing is generally more popular, effective, and memorable. But in a blog post, you can say as much as you think you need to say.

The challenge of the Twitter message is to say less than you need to say.

You have to shorten it to 140 characters or less. You have to say something that is timely, or that contributes to understanding who you are, what your daily grind is like.

A Twitter message must impart value, via insight, tip, or link, or provide an interesting glimpse into your personality, and cram it all into a text entry box that accepts up to 140 characters. CEOs and business people should experiment with this terse, pithy, micro-blogging platform. It forces you to evaluate your activities and focus your communication.

Blogs improve our free expression. Twitter improves our focused communication. Blogs are like a pulpit. Twitter is like an injection. Blogs are open fields of roaming thoughts. Twitter is a single thought. Blogs are epic poetry. Twitter is haiku.

Every blogger should get on Twitter, and learn the art of micro-content writing, nano-blogging.

In my vaspersian Twitter updates, which is my secret channel with special sauce, the Deeper Vaspers, I try to include a link that my Followers can click. I get impatient with Twitterers mentioning online articles, but failing to provide the link.

Twitter will automatically pass any long URL through TinyURL, to shorten it for mobile viewing, so link away, my Twittering Friends and Followers, link away.

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