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Does Length Suddenly Matter?

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Here’s an observation that’s completely unscientific but, nevertheless, interesting.

At a time when Twitter – and its 140-character messages – is becoming all the rage (at least within the high-tech community, according to Kara Swisher), posts by some of the leading bloggers (TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Silicon Valley Insider, et al appear to be getting a lot longer. RWW, for example, now has a “Continue reading” link at the bottom of every post rather than providing the entire text.

It’s a competitive landscape so perhaps the focus on length is being driven by the need to provide more details and analysis. This, of course, assumes that people have the time to read longer stories at a time when more people are spending an increasing amount of time trying to keep up with e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, etc.

There’s clearly a delicate balancing going on as longer posts become a competitive tool because quantity/volume still seems to matter. As much as being comprehensive is important, being first and being seen as offering extensive coverage is still seen as a strategic necessity.

If longer posts are going to become a blog staple, then blogs may have little choice but to evolve into online newspapers with “front pages” that feature five or six stories, as well as sections (e.g. Analysis, Startups, Venture Capital, etc.)

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  • http://blogcampaigning.com Parker

    I’m thinking about going the opposite route and starting a micro-micro-blogging platform where posts are limited to 10 characters and a URL.

  • http://readwriteweb.com Marshall Kirkpatrick

    Well, for us at RWW it’s a matter of two things. Our new layout is such that the front page doesn’t have full stories on it, just the first paragraph. Second, our stories have always been really long! We take pride in going more in depth than other leading blogs, but we’re also trying to increase quantity of posts – because that’s what pays the bills. At the same time there’s arguably a slow-down in interesting stuff! It’s a strange world we all live in, no?

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    Marshall,

    It is interesting to see blogs evolve with sites such as RWW, TechCrunch and GigaOm becoming more, well, like newspapers with news articles, analysis and features.

    Another angle is that bloggers who have been at it for awhile may be looking to do different things. Rather than post often, they may be looking to post with more depth.

    Mark

  • Erik

    Parker’s comment reminded me of this insightful article on the topic from one of the venerable bastions of Old Media:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/media_landscape_redefined_by_24

  • http://graduallythensuddenly.com Daniel Gibbons

    You really think TechCrunch is becoming more analytical? I would say that Arrington’s posts have gone back to the kind of industry analysis that made TC a success, but so much of the other stuff now just reads like repurposed press releases.

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