Shorter, Faster, Better

Okay, it’s true, I don’t blog enough. I used to think I was a fairly active blogger, but looking over the frequency of my posts for the past few months, it’s pretty obvious that I only manage to publish two or three times a week. And if that weren’t evident enough before now, this complaint about infrequency is the one thing that I heard loud and clear yesterday, sprinkled in amongst all the gratifyingly supportive commentary on my decision to start running ads from The Deck and Authentic Jobs on this Web site.

The problem is that, as an amateur writer, I have a particular weakness: an inability to be brief. Almost without fail, when I sit down at my computer to ‘dash off’ a post that I think will run only two or three paragraphs, I end up writing six or eight of them. What should take me ten minutes too often turns into an hour and ten minutes, and so I often can’t find the time to even start.

What I want to avoid, naturally, is the idea of quantity trumping quality — I don’t want to delude myself that readers will continue to tune into just to read, for instance, that tomorrow evening I’m heading out to Austin, Texas for the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive Festival, where, on Sunday, I’ll be doing a power session and a panel on “High Class and Low Class and Web Design,” and that if you’re there as well, please come up and introduce yourself before Tuesday afternoon, when I fly back to New York. I mean, that’s what Twitter’s for, right?

Still, I will take the feedback to heart and try and post more often, and in doing so, I’ll do my best at striking some kind of balance between brevity, quality and quantity. Here’s an example: a post like this one would normally ramble on for another several paragraphs, but for tonight, it’s going to stop right here.

  1. I feel your pain, Khoi, but not everyone can stomach Twitter. I *do* want to read, not scan microblogged hiccups which (granted, in my limited experience) aren’t really interesting to anyone but your personal crew. I would never think to check your comings and goings via Twitter — being interested in what you have to say and what’s floating around in your head, I’d much rather read a decently written paragraph. But then, I’m also a rambler (clearly), and very possibly in the minority. Regardless, it’s true, you don’t blog enough. Bring it on!

  2. What a strange criticism, I think, “you don’t blog enough.” I can see someone criticizing a blogger for not blogging *well* enough. I dunno. I would suggest not giving in to the pressure! Two or three quality posts a week is more interesting to me than 5 or 6 that are shorter and possibly less thoughtful. Just one man’s opinion…

  3. I’m sorry, I don’t buy it… I (along with most people who read your blog I assume) already have to trawl through many, many posts per day with all the subscriptions I have.

    And I enjoy the fact yours don’t pop up every day. I enjoy the fact yours are well thought out and not just 2 lines.

    I’ve killed a lot of subscriptions just because there were too many posts coming through saying not a hell of a lot.

    My 2 pence.

  4. I totally agree that you don’t blog near enough! I believe that because I love to read your posts.

    My recommendation is to make more posts by making posts shorter – say once a week post links to 3 sites that you’ve enjoyed recently. Post a list of books that we might read, other blog posts we should read, post about how iTunes is driving you cracked, about your Mac and whether or not its gotten any faster…..

    I love your long posts, but I’d love it even more more if I could read a post every day or second day even if it was short.

  5. Ah, the interweb. It don’t matter if it’s useful, insightful or interesting, just that it’s new.


  6. No worries, even though your posts may be long they have a certain quality that you dont get in the shorter posts from other people. Have a good time at SXSW, I’ll miss being there.

  7. You only post two or three times a week? That seems like a fair amount of posting for someone with a full time job as the Design Director at

    I’m in harmony with the others hear that I’ll take quality of quantity any day. And, I think you publish a lot considering I only find time to post once every 10-14 days.

  8. If you blog more I won’t be able to read your posts the entire way through. I’d have to check my feed reader more often. I will be less productive. I will spend less time working on my thoughts. So please, take your time.

    P.S. The ads bring some nice color to your page, even if they are adverts.

  9. Khoi, I don’t just read your site for any opportunity to say, “I was reading over on Khoi’s site…” cause I like to say Khoi.

    Couple of points to stab at here.

    1. Frequency, is meaningless at this point. Unless someone shows me the news article that says, “Khoi Vinh, 72, former design director for died earlier this morning leaping out the window of what some are describing as his ‘mistress’ apartment” I’m going to assume you’re not dead and you’ll post when you get around to it. I’m not unsubscribing. You’ve solidified your position in my aggregator.

    2. Length. You’re not going to get me to say that short or long posts are better than one or the other. If I felt you were rambling pointlessly I’d clue you in on that. Just because some folks would prefer a daily dose of short-attention-span theater doesn’t mean we all do. The folks that give up on a post because its ‘too long’ aren’t the people you’re talking to anyway. If you wanted to talk to them you’d use flash cards.

    You have a point. You have a place to offer that point. You use as many words as you feel conveys that point, as well as conveys your voice. And, if it bugs you that much just do what your colleagues at the Times do. Put the salient bits in the first paragraph for the ADD folk and put the good stuff in paras 2-10.

    Joen wrote something about this but damned if I can find the link now. I’ll post a mini-comment with the link when I find it.

  10. Chris: thanks for those thoughtful comments. By the way, what makes you think I’m 72, and who told you about my mistress?

    Seriously, I’m thankful that when I do post, people don’t find the length daunting. Long blog posts are a challenge for me to read, so that folks are willing to tough out my posts to the end is very gratifying.

    I think there’s something to be said for the fact that there are different kinds of readers who visit this blog (or any blog): some that want a quick hit, and some that want a lengthier reading experience.

    This is sort of what I’m trying to address with my Elsewhere section. Though I often just post links with no commentary, I do try and add some value as often as I can.

    In the instances when I’ve written fairly long comments (say, 2-3 sentences) to accompany those links, I feel like it’s worked well. I wonder if my readers feel the same way?

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