Betaworks’ John Borthwick in a must read essay on the state of the media writes:
It seems like we have two opposing trends going on simultaneously. On one end of the curve rabid sharing is driving an attention cycle of seconds but on the other end people are reading and watching more. The social web has flattened web sites and made the home page irrelevant to many sites — simultaneously the shift to the phone/tablet and the mobile app internet is unbundling the web that we knew. The combination of these two trends is changing media and how we use and experience it. Its a complex world we are creating. And beneath this somewhat toxic mix of speed sharing and skimming there is an undercurrent of longer form media use.
You can call it long form! You can call it features! You can call it whateverthehellyouwanttocallit! The fact is story telling and great writing always finds an audience. The length of an article, a video or a song has nothing to do with the quality and how it makes you feel about it. It has and will always be about the good stuff. It was true before the Internet. It was true before the mobile revolution and it will be true till we humans continue to retain passion for stories.
6 thoughts on “It is all about the good stuff”
I think I miss you on Bloomberg West.
I was on their this past Monday 🙂 Thanks for your kind words though. Appreciated.
The stories told in the meta data mirror the stories in the sky to be translated according to perception … good stories have happy magic endings.
Today, short posts = quality. Perhaps quality is being redefined…
Hi Om, I’m really glad you shared your thoughts on long form content. At issuu, we repeatedly see how readers appreciate a strong helping of depth to go along with the barrage of snippet content. Last week, Gartner came out with a report stating that tablets will surpass shipments of PCs and smartphones. “Next year, traditional PCs and ultramobile devices will combine to ship 317 million units, while shipments of tablets will top 320 million.”
The real growth of tablets now provides a comfortable and reliable way to read longer form content, digitally. So its’ time to jump on the digital publishing renaissance train!
Long-form writing is great when it is supported by good writing and meaning. Long does not mean good. Good is good, and if it comes in long-form writing, so be it. But the same goes for short-form content. It has to be good to be worthy of your time. Short-form doesn’t have to be that good, because it doesn’t absorb a lot if your time.
Short-form content is generally ascendant because we’ve all come to realize that much of what is produced by classic media outlets is so bland, so information-free, that it’s not worth much more than a headline and a subhead.
Take sports for example. You want scores and highlights — that’s short-form / information-dense if it’s done right. If you want long-form sports writing, that stuff had better be damn good. It needs pacing and insight and color; it needs drama and a beginning, middle, and end; it needs a point beyond the facts.
The only debate about long/short forms is amongst people that are accustomed to taking short-form content and stretching it out into medium- or long-form models in order to fit outdated publishing services (I’m looking at you, AP Style).
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