I came across someone’s post the other day, on how she (I think it was a she) reads blogs. The gist of what she said is that she’s busy, she reads posts on her phone, and she likes them short (and not boring). Judging by her own blog posts, “short” to her means a couple of paragraphs. What made this especially funny to me is that this blogger is in the book business. Wouldn’t a reader like to read?
My posts tend to run in the neighborhood of 1000 words. Fewer, preferably, though skimming over what I’ve written, they often run over. I found one that went a whole 2400 words (and at least a few people have even read the whole thing). I’ve always wanted my blog to contribute something new to the internet, not just relink and repeat; from that perspective, eight hundred to a thousand words seems to strike a balance between meaningful content, and keeping it short enough to be readable.
But if a standard blog post is a couple of paragraphs, then I’m writing War and Peace. And what’s more, I like reading long posts. Some of the blogs I like best run long: Stonekettle Station and Dr. Gerald Stein come to mind, though there are many others. And other bloggers whom I think of as “long” writers actually write shorter posts than I do.
The funny thing is that I think of myself as a nibbling reader — short stories and essays are my preferred formats. The tapas of writing. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind long posts: they’re really essays in another medium, and I don’t have to save my precious reading time for novels and the extended concentration required for long form writing. A question of priorities, then.
What do you think? What’s the ideal blog post length? And does it differ between what you read, and what you write?