Tag Archives: length

Brevity No Longer Drives Social Media Copy — But This Does

Patti Martin, right, with her SCL Health Medical Group heart surgeon Jason Shofnos. (Photo: Patti Martin)

Patti Martin, right, with her SCL Health Medical Group heart surgeon Jason Shofnos. (Photo: Patti Martin)

Hello, I’m Will Holden. Like Troy McClure, you might remember me from such blog posts as Research: The Ideal Length of a Facebook Post is 40 Characters and the client call, “Shorter Now and Always”.

Well, to make another cheesy pop culture reference: The times are a-changin’.

Yes, at one point in time I relied on great research from Buffer that 40 characters — not 40 words, but 40 characters — was indeed the ideal length of post copy for Facebook. And just to be clear, I’m not making an effort to abandon or challenge those findings. As a content creator and former journalist, I still believe conciseness is next to godliness.

But that doesn’t mean I’m great at consistently achieving it.

That’s one of many reasons why I was somewhat relieved when my own experience threw some dirt on the totality of implications that can be made from Buffer’s research into the succinctness of social copy.
Read more after the jump…

The ideal Facebook post length will blow your mind

WindbagWhen I was a young newspaper writer, I was a copy editor’s worst nightmare. One particularly forgiving improver of words described my early writing style as “breezy,” which was a diplomatic way to say “I asked you for 700 words, and you puked up 1,400.”

As I progressed in the industry, I slowly found out that editors wanted shorter, tighter copy not just so it would fit in the allotted space in the print edition (remember those?), but so that it would be at least marginally readable.

It was my tremendously good fortune to work with one managing editor early on who realized that I, like many young journalists growing up in the Please Validate My Opinion Era, saw myself as the next great American columnist. If I wanted to write columns, my editor said, then Gene Weingarten was required reading. The Washington Post scribe’s weekly “Below the Beltway” column remains required reading for me to this day.

Sure, Weingarten’s wit could cut through a ’68 Buick. But that isn’t why he’s one of our most brilliant living columnists. He earns the distinction because of the depth of emotion he elicits in 500 words or less.

Read more after the jump…