COM0014: Pith and Pathos

I think the biggest learning for me in this course on writing for social media has been brevity: Say it short, then say it shorter still.

When I first started using Twitter, I found it completely frustrating. How could I possibly sum up complex ideas in such a brief way? But then I realized that 140 characters are actually much longer than most book or article titles. (“War and Peace.” “Black Beauty.”) I also remembered from my public speaking training that every speech should be summed up in a point of five words or less. (“Eat your veggies.” “Buckle up.”)

The same thing is true of writing as of de-cluttering your home. Take everything you have, then get rid of half of it. Then take that half and cut it in half again. It’s actually much harder to go from 1,000 words to 100 than to go from 100 to 1,000. If you start out thinking short, it’s easier to keep your mind on the core messages you want to convey.

Equally important is knowing that people remember personal stories much longer than they remember facts and figures. A colleague summed it up this way: “Sell the issue with feelings, back it up with facts.” Put another way: “Data is your seatbelt, but stories put you in the driver’s seat.”

Keep your digital content SHORT and SWEET: How’s that for brevity?

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