I’m a reader. I read books, blogs, magazines, websites, etc. Yet, I have thousands of unread items in Google Reader. I only regularly read a handful of blogs despite the number I’ve subscribed to (and indeed, do get value from when I do get around to reading) – and tend to skim read most of it unless I force myself not too.

The thing is, I wonder if the same attitude is being taken to my writings here? Are there frameworks, ideas and examples that I’m sharing that just don’t get digested because they are too long winded?

We are living in an attention economy, but I still think we must take time to slow down to get long term value. Those instances where one sentence changes are life are rare – it is rather the workable actions in a blog post (IMO) that serve to help people, and these often take time to express. As much as I respect Seth Godin, for example, I am reading his blog less and less – but reading his books more and more. Now I know his blog is a large thought-forming ground for his books, but when all those short posts of his are together in a more cohesive format, I feel I get more out of it.

As per my thinking, ranting and moaning of recent – we must provide takeaways – not just the same old same old.

But still, I wonder, how much is too much? At what point does deep content become too deep, too heavy, and non-digestible in this fast food and fast focus age?

I want to hear from you guys – speak – for, lo, I am listening!

Perfect photo by Arthur Legardo

Archived Comments

  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    Thanks, Scott,

    An excellent and highly relevant question.

    For me, ‘brand’ plays a big part in it. Take the post above. You announced it on Twitter a few seconds ago. I saw it was you – brand ‘Scott Gould’, and didn’t hesitate to make the jump to the post. At no stage did I think that I would be inundated with self-serving blah, blah, blah.

    Actually, I made the jump with anticipation of something fresh, relevant and interesting – the user experience I have come to trust with brand ‘Scott Gould’.

    So rather than ‘how much is too much?’ the question for me is ‘what will best support the brand-based user experience I’m wanting to deliver?’

    Best as always,


  • http://www.dickiearmour.me.uk Dickie Armour

    I can guess where this is going! When’s your new book coming out?!! ;-)

    I like you also use Google Reader and have way too many articles to still get through so I also skim thru the titles and just read the relevant ones.

    Sometimes they are long articles but if the content is good I will take the time to read it but I do think you have a point. We’re getting used to Reading smaller snippets so perhaps our blog post should be shorter.

    Anyway, please can I have a signed copy Scott!

  • Scott Gould


    Again – you change the mindset about the question, rather than providing an answer

    And again – you are spot on!

    I made an inner vow that I don’t intend to be a ‘famous’ blogger or a ‘six figure blogger’ – my aim here is to really add value through insight, relevance, framework, etc.

    Thanks for your encouragement there Robin. Now when can we talk on Skype!!!

  • Scott Gould

    LOL – no book planed – it’s not longer unique!

    So do you think that, say I, should writer shorter, or stay longer?

  • http://twitter.com/MHowitt Martin Howitt

    I have this problem, but worse: a) I’m not such a good writer, or as in touch with my audience as you, and b) the subject matter I tackle doesn’t lend itself to short sharp blogging very easily.

    I can think of a few ways to potentially improve the situation:
    1) mutlimedia tools embedded into the blog. Pictures, YouTube, slideshare, audio. These can make for more digestible and entertaining content
    2) breaking up posts into the smallest possible atomic units – with extensive tagging. This enables someone searching to assemble their own viewpoint from “components” (but agree this is both difficult to do and may not work in practice)
    3) actually write a book already. If you don’t feel you can do it on your own, collaborate with others that have complementary expertise (I would def buy something written by, say, you and Robin)
    4) be self-contained in your posts. I personally can’t be bothered to click links in blogs. I have enough links already, more than I can eat. A blog post should be able to stand on its own arguments (but of course you can reference, I am going to start doing that at the bottom of my posts rather than in the main body of the text).
    5) summarising graphics (like wordles for example) at the top of each post to show the casual reader what it’s about

    Personally, I don’t feel your posts are the wrong length. But like a good novel, either you’re hooked early on or you don’t finish it. I don’t think your blogs suffer in this respect. Like Robin, I feel that perhaps you are asking the wrong question (for you, but the right one for me!)

  • Scott Gould


    Thank you *very* much for your thought out response. This is just the kind of feedback I need. Responses

    1. Yes I need more display aids. I’m looking for someone to outsource these too as they take a long time!

    2. Breaking up thoughts – what I tend to do is do ‘series’ as I progress the thought.

    3. So, I’d sell one copy to you! I don’t think a book is an option unless I have a bigger following.

    4. This is an excellent point. I need to self-contain my ideas by summarised the thoughts leading up to the post. This is an area I can immediately fix – and your point is well made that people don’t want to click other stuff. When I place a link, it should be because I want you to actually go there.

    5. Yeah – might start doing these.

    Thanks again – this is v helpful is refining what I’m about!

  • http://twitter.com/MHowitt Martin Howitt

    ok, so I’ve had the advantage of having met you and heard you speak about some of this stuff. I can say quite categorically that you are many times as convincing in person as you are in a blog post.

    Just a video of you speaking about one of your frameworks would therefore have 10x the impact that a blog post would do. You video-blog thing on why Twitter has to change was a great example of a low-tech, quick, personal approach that made a lasting change to the way I used the medium.

  • Scott Gould

    Thanks mate – point made, and point taken!

  • JeroenHoekman

    It is difficult to determine what is ok and what is too much. As people have no attention span anymore, short mesages will work better, but what if you cannot explain the story in a few sentences. That is why I likeTwitter. You give the message within 140 characters. It is easy to go through a lot of them and sift out the important ones. A link to the full blog is mostly available if you want to know the whole story or more about it.
    In case of a blog you could do the same, like newspapers do, writing an abstract of the blog article and publishing that first. For some people this will be enough. Others, who want to know more about the background, reasons why, etc. can open the full blog.
    Anyway, most people (including myself) do tend to write too much. A careful re-reading of the article usually allows you to rewrite it in a shorter version.

  • Scott Gould

    Jeroen, I think like Martin said below, your point about writing an abstract and making every post ‘self contained’ is important. People rarely check everything else out, so the trick is to give them everything they need in one place.

    I’ll start doing this!

  • http://blog.jeroenhoekman.com Jeroen Hoekman

    I think Martin makes a good point there. First of all, adding multimedia components certainly ads value, as most people like visual aids, but he is also right that most people will not click links within a blog. My idea is more writing an abstract and having one link at the end with something like “read the full story”. I don´t know if it functions, but I will try it out myself to see what works better. By the way, your blogs do have a good (short) length indeed.

  • Scott Gould

    Thank again for the support – I’ll let you know how I do!

  • http://treypennington.com treypennington

    I’m sorry…what was that you were saying?

    Just finished a client meeting. Through my questioning, we both realized he’s DOING a whole lot more than he’s TALKING about. Usually that’s a good thing, but in his case, his doings are creating huge opportunities for others, and so the word needs to get out. He agreed and said, “We don’t want to overload you with information; we just want to give you only what you need.”

    I told him, “pile it on; send me everything from everyone form everywhere all the time.” I’m one of those crazy people who pull down as much data as I can and then have the systems in place to process, sort, categorize, digest, and distill into something useful. Seems like we don’t really need to dial down communication as much as build the infrastructure (physical AND mental) to handle things.

    Napolean Hill suggested there is significant value in categorizing knowledge. He wrote in the 1920s and 30s. I think Hill was be giddy about the opportunities afforded by the breadth of information, availability of knowledge, and the ability for the “mastermind” to make connections broadly across geographical, language, racial, and every other barrier.

    So, Scott, you keep on writing, posting, and sharing. Then, have confidence that the people who need your knowledge, experience, inspiration, will find you. One things that’s cool about the age we’re living in: you can be a wildly successful publisher by meeting the needs of just a few.

    Publish on.
    Trey Pennington on Twitter

  • Scott Gould

    Thanks Trey – together we’re doing value adding stuff with #likeminds!

    Good news on the client, and a rare situation in which people aren’t overestimating.

    I think what Hull would’ve agree with is that CLARITY is needed above just any old CONTENT – which is what I’m trying hard to bring