When “Less is More”: aka What Would Seth Do? [Briefly Stated]

Filed in Blogging 8 comments

Stripping a sentence down to its barest essentials is great advice, but building a community requires more than a Bare Bones effort.

My online friend and blog role model Adam Singer, whose creative thoughts have always inspired me, just wrote a post entitled “The Critical Few” in which he advocates paring down, rather than ramping up, the number of online touch points you (or your company) uses.

Here was my comment to that post:

As an English/journalism/marketing professor, I always tell my students:
“Sometimes Less is More, and sometimes More is More.”

When it comes to any one “sentence,” then YES, stripping a sentence to its cleanest, most essential components is necessary for the clearest communication — which SHOULD be the first objective in writing.

However, sometimes — in fact — More will be More; one example would be that More Engagement with community members will reap better results than simply “putting something out there,” even if that something is stated concisely

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   19 January 2011
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Comments
Jan 20, 2011
10:36 pm

Hi Shari,
This is oh so true. It’s actually something I’ve been putting off doing for a little while. I think it was Steve Krug who said a realistic goal for any website is to cut out half the total amount of text.

Now this is a rather drastic amount for a blog, but it’s a good thought process to have when looking at content. Thanks!

Author Jan 21, 2011
12:47 am

Brian, I’m reminded of William Zinnser’s advice in his great book On Writing Well to strip every sentence to the bare essentials . . . and then students ask how do we get beautiful sentences if we strip them. The answer is details, description, and precise word choice. I’m certain that same advice can be used for website planning as well.

Jan 21, 2011
2:30 am

Hey Shari,

I agree with both of you… fewer online efforts that are more targeted and consistent are always a good idea. With those efforts though, you have to generate more engagement with your readers and fans. I think your comment to that post was beautifully written.

Best,
Monick

Author Jan 21, 2011
2:56 am

The thing that comes to mind is the popularity of AUTOMATION tools. Sorry, folks, but if everyone just wants to Post and no one wants to Read and Engage, then this is hardly Social media.

Jan 24, 2011
5:44 am

Hi Shari,
I think it depends on the situation. When you want ppl to follow commands, keep them succinct, and straightforward with no room for ambiguity.
Conversely, if you haven’t built rapport, then multiple points of contact with some ambiguity is fine.
True to your assertion, your post was concise!
Yasser

Author Jan 24, 2011
1:16 pm

Yasser, I do try to be concise . . . but sometimes, I suspect, that I am “too concise” for some readers — and they may not understand my points fully enough.

Jun 18, 2011
11:48 pm
#7 Yorinda :

Hi Shari,
great point – sometimes less is better and other times more depending on the situation.
Personally I prefere the to the point articles, without all the trimmings and saying the same in the introduction the main part and the conclusion.
Thank you for the post!
Cheers,
Yorinda

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