Thursday, February 28, 2008

Reining It In

I spent about 48 hours offline a couple of days ago. When I came back on, I opened Google Reader, saw a mountain of unread items, and had a moment of online existential crisis. I was afraid that I might have to give up my RSS feeds.

A few minutes later, the panic subsided, and I regained some perspective. Rather than swear off reading, I decided I'd try honing my instant filtering skills instead.

The honing has been going on for two nights now. I'm feeling good about my progress. I suggest that everyone hone their instant filtering skills every so often. And I've made a potentially useful observation about myself as a feed reader...

Long articles, unless they strike me immediately as exceptionally relevant or exciting, get skipped. Short articles, even if their relevance is questionable, not only get read but get their links clicked as well.

Maybe this has to do with my particularly acute aversion to scrolling down, but maybe this is perfectly normal feed reading behavior.

I subscribed to the More Perfect Market feed and had a look. Not good: I've written a lot of posts that are dangerously long.

So the plan is to rein it in a little bit. I'll still get fired up sometimes and need to empty my brain, so I won't promise to completely eliminate the long posts. In general, however, I'm going to keep things shorter and simpler.

I'll try not to get logically jumpy. I'll try not to assume unrealistic levels of audience savvy. Ideally, I'll think before I write, break complex thoughts into two or three segments, and post the thoughts over two or three days.

If this makes me harder to understand or less interesting, however, please let me know. I'm far from a perfect judge of my own work, so if this new short post plan erodes the quality on here, I might need someone to tell me that.

One of the reasons I started blogging was because it was scary that I was suddenly the "Managing Director" of a real live startup project and scary that I didn't have people keeping their eyes on me. I wanted to ask the blog reading regulars to manage me and steer me away from bad decisions.

Consider this is my first attempt to do that. I realize I haven't given all that much blow by blow on the startup process yet. It will come, though, and when it does, keep me in line. Whether it's about blogging style or revenue models or interface design (I'm overdue on screenshots, I know), please please please feel free to comment or email and tell me what you think.


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