Matt HealeyThursday,11 October 2012
Old Books

Long form FTW


The Snap

I understand that I am now involved with a short form blog. It turns out that I really like the format, mainly because I can hit the high points of a topic in a few min. However there is something to be said for long form writing.

The Download

One of the key learning in moving from the US to Asia was in the approach to written documents. In China, the length of a document is often more important than the content. As a result, reports in China tend to be very long. They contain a lot of charts and graphs and can go on forever, in many cases repeating the same information over and over. In the US we invented Twitter. Can’t explain it to me in 140 characters? Then I don’t want to know.

There is a middle ground. There is something between the 100 page report and the 100 character report. I was reminded of this when reading Nate Silver “538” column in the NYT. Nate is a political statistician and a master of long form. He runs a predictive model of the current presidential election and has been remarkably accurate in his predictions in the past. One of the reasons I love reading his column is that he is not afraid to wade knee deep into the details of his forecast model and explain the math behind it. It is important to note that not everything can be captured in a tweet or a 3 paragraph Snap Download. Sometime we need to actually investigate things in a more comprehensive way.

Hat Tips

538,Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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