Posted by on Feb 3, 2009 in attention span, Conversational, Social, time management, Twitter | 3 comments

There is a time and a place for research paper style of long blog posts and of course there is some leeway for rants and raves. Hey, we all as authors can get lost in the moment.

In a normal day, I manage my time pretty well. I multi-task endlessly. My day is a mashup of everything online; emails, google reader, newsletters, social media, reputation management, writing, personal branding, blogging, webinars and engaging the community. I’m sure I forgot something else. All together I read about 2 hours of blogs and comments in the morning in and same at dinner. Oh and the twitter addiction runs strong in this one! I have a seperate mac devoted to tweetdeck god. Oh, and the good ol’ tweetdeck. Have you ever wondered why twitter is only 140 characters? It is to get you to the point quickly and in the best way.

Wanna know why a consensus of tools are required to stay on top of you brand? (That will be in another post.. stay tuned.) Daniel Clark nails down what not to do on twitter HERE. You can figure out what the correct approach is. It should be this way, so you can adapt the tools of the internet to meet your individual needs.

Now trust me, I want to read about everything you write but there just isn’t enough hours in the day. My attention span is about three paragraphs consisting of the first, second, and last paragraph and usually a healthy skimming of the comments, trackbacks and the post’s URL is off to a ripe delicious bookmark. I will happily bookmark your link and go back to it in case I every need to know more or if you contact me. (BTW: Delicious is also a great search tool!)

“Estimates for the length of human attention span are highly variable and range from 30 seconds to 1 minute per year of age in young children about the age of 12, to a maximum of around 20 minutes in adults. Wikipedia

Do you want to keep the most attention possible on your post then please consider these guidelines: (Yes, I am attracted to shining objects and so are most people.)

  • Add some value to your content.
  • How about some depth into a topic?
  • Dynamic edgy body of work.
  • Get to the point and summarize it to a paragraph in length.
  • A little humor never hurts!
  • Respect your communitie’s time.
  • We all want to give you our undivided attention but it is just not reality.

Guess what? “Bullet points” are never considered bad grammar. Please be creative – bullet point away!

Finally, if your into video and you have a point to make 3 mins or less or I’m on to something else. Longer length videos are for niche communities, selling products, web-casts etc. What is your ideal format for a blog post? Video? How long can you give undivided attention to a topic?


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Elizabeth Hannan is a seasoned Digital Business Strategist recognized by Inc. Magazine, CBS, Business Journals and others. At Blue Blazing Media she serves as Chief Digital Strategy and User Experience Designer consultant. In 2013, her first book Naked Experience will publish. When not creating content you can find her speaking.

Elizabeth is also the founder of WhenToZen, a community of traveling women entrepreneurs and executives finding healthy life balance and adventure offline.

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