Original Link: http://www.marco.org/2014/01/26/long-form
Interesting read from Marco Arment on Long-Form:
Jonathan Mahler’s When “Long-Form” Is Bad Form in The New York Times this weekend has generated a lot of discussion. I saw it as a sloppy collection of disparate rants with mixed validity, but one resonates:
The problem is that long-form stories are too often celebrated simply because they exist. And are long. …
When you fetishize — as opposed to value — something, you wind up celebrating the idea of the thing rather than the thing itself.
Mahler quotes from (but doesn’t link to, for no good reason) last month’s Against “Long-Form Journalism” by James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic. It’s much better-written and goes deeper into the “long-form” issue:
In the digital age, making a virtue of mere length sends the wrong message to writers as well as readers. …
As a writer, I used to complain that my editors would cut out all my great color, just to make the story fit; as an editor, I now realize that, yes, they had to make my stories fit, and, no, that color wasn’t so great. The editors were working to preserve the stuff that would make the story go, to make sure the story earned every incremental word, in service to the reader. Long-form, on the Web, is in danger of meaning “a lot of words.”
I faced a lot of pressure when running Instapaper to embrace the “long-form” fetish, which I resisted as much as possible. With whatever influence I had by starting the read-later-app genre, I tried to take the focus away from length and more toward context switching.