Being in the right place at the right time

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 06:09 PM.

This is a continuation of my attempt to write short, "Twitter-like" columns. Tweets — those little bursts of communication offered by Twitter — are a maximum of 140 characters in length. By "Twitter-like," I mean to write columns that are 140 or fewer words.

If I were to write a true "Tweet-sized" column with a maximum of 140 characters, at an average of, let’s say five to six characters per word, my column would be fewer than 25 words. I have already admitted in a previous column that writing with any meaning — any real value — in 25 words or less is very difficult.

I may give the 25-word column — a true Tweet-sized one — a try someday. But for now, limiting myself to 140 words (vice characters) is challenging enough, hence the term "Twitter-like."

Can information or opinions of any real value be disseminated in so short a number of words, whether they’re 140 or 25? You be the judge.

Writers spend a lifetime honing their skills and attempting to get across to their readers what they intend in the fewest number of words. Many writers have spoken on the topic of efficient … and at the same time effective … writing. (Oops. Those six dots separating clauses just added six to my character count.) I aspire to achieve, one day, the goals of the below authors:

-- "I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter." — Blaise Pascal, in his Lettres provinciales.

-- "Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short." — Henry David Thoreau.

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