Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It's good to chat

Well, our first internet chat room interview passed off without a hitch, assuming you don't count my touch typing skills which, combined with a postage stamp-sized text box and no Spellchecker, resulted in some interesting versions of words.

See it here:

My fears about getting a full answer across were unfounded, Adi was a most gracious host, the participants proactive and we look forward to all who took part (or reading subsequently) gaining a little from the experience.

Taking Time

I used to have a bumper sticker on my car: "Copywriters have to do it in 30 seconds or less'. Perhaps the greatest discipline, and value, of my profession was communicating (and better yet persuading) in, or via, our words in as limited space as possible. The best vehicle was posters, which I love. I believe the rule was '8 words or less', though this did come with an extra 1000 in the form of a complementary picture. But as (Mark Twain? You'll gather I have memory as hazy as it is selective) said, it takes a lot of time to write a little.

It's no excuse, but I don't have a lot of time. Which is why this blog sometimes is more a stream of thought, best got down and out than not at all.

But I also worry that the pendulum has swung too far (as it inevitably does), and in demanding the merits of brevity we are also losing the value of consideration. Sound bites. 30 second elevator pitches. ‘I'm afraid that’s all we have time for... ‘ says the fragrant TV vanilla cone, cutting short a discussion on terror to a skateboarding tortoise.

Take our forthcoming online chat. Someone asks: 'what do you think about recycled paper?'. How long have they got? But the system (literally in this case as I think there's a limit on how much you can insert on an ICQ exchange) and the attention spans of all but the poser pretty much demand that we say something quickly, without opportunity to create context, explore options and establish the grey in amongst the absolute black and the white. This leads to mistakes, misunderstandings and protracted follow-ups.

We hate wastes of anything. But I do wonder whether in our obsession with saving time we sometimes end up wasting even more of it.

C U @ 12 !

Only a few hours to go.

Emma and I yesterday had a run through with Adi of the environment site
[link direct via header or cut&paste]
for our online 'chat'.

Already some good pre-questions we have prepped for, though we're not sure how to get our several para answers to their one liners into this ICQ thingy.

It's a good job Emma has the 'dashing digits of a keyboard kween!'