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[2b2] Long-form, wide-form

I woke up this morning with an idea to develop. I’m posting it here prematurely. Ironically (as you’ll see), I want more time to argue for it and tease it out. In fact, in part because I have to prepare for (= rewrite) a talk I give this morning, I’ll leave it at something like Twitter length: We will of course continue to write book-length, long-form arguments, but wide-form arguments are becoming more important (more important than they were and perhaps more important than long-form arguments). Wide-form arguments are spread out across the Web, and develop and apply an idea.

Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages, gains and losses. But, the assessment of them should (in my opinion) begin with an honest look at how important long-form arguments actually have been. It seems to me that most of the long-forms we think of as examples are actually a type of wide-form performed by a single person: Here’s an idea, and here’s some of its implications. The idea itself frequently is a short-form argument. Wide-forming the argument can develop the idea in unexpected ways and can apply it in unexpected circumstances.

Anyway, gotta go.

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More Stories By David Weinberger

David is the author of JOHO the blog (www.hyperorg.com/blogger). He is an independent marketing consultant and a frequent speaker at various conferences. "All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about. Put differently: All I'll hide are the irrelevancies."