A Commitment to Blog Brevity

For months Roxanne has pleaded, “write it shorter.” No one has the time to read it. Sometimes, it takes awhile to sink in, but posts of 1,500 – 2,500 words are done, a commitment to no more than 650 words starts now. Today’s post? An upbeat note on…

Roxanne isn’t the only one to tell me to keep it brief, but I can be stubborn and it takes time to sink in. For many reasons, I need to be reined in. There is other work to be done and long posts can take 3-5 hours to develop, an hour for Roxanne to edit, and readers may just skim, missing what is most important. So going forward 650 words is the limit, the length of a typical Op-Ed. I will tinker with the format and welcome input, as always.

The last post focused on the lack of equity in Santa Fe and how the ongoing drum beat of negative political news may be withering our spirit. Today, I want to stress some renewed opportunities to get back in the game. To those of you who were once active but are now dispirited, and those who have been only armchair activists, clicking and signing petitions, here is an invitation to be part of something exciting. There is a reason that Taos United and activists from Gallup are coming to our Community Conversations for Equity training on June 10 — they see it as a way to build their skills in all forms of political communication: op-eds, letters to the editor, canvassing, social media, and conversation with friends. If you think political communication is important, why not understand what works and get practiced in effective techniques?

In Santa Fe we plan to use what we learn on June 10 in a campaign focused on community conversations through canvassing, town halls, social media, house parties, and other gatherings. These conversations will help us connect with our neighbors and friends, to engage in conversation about what is important to them and how we can achieve social and economic justice locally. How can we unite this City? How we can come together for conversation and address very local issues, to build community? How can we extend that work to create a more just city? How we can each find unique ways to contribute, to give back to our community? We will begin this effort after the training with a neighborhood canvassing launch meeting, but participants will be far more effective if they participate in the June 10 training where:

  • Chainbreaker’s Tomás Rivera will set the tone and the target, presenting the overarching purpose of the training and the unfolding campaign: Equity in Santa Fe.
  • Mark Diaz Truman (a community organizer from ABQ who was trained by Marshall Ganz, the principal strategist for César Chávez for 16 yrs. and then the strategist for the brilliant 2008 Obama campaign) will introduce the principles of effective community organizing, provide training in active listening and the use of effective communication skills designed to engage and form connection with your audience/listener.
  • Katharine Clark, who studied under George Lakoff, will train us in the use of moral language and how to reframe issues so our messages can be heard by people who may not share our perspective.

At the end of the day, who we are as individuals and as a community is not what we believe or what we say, it is what we do. Let’s do this together. Santa Fe is supposed to be the City Different, but sadly it has become two cities, one of haves and one of have-nots. Let’s make Santa Fe truly different and work together to unify this city in justice and equity. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne (619 words)

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11 replies

  1. I’ve been one of the “skimmers”. WAY too long articles, so I’m happy to see you’re going to reduce the size to 650. Thank you!

  2. Dear Paul, I understand what Roxanne was trying to tell you so I appreciate your new attempt at brevity. But I would like you to know that the time and energy you put into the longer versions were not unappreciated. Thank goodness for you and Roxanne.

  3. Paul, The shorter is better approach is working. I not only read the post, but I also signed up for the class and shared it on Facebook. Good job!

  4. Hi Paul. I truly ask you not to give in to the short attention span/fast brain impatience. Yes, there are times when some ideas, contextualized facts, phenomenae, etc. can be dumbed down enough to satisfy those with too much to do for themselves and not nearly enough time to do something to themselves that suborns their attention on themselves.

    IMO, we have truly succumbed to the lazy brain demand for immediate gratification. One of the reasons I read your blogs is that you dare to go into contextualized connectivity, admitting that most things are not what they seem, and certainly not as simplistic as we all would like to believe they are. It is not difficult to see what many generations of wordsmithing have led us to – what Korzybski, Hayakawa and Chomsky, among others, have laid bare. Words do not equal things, maps are not territories, and symbols are not the things they attempt to symbolize.

    All of us need to commit ourselves to work our fore-brains a lot harder and longer. Our very existence depends on it.

    Mick Nickel

  5. I have attempted to rsvp/ want to attend big time..Please help me if you are able…thanks for setting up this event. rainy upton

  6. Rainy, go to the link, there is a button that says “going” click that and you will be RSVP’d. Glad you can make it.

  7. Good for you!  Appreciate your self-discipline and am much more apt to read shorter blogs.When everything is presented at once, I feel overwhelmed and helpless.Thanks for all your efforts.Carol Ingells

    • Thanks for the comment. If you feel helpless and overwhelmed, join us on June 10 and find out about our equity campaign and build your understanding of effective organizing and obtain some critical skills in effective political communication. You will leave empowered.

  8. Thumbs up on the 650, as well as the direction. Thanks to both of you. Will talk it up.

  9. From reading the 150-200 word maximum imposed by newspapers on ‘letters to the editor’ and from the longer 600-650 word limit on sections like ‘my view’ I learned that some people can say quite a lot on less than 600 words. I believe that Paul is quite able to do just that, give us a well informed and distilled piece of information on 600 or less words.
    Thanks for all you do, eduardo

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