The smaller the space you have to communicate the more the preparation you need. I think of this as the law of constraint.
When I have lots of space I’m a little lazy and loose with what I deliver. Smaller spaces, however, require real thought. Think about it:
- 140 characters on Twitter took more thinking than 280.
- Prepping an 18 minute TED talk is different from creating a one hour grand rounds where it’s understood locally that every talk runs over into Q&A time.
- Serious Instagram users know that when posting one image you must have the expression, lighting, and look just right. It’s one square picture.
- And see how fast you can write a good story with just 6 words.
The more confined we are with our canvas the more thinking that’s necessary to shape and position our ideas.
When addressing a member of the Royal Society of London around his experiments on electricity, Benjamin Franklin wrote:
I have already made this paper too long, for which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it shorter.
In 1857 Henry David Thoreau commented on story length in a letter to a friend
Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
I see it all around me. You’ll see it too if you watch how you work to create tighter things. It’s communication’s law of constraint.
If you like this you might like the 33 charts Constrained Media Archives. It’s all about communicating in small spaces. In fact, every 33c post has tags way at the bottom of each post (look) that guide you to related stuff. Poke around and see what you find!
Image via Gaspar Uhas on Unsplash