How long should email responses be? How long should blog posts be? With some microblogging services, we already have a pre-defined length by which we must subscribe to. Twitter, for instance, gives you a space of only 140 characters. SMS messages, of course, are limited to 160 characters (not counting concatenated or “multi-part” messages).
What about email, then? With todays diminishing attention spans–not to mention those of us who have attention disorders, like myself at times–it probably pays to keep it short and simple when communicating. Be direct to the point, but without losing the essence of your message, and without discarding important details.
Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.
three.sentenc.es is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be three sentences or less. It’s that simple.
Or two. Or four. Or five. I guess it depends on your preference, but I think the point is that it involves much discipline to keep messages concise, and to the point. Otherwise, rambling on and on might cause your reader to lose focus himself, and lose track of the important things you are bringing forth in that piece of communication.
But do you stand to lose details if your emails are too short? How about blog posts? Will a two-paragraph, 100-word blog post be more effective than a 250-word one with bullet points and headings? I guess it depends on how you write it.
This blog post comes to a grand total of 20 sentences, excluding the block-quoted text. Have I made my point?