I’m referring to this article about… well, what exactly it’s about I’m not sure, but it’s a superlative 167 words.
9 killer techniques in 167 words (91 fewer than I could manage talking about it):
- Contentious title and opening. Your first reaction when you read it? Probably Never!
- Short, active sentences and paragraphs.
- Reference to powerful, controversial brand names (the library world both admires and fears Amazon and Google).
- Judicious use of ‘we’.
- Facts and figures (£1000 million).
- A triple (politicians, council officers and library professionals).
- Emotive language (lunacy, deserves to be shut down).
- A counter example (America).
- A call to action (we should stop it).
Unsurprisingly, several people commented.
But read it again, and a few gaps appear:
- Legal tax evasion is an oxymoron that comes from the writer’s attempt to resolve several contradictory ideas. Should Google and Amazon be allowed to dodge tax – not that they did dodge tax, of course – in order to save taxpayers money?
- The America example is intriguing but not outlined in any detail at all.
- In the same vein, how has Google provided a better information service? One sentence would do.
- Churches weren’t built for meeting in; they were built for praying in. It’s a bad example but not surprising because there simply isn’t another space that fulfils the same civic function as a library.
I love this style of writing, and it sharpens up your thinking even if you don’t agree with the opinion it expresses. But just a little detail would make it less easy to dismiss after a second reading.