summarizing

One of the reasons I like twitter is the forced brevity. Having only 140 characters helps me focus what I want to say into small portions. I think of Twitter as a snack, while blogging is a meal. Maybe not always the most filling meal, but much more substantial than a tweet. But in theory, a twitter could say more than a blog post — if done well enough.

Twitters were initially very hard for me. But I am getting better as I go along. I am hoping twittering is also helping my summarizing skills. Last week a colleague requested I create a quick and easy SEO guide for a team outside my dept to use. Easy, I thought, I already have 7 years of beginner SEO guidelines, tips, and helpful hints. I would just quickly run through all my existing documentation and create a cheatsheet.

But summarizing 7 years of SEO knowledge was not as easy as I thought. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Every tip seemed valuable to me. And the more sections I created, the more places I realized information was missing. Strategies I considered common knowledge that I never documented but only kept in my head were creating obvious holes in the documentation. I had to write new documentation to cover the basic stuff I thought everyone already knew. Funny how that works. Sunday afternoon I sent off the multiple page SEO guidelines. I know there will be editing.

I came out of this with some new information of my own on the value of documenting everything as well as my own need to be more succinct. I know a lot of stuff about SEO, but I really need to work on my summarization skills.

This whole post as a tweet: document everything as clearly and as succinctly as possible and make it easier to assemble this info quickly

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