Have you read about the Slow-Word Movement?

I was thinking about it long before I knew there was a name defining it, much less a movement behind it.

Formulating ideas, researching, writing, posting to the blog, Twitter and Facebook, and replying to comments left on the blog, Twitter and Facebook, takes time—as does the day-to-day stuff we all face, such as cleaning, maintaining our homes, and nurturing our relationships with our friends, family, and colleagues—oh, and there’s work, too. . . . This all takes time, and in an effort to keep on top of the blogging, posting, and updating, the other stuff falls to the side.

December 30th, Forbes posted a piece by Trevor Butterworth, titled “Time for a Slow-Word Movement.” He provides context by discussing the Slow-Food Movement:

“The slow food movement began in Piedmont, Italy, as an attempt to preserve local traditions, not least of which was the local wine (one early slogan was “Barolo is democratic, or at least can be so”). A bad meal at a workers’ social club—the pasta was cold, the salad was dirty, writes Geoff Andrews in The Slow Food Story—enraged the budding eco-gastronomes and led, initially, to internecine conflict with more orthodox Italian Communists, who were unsympathetic to seeing the workers’ struggle as one for al dente pasta and the bourgeois pleasures of the table. But the sense that the emerging virus of fast life was eroding a qualitatively superior way of living and eating had an unstoppable momentum, and the hyperlocalism of eating less and eating better became its own, far more beneficent political movement.”

The Slow-Word Movement isn’t political, but it is about going slower and better. Do you want to read and produce fattening, or healthy words?

Butterworth talked journalism in his article, but it really applies to everything we do.  Rather than doing everything, let’s pick a few things and do them all really well.

What does this mean for the blog moving forward?

In the coming weeks you’ll see the blog and my personal site revised and integrated. It will include more features, such as a Q&A titled “The Creative Process.” The first Q&A features Seth Godin, and will run January 26th. Future Q&As will run the first of each month. That’s once a month, not once a week. Slow, but goood.

The longer-format pieces will come slower as well—not twice a week such as the “Tribes” pieces have been running. And, rather than just discussing what is or isn’t happen in Afghanistan, we’ll do more pieces that we hope will help the men and women on the ground. The reality is, as politicians and others debate what should or shouldn’t be done, our men and women are still on the ground, sacrificing their lives. We’ll speak with a wide variety of individuals, offering lessons learned, which we hope will help our troops.

I’ve enjoyed all the outreach via Twitter and Facebook, as well as the “three questions” I’ve done with a few readers. These have offered me an opportunity to connect with readers one-on-one, in ways I’ve never been able to in the past. Has been great, but it is difficult to touch base with everyone. Moving forward, I’ll still post to Twitter and  Facebook, but I hope you’ll understand if my outreach is just a little at a time. In return, I’ll do my best to continue with the slow-word movement and provide you content you’ll enjoy reading, just a tad slower.

And relationships? I’ve had an opportunity to meet so many amazing people through blogging and social networking. One of which is Seth Godin. He and I are doing an event together at the Columbus Circle Borders in NYC, February 8th. For those of you in NYC, it would be great to meet you there, and say thank you in person-rather than posting one tweet or Facebook update directed at a group of people.

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  1. Ed Beakley on January 11, 2010 at 11:16 am

    An excellent read – thanks.
    Left you a comment on Facebook, but on reflection wanted to amplify. Two immediate thoughts:
    First in regard to my own website (3 years, only 8 editions), I have legitimate readership (assumed from number of hits/visits) but I’m pretty certain not anything close to yours or Zenpundit or Small Wars journal, for example.

    My subject – decision making in severe crisis – is purposefully narrow, don’t “blog” on the FORUM daily or even on some schedule, and given Spam issues, publish comments from e-mails from those I know and choose on occassion to write. So, I understand level of readership factors, but my concern is some really good stuff is not getting read, I’m most certain, by the audience I most want to reach. I can say “good stuff” without concern because I’m refering to other writers – not myself. Maybe best example –
    Indeed research led me to recognize that “decision makers” most in need of what I was finding never even knew the stuff existed, and therefore I determined to write for not just First responders but for a potential “resilient community” audience inclusive of the 1Rps but also for private sector and citizen alike – how to learn, unlearn, relearn so as to not be just a victim when catastrophe strikes.

    So question, I guess is, without name recognition – yours by example – how does “quality” become “last man standing?”

    Which leads to second thing that almost immediately came to mind – Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence: An Inquiry into Values. Phaedrus: ” and what is good and what is bad?” of note is that the book sold over 4 million copies in twenty-seven languages and was described by the press as “the most widely read philosophy book, ever,” and was originally rejected by 121 publishers, more than any other bestselling book, according to the Guinness Book of Records. (from Wiki)

    I ramble enough. Again great article and I look forward to your provision of quality. Thanks

  2. Robert Somerville on January 12, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Take as much time as you like in creating your content. Your readership follows you for the quality of your output not the quantity.

    My view of Facebook and Twitter is that these are principally communication/notification platforms which expand the reach of the content you publish on your blog when used effectively. They increase the awareness of your published content by allowing you to ‘notify’ the community of people that are interested in knowing when you publish new material on the blog.


    ps Just finished reading The War of Art on the iPhone having purchased the Kindle version from Amazon while stalled on the tarmac at Heathrow airport waiting for a tyre to be changed on the plane I was in. Don’t you just love the internet?

  3. Noelle on January 12, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Hi Steven, I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your “outreach” period and general online/social media productivity these past few months. However, I can totally understand your decision to scale it back, particularly if it is starting to dominate your time at the expense of other creative projects.

    I’d just like to say at this point whether you’re putting up blog posts once a week or just once a month, your loyal readers – myself included – will be here:) If you could just let us know via Twitter when new posts are up, it would be much appreciated. Cheers.

  4. historyguy99 on January 14, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Steve,

    I can totally concur with your descision to scale back the posts, but increase the content. I too find it hard to post frequently, and still have something worthwhile to say. The “Slow-Word Movement.” makes perfect sense to raise the quality of blogging and attract more talented voices to take up the cause. . Besides, I love reading what my blog friends have to say and sometimes it is impossible to read each of them on a daily or even weekly basis.

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