Chapter 12

Leaving a Smaller Digital Imprint

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

—Blaise Pascal

Long story, short. Make social media posts and e-mails that capture and respect a busy executive's time.

The Digital Flood

It's official: we're all wired.

A 2013 study on Internet trends by Mary Meeker and Liang Yu reports that people check their smartphones an average of 150 times a day.1

Everyone's glued to his or her electronic devices—in airports; at the office; walking between meetings; before, during, and after work; even sneaking it at home. We're also hooked to our smartphones, tablets, and e-mail.

A July 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report says managing e-mail takes 28 percent of the average worker's time. You spend a large chunk of your time just keeping up with the constant flow of messages coming in throughout the course of the day.2

In the midst of this massive data dump, people check their Twitter feeds nonstop, tantalized by the appetizing 140-character limit. Professionals scan their LinkedIn status updates to gauge who is coming and going and what business news they need to share. Addicted to our devices, we add tons of content that mostly gets lost in the rising flood.

So, what are the do's and don'ts of brevity in the digital age?

You need to be economical with every word, or you'll be chalked up as just another source of white noise. The last thing people want to read are paragraph-long status updates. Nothing ...

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