250 words for writers, but for readers?

An administrator of one popular blogging site says the size of the average post has held steady at 250 words.

So said Matt, a website admin, Jan. 9 about the average post word count on the WordPress.com blogging site.

Why is that? one may ask. My best guess: it’s the number of words most people, unaccustomed to conciseness, take to express a single thought or emotion. And directly related to human attention span.

Once they get it out of their system, they stop writing.

The question is if a reader stops at that number of words. So should, say, Forthright Magazine consider cutting back its maximum article size from 600 words to 250?

After all, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, one of the most important American speeches of all time, contains 272 words.

In professional publishing, says Wikipedia, 250 words is considered to be the standard count per page.

We should take into account average typing speed for the word count, in terms of how the 250 words per post are produced. (The hen peckers and the speed typists ought to even things out.) For an ezine like Forthright, we ought to consider average reading speed and the amount of time a person is willing to spend on a single webpage.

Wickedpedia also says the average talking or reading speed is about 120 words per minute. So with 250 words, we have just over two minutes to get the point across. I suspect most webpage visits average about that.

My two minutes are up. This page has exactly 250 words.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?