I generally like seeing the words "Read More" printed almost anywhere — a reminder to all of us to pick up more printed material, to make time for text. If you’ve been visiting any of the PW blogs this week, you may have noticed "Read More" popping up a lot more often, and may or may not have welcomed the repetition of this short command.
On the primary page for ShelfTalker, where you could previously see my most recent posts in their entirety, you now see only the first paragraph or so of my lengthier missives, followed by the words "Read More." Clicking on those two magic words will take you to a new page where you can read the entire post. If you’ve been enjoying the option of scrolling through the entire text of my posts, in reverse chronological order, you may find this change a bit frustrating. On the other hand, if you prefer being able to catch up on my posts by picking and choosing from an abridged menu of sorts, the "Read More" alteration might be working for you.
Whatever your thoughts on this change (and I’d like to hear what they are!), please know that its adoption did allow for one very significant improvement in the lives of we bloggers. Over lo these many months I have been limited to a total of 7,000 characters per post. This character count includes not just the characters in the sentences themselves, though, but also the characters in the embedded links, the photos in the posts, and all the html language that goes along with the formatting . In other words, a post might not be all that lengthy, word-wise, but if it contains a lot of links or photos it can hit 7,000 characters in no time flat. This is why I’ve had to split some of what were intended to be single posts into two separate ones.
The most frustrating element of that previous arrangement has been the fact that the blog tool we use on this site has no character count feature. So, as I’ve been writing my posts I’ve had to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that when I finally finished typing and hit "save" I wouldn’t then be greeted by a "posts must be 7,000 characters or less" error message, which would prevent me from saving my work until I’d somehow cut out enough characters to bring the number under the acceptable limit.
Here’s what that looked like: Finish typing post. Hit save. Get the error message. SWEAR LOUDLY. Look over post and consider splitting it in two. Decide that this particular post reads as one complete thought and therefore shouldn’t be divided into multiple posts. Sigh deeply. Take out a sentence. Hit save again. Get the error message. Whimper. Find a couple sentences that probably shouldn’t be cut but are worth expelling just to escape the nightmare of the $*&!*^% character count. Hit save. Get the error message. SWEAR AGAIN and utter LOUD, WHINY sound of exasperation. Get sympathy from boyfriend who rushes into room and says, "AGAIN?? That stupid $*&!*^% character count!!" Copy entire post and paste it into a Word document. Run character count in Word. See that the text itself is under the character count, so the problem is the characters added by the links and/or photos and/or formatting. Decide what’s more expendable: another section of text, another link, another photo. Cut out some of each. Hit save. (You get the idea…)
Eventually I would hit save and the post window I was typing in would disappear, taking me back to a menu on which I could see my post and know that it had inded been saved. In other words, by then my problem was solved — usually about an hour after I *should* have been done blogging.
The scene dramatized above has played out SO MANY TIMES in my household this year that I shudder to think how many hours I’ve lost to the senseless back and forth of this EVIL, EVIL blog tool feature. Therefore I am THRILLED that the lovely folks who manage this site have found a way to spare me and my fellow bloggers from this problem in the future.
That having been said, no one at RBI wants this blog (or any other on their sites) to be less enticing for its readers. And I certainly don’t want you to stop reading my posts! So, please, fill the comments field with your feedback on the switch to truncated posts with the "Read More" invitation. And while you’re at it, feel free to comment on anything else you do or don’t like about the set up or appearance of this blog and/or others on PW. I’ll be sure your comments are seen by the people who care most about them. (And I’m certainly one of those people!)