BLUF as a reply to TL;DR

To get to the point: you better keep it short and entertaining if you want to engage people. If your first paragraph goes on about ‘world leading’ or sets the stage for a lengthy essay, then you may want to reconsider the BLUF principle: Bottom Line Up Front.

Chances are that you didn’t know the BLUF acronym and you may also have asked yourself why you got TL;DR at the beginning of a comment or reply to one of your posts on social media. The term Too Long; Didn’t Read became popular about ten years ago – when people responding to long posts and comments in the blogosphere would add it to indicate that they were only reacting to parts of the post (or were just ignoring it completely because it was too boring long).  

More recently, you can see sites adding a TL;DR heading, to provide a summary of the article further down and to get a quick overview of what the article is about without having to read the full text. A good news release doesn’t need such a heading, as the first paragraph should be useable on its own – as some editors may not have the space or time for more.

But when repurposing content the BLUF and TL;DR principles are worth considering. A white paper or technical article may have the perfect structure and revolutionary conclusions, if the online community is not getting the bottom line, then you may want to craft your intro or headline a bit better. 


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Posted by
ServĂ© Tonino 
on September 22, 2017

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