Read. Write. Discover. 272


Abraham Lincoln proved that. It took him just 272 words to craft the Gettysburg Address. What would you like to share? What is your 272?

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272s are standalone pieces, exactly 272 words in length, and take about a minute to read. Average wait for a cappuccino: 90 seconds. Average time to fill the tank of your car: 120 seconds. Having a great 272 to read at a moment’s notice: priceless.


272s are on any topic, prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. Writing exactly 272 words is not done in a trifle. That is the point: it takes craft and care to write with concision and clarity. Not to worry, we provide a word counter and other writing aids.


Discover keen readers. Discover new writers. Or maybe just discover your inner writer. Discover the stimulating effects of the 272 creation process. And most of all, discover new ideas — including those you did not even know you would find interesting.

272 Words About 272

Why try social networking through the written word?

By Joel Smith

When my wife and I and two friends founded 272 we set out to create a different sort of social media platform. A slower, a quieter, a — dare we hope — more civil place for thoughtful and thought-inspiring conversations. Challenging conversations. No rants please. No echo chambers.

So we took as our inspiration the Gettysburg Address, a document that was challenging, inspiring and, as we now know today, enduring. It stood as one nation's mission statement. It lasts as a testament to universal values. It took Lincoln 272 words to achieve it.

So our question to you is this: Can you 272?

Do you have an idea you want to test drive, or a thought, manifesto, story, experience, poem, anthem, inspiration, observation, thesis or any combination of the above and can you concentrate its essence in 272 words, and more specifically, can you shape it in exactly 272 words?

Sure you can. It will take care and craft. It will take time and thought. It will take reflection and refinement. When I write a 272 I find my original goals, what I thought were my most important points, change as I put them through the 272-word crucible. The best ideas rise to the top. Others meld. The piece strengthens with the writing.

Of course, you may want to visit here just to read and to discover other peoples' writings... writings put together with care and craft. Time and thought. Reflection and refinement.

Now that does sound like a different sort of crowd-powered platform than what we are used to.

Or as my wife likes to say, 272 is social networking through the written word.

The Original 272 — The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln


Our goal is to foster thoughtful, thought-inspiring conversations. 272s are our mechanism of choice, but one of the ways we will be keeping the conversation going is through our podcast.

We will select top 272s – those identified by readers as the most thoughtful and thought-inspiring – to discuss with guest authors. Submit your best 272 and be part of the podcast!

Lincoln podcast

A Note on our Logo

The ALincoln font used in our logo "272 Read. Write. Discover." derives from Lincoln’s own handwriting used in drafting the Gettysburg Address. (Developed by Steve Woolf).

Abraham Lincoln Says

"Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored."