Coming to Grips with the Democratization of Content – Oh, the Horror!
As someone who earns a living as a writer, I remember my mixed feelings when I first realized the internet would forever change how people create and share information. On the plus side, surely this was a good thing I reasoned. More people can share different ideas. The exchange of viewpoints will fuel innovation. Voices previously unheard will have a fair say. Can world peace be within reach?
BUT, and this is a big one–as a professional writer, I admit I was horrified. I braced myself for an onslaught of poor syntax, grammatical errors, and jumbled thoughts—where will it all end?! With the maturity of the internet came reconciliation. Of course being a writer, that translates to a blog post with my top five dos and don’ts for writers in any medium:
- DON’T confuse the power of the channel with the power of the content. A web page doesn’t automatically bring enlightenment to your audience. Clear, crisp writing is the only path to meaningful communication.
- DO keep in mind that your readers have absolutely no way of knowing your unique experience—the reality that shapes your perspectives. Your job as a writer is to make your experience resonate with your audience’s reality. That is the only way they will hear you.
- DO sweat the details for absolute, fact-based accuracy. Trust is fragile and hard to win back if you share erroneous information with readers who count on you.
- DO question everything. Keep your creativity alive by being open to new ideas that no one has thought of before.
- DO be yourself. Resist the temptation to assume a different persona when you write. The most powerful words come from the heart, and that has to be genuine.
I understand that all of the above has been said before. But like most fundamentals, they are well worth repeating, especially as the internet spawns more content creators. As for me, some days are better than others. On the best ones, I take all manner of writing in stride. Split infinitives—who cares? Garbled, run-on sentences minus prepositions or punctuation—bring it on! Made up words that aren’t yet in the dictionary–ok if they’re clever enough. But please, please spare me the superfluous “ly” (i.e., firstly, secondly, importantly). After all, I have to draw the line somewhere.
This is my first blog post on SCN. While I plan to write about all kinds of business trends, I wanted to begin with some of my thoughts that are foundational to the writing craft itself. I welcome your comments. More to come…