Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Blog Writing Lesson 1

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At the Blog Summit (see Tom Peters blog), one of the topics was "True Voice: the Art and Science of Blog Writing."

I've spoken of online writing in the past on this blog, but here's a new insight I haven't yet shared with you.

Blog Writing Lesson 1

If you want to really learn how to write for a blog, here is some tested and proven advice.

I guarantee that it will work and it will deliver fast results:

1. Start commenting on other blogs.

2. Start commenting and initiating topic threads on bulletin boards.

3. Start posting comments and initiating topic threads on email discussion lists.

4. Start commenting and initiating topic threads at online forums.

You may have to register, sign up for, or subscribe to some of these writing arenas, but that's not hard to do.

What are you passionate about?

Find blogs, bulletin boards, email discussion lists, online forums devoted to your favorite issues and ideas.

Then jump into the conversation, join a heated debate, provide others with the benefit of your knowledge and experience.

Try a variety of communication styles:

* dead serious and reserved
* dry humor
* stuffily academic
* righteously belligerant
* light-hearted and a little silly
* plain, unvarnished common talk
* naive and intuitive
* carefully researched, scientific
* sound younger than your age
* sound older than your age
* sound less educated
* sound more educated

Some of these "voices" may be harder than others for you to pull off.

The idea here is not to be deceptive, but to practice a variety of styles. This experiment will help you to focus on the style that is most natural, but also most effective, for you.

To "be yourself" you must experiment with what is probably not "yourself", just to "know thyself" better and more completely, by knowing "what you're not". It's also called "going out of character" by theatrical folks.

So experiment with styles. You don't have to settle on one rigid manner of communicating. In fact, sometimes you'll adopt a certain style for one context, and a totally different style for another context.

You may anger someone accidentally, at a blog, forum, discussion list, board.

You may be mocked, denounced, scolded, warned, or hated by other members or commenters.

You may even be banned by a moderator or an administrator.

This has happened to me a few times when I was a little too independent-thinking, but never due to attacking anyone personally or bad language or violating rules. In my opinion, I was banned due to having strongly expressed opinions that the moderator or administrator disagreed with and couldn't stand hearing anymore.

But this is how we learn to write and express ourselves online.

Don't just venture forth a little note in some meek, weak manner.

Speak up.

Say what you think, as politely, intelligently, and authoritatively as you can.

Be funny if warranted.

Be stern if necessary.

Be the "you" that you need to be in a given situation.

Practice makes perfect.

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