Jeff Bullas wrote: “Just about everyone is a blogger these days whether they realize it or not.” Let me rephrase this a little. Today, exchanging information is not done without writing, or if you want it spelled out in a more modern way of saying it: blogging. Even if you do not have your own blog, you still constantly push out words. If you write status updates on Facebook, you write. If you comment on a news site, you write. If you are on Twitter, you participate in microblogging… that translates to: you write. If you punch out emails, you write. If you take part in online forums, you write.
Shall I continue? Nah, I think you get the picture. The essential takeaway from this situation is that we, as connected human beings, have acquired skills that we should now put to use. Do not shy away. You are practicing your writing skills daily on Facebook, but have you ever written an article? You have learned how to craft an entertaining and informative tweet of less than 140 characters, but have you ever published something of substance you can proudly call your own?
I am not saying: start a blog. Writing your own blog can be frustrating as blogs sometimes lack a connecting element; writing them can make you feel very lonely when you come to the reality that there is no one reading your material or giving you feedback on the other end.
Communicating is Fulfilling
What I am saying is that you have the opportunity to write, publish and connect, so why not do so? It is the written word that connects people in web 2.0; to miss out on this mode of connection is to deprive yourself of a rich and fulfilling way to communicate. There are plenty of ways to share the written word: Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are one way to interact. There are others with a strong visual element alongside the written word, such as, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Video sites like YouTube or Vimeo. Yet, despite the influence of a powerful image, the depth of social media interaction relies on text.
Write, publish and connect. Why?
Why do You Write?
There are numerous reasons for writing and publishing. Some publish for the sake of publishing, for getting their thoughts out to the world and to seek the opinion of others. Others seek recognition as experts. Some write for marketing purposes, to show the world that their products and services are the best and to communicate why people need them. The best writers often combine all of these reasons (and come up with other reasons on their own, as well).
Writing and publishing in today’s world provide the foundation to formulate meaningful connections. If you are connecting for business reasons, you are improving your professional options. If you are an aspiring politician, you are connecting to potential voters. If you are connecting on behalf of a good cause, you are making others aware.
Write, publish and connect. But, where?
Where Should I Publish?
It all depends on what you write. Sites like Buzzfeed allow for quick publishing of article-like content; exploreB2B does the same with a professional emphasis. Tumblr acts as a blogging platform with a social discovery aspect.
There are numerous other places on the web, where you (yes, I mean YOU) can publish. News aggregation sites like Social Media Today or Business 2 Community are effective in reaching medium-sized audience. Guest blogging on already established blogs is another way to communicate in writing. These are only just a few.
Write, publish and connect. But, what should I write about?
Write What You Know
I once read, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. The first and most important lesson I took away from the great read (and the notion that made me a better writer) was: write what you know. Though this is one of the oldest quotes about writing and easy to misunderstand, it can empower your writing in a special way. It does not mean you should not write about things you have not experienced yourself (or otherwise Tolkien would never have written “The Lord of the Rings”). Take it as a notion to let your own wisdom, feelings and thoughts flow into your writing.
It is easy enough to follow this advice. If you are marketing products, you should try them out and understand how they function, their benefits and potential obstacles. If you write about politics, try to understand how new policies affect different communities and populations.
Who is Going to Read What I Write?
Write, publish and connect. But, who is going to read what I write?
As I told you in the beginning, we all already write and publish. More so, there are people who read what we write, on a regular basis. When we get ‘likes’ on a Facebook status update, we have written something others have read. When get ‘retweeted,’ someone has read your message and passed it along. Why should it be any different if you step your writing up one notch and publish an article, something in greater detail, that means something to you?
Let me assure you, the worldwide prevalence of written communication, in the form of meaningful content, is not going to vanish anytime soon. There is a reason for this domination of the written word: advanced written content is relatively easy to create. We as humans have acquired the necessary skills throughout a long history of written communication. You yourself have trained these skills throughout your life-long history of reading and writing for the purposes communication, information and entertainment.
Telling Stories with Video
This may be a mouthful for some, so let me give you some examples. Other forms of creating creative content and publishing it that are seemingly easy to access are photography and video and sharing those via sites like Instagram, Youtube or Vimeo. Let us take a look at video content for a second: While it is easy to shoot some video and put it online, maybe even edit it in iMovie before you do that, will the final product really convey the feeling that you had when recording the shots?
When you are honest to yourself, probably not. Hollywood has perfected the art of recording, editing and finishing moving images for over a hundred years, and while the technology to compete is now available to consumers, the skills still need to be learned. There are of course exceptions to this rule and some content speaks without being edited, even on Youtube. But on average, to convey a perfect piece of storytelling, you need to learn and master the skills of editing and finishing video content. You have to think about the way you take a shot when you take it, which lens to use, which aperture or which frame rate.
The same situation presents itself for photography. While in today’s world the ability to take pictures comes with a phone, and the ability to publish comes with an app, the ability to convey thought and feeling most of the time comes with learning and mastering a craft.
Words are in our Genes Waiting to be Set Free
The skills needed to write and convey thought via text are already in our genes, waiting to be set free. Let me give you another quote by one of the authors I admire most, Stephen King:
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
Social media outlets have trained us in writing and self-publishing. Centuries of human communication have prepared us for the exchange of information and thought. Make use of your capabilities.
Guest Author: Jonathan Gebauer is founder and CEO of exploreB2B, a berlin based startup providing an internet platform for world wide B2B communications and connections. You can contact him via email at jonathan@exploreB2B.com and follow him on Twitter @jogebauer.
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