This is the e-century, the 21st century things are different, very different indeed.It has taken me a decade to get round to thinking this.
In 1999 one of my very first blogs was also the basis of a workshop I gave to ABB Communications Managers on ‘How to write for the web.’
My title was, ‘There’s nothing’s New about New Media.’
In one respect I was right, writing comes in many forms and writing online needs to tailor itself less to the online experience than to the space, time, audience, purpose, just as you would write each of the following in a different way:
• Letter to your mum.
• Christmas Shopping list.
• Footnote to a speech a colleague is giving.
• To camera presenter.
• Voice over presenter.
• Technical ‘how to’.
• Writer’s journal.
• Stream of consciousness on the state of your relationship.
• Dream analysis.
• Geography essay.
• Agitated response to the local planning department who are knocking down the houses opposite to widen the road into a dual-carriageway.
• Threaded discussion on a pop stars dress-sense.
• Notes to a lawyer regarding your step-mother’s claim on your late father’s estate.
- Notes from a report you’ve read.
- The first draft of an essay your are writing.
- The transcript of a council meeting.
- A short story.
- An obituary.
- A commercial selling yoghurt drinks
- A campaign message from a politician
is a writer’s trick. Twitter shouldn’t be the only place to deny the freedom to pontificate in this way without any intention of editing.
Though I’ve slipped up occasionally my rule in OU Land has been 250 words for a threaded discussion, 500 words in the blog and anything more either break the blog up into separate entries, offer it as an attachment or link away to a different site.
1000 words min per entry was a rule some of use early bloggers agreed to in 2002 to cut out those who would put in a line, twenty times a day, to get their page numbers up.
My longest single entry ran to over 10,000 words, written as I travelled 800 miles by train and ferry across Southern England, the English Channel and France 🙁
Guaranteed to stop any reader on the second paragraph.
Though it works broken into 30 pages with illustrations.
So in this respect it worked, all I posted was an early draft. Had I been a co-author I would not have needed to do anything else. And my notes would have been better off in a wiki.
Put everything that has been written, and everything that is going to be written, or expressed in the spoken or written word and put it in the e-blender. This is the web for the first decade. Now add photos and music. This is the last decade. Now add everything else, all moving images, video, every film, every corporate training film, anything and everything anyone ever records, or films, or has transferred or will transfer from film, or tape to a digital format.
Put it in this blender and leave the lid off. If you’ve ever blended the partially cooked ingredients for leek and potato soup you know what is going to happen.
Now look around your kitchen.
This is the web for the insider’s point of view. There’ll be some tastey bits – stuck to the ceiling, if you can reach them.
Now do the same with a vast blender in the middle of the Albert Hall.
Or should I be kinder, and imagine the 21st web to be like visiting the Planetarium armed with my own laser so that I can interact.
The mind boggles; mine does, relentlessly.