Posts Tagged ‘ 10000 words ’

Blog as if everyone’s watching

Social media makes for lousy diaries.

We all know this rule (or at least think we do) yet that doesn’t stop the torrent of mundane Twitter updates about lunch, heart-on-the sleeve Facebook postings about a relationship or ill-informed pop culture rants on a blog. There’s a fine line between creative expression and personal overexposure, and it gets blurry every time a new communications tool reaches the masses.

Mark Luckie, the creator and author of the outstanding 10,000 words blog, understands the need for separation. In his question-and-answer session with my Interactive Writing and Design class last week, the journalist and multi-media expert emphasized the importance of keeping the personal and professional in different spaces on the web. Luckie’s professional persona is built around his knowledge of using interactive media for journalism, something he shares on his blog each week. He has other interests as well, expressed through what he described as serial tagging and bookmarking of  websites on his favorite topics. But that’s an entirely different identity, one he shares with his professional network very sparingly, if at all.

For those of us with fledgling online identities, he offered a simple piece of advice that is too often ignored by first-time bloggers — write as if you have a large audience. When you know of only a few people checking your blog or Twitter feed, it stifles the content from ever reaching a level of quality that can attract new viewers. If you’re writing just for a few friends, entries become so casual and personal that they reach diary territory. Post just for a teacher in mind, and the content is stilted and stuffy without a unique voice.

Write for a large audience, on the other hand, and you naturally start focusing on  topics where you have expertise, adding something substantial to the conversation. You also develop a natural and distinct voice that makes your blog engaging for new readers.

Whether the audience actually comes around or not, a blog like this shows credibility to employers, Luckie said. Rather than just claim knowledge in a job interview, you can point to a blog and prove your engagement with a topic. He should know. He managed to turn a professional interest into an online outlet enjoyed by thousands, and one that’s opened up new doors in his career, all without sacrificing his personal privacy.