The art of writing is one that will probably never be mastered. Evoking emotion and conversation from the written word is one that requires great skill and is extremely rewarding. With the advent of Web 2.0 and social media, the art of writing faces another obstacle, but does it really matter if someone can write well or if they can inspire conversation and response? Perhaps one lends itself to the other, but what good are any of these skills if no one can experience them?
Robert Niles’ column “Newspaper columnists ought to be the perfect bloggers. So why aren’t more doing it well?” covers the transition for columnists in traditional media into the world of social media in the online space. Niles states in his article that many successful writers and columnists have not been able to take full advantage of cyberspace and draw their readers into a conversation. Although many traditional journalists might be unwilling to make the transition to a new medium, Niles argues that its less about understanding all of the latest gadgets and platforms that are available than using tools at your disposal to engage your audience. Good writers already have the writing tools at their disposal and Denise Wakeman’s article “Top 10 Blog Writing Tips” offers a refresher of these tools, modified for the online setting.
I believe that it is imperative that journalists, both in the traditional media and modern media space should understand the power that blogging offers them: a chance to hear engage their audience by asking them personal questions and evoking a response. Blogs offer a connection between writer and reader that is far more convenient than sending a letter to the editor of a local paper. Readers can leave messages for the writer that everyone can see, giving the writer an opportunity to answer back and continue an evolving topic of discussion with the entire audience.
I understand the transition for more “old school” journalists to the web might be a bit more difficult (but is it really?), it is absolutely necessary for modern journalists to utilize blogs and social media as a way to promote themselves and their work. As traditional media continues to decline, the younger generations of media consumers are heading away from the paper and television and reaching for their phones, tablets and laptops. Not only are they using these devices to access information and news, they use social media platforms to communicate with others and want to take part in this new social experience. Blogging journalists have a chance to draw these people in. Do you think this trend of blogging will remain relevant? What will become of traditional news media in 10 years?
Bottom line, it’s about engaging readers with your words and starting a conversation. The tools are at our disposal, we must use them to be successful.