Message in a Bottle - How to Write on the Internet
When you stop to think about it, writing on the Internet is just like sending a message in a bottle. You carefully craft your message and cast it off into the World Wide Web not knowing where or when it may land. Perhaps it will be read by an 80 year old in Australia, or a teenager in South Africa, or maybe it will float for years and not be read at all! So how do we learn to write on the Internet?
As a young person in school, I remember being taught to, “Write to your audience”. The first step is to identify your audience and write to that level of comprehension. But what if your audience is unknown, or worse yet, what if your audience is the entire world?
The answer is simple, write to your target audience. First identify the subject matter audience and write in a style that appeals to them. If you have written a review about the latest laptop computer, write to those interested in that subject. Do not worry that your article may be read by an elderly man in a nursing home or a 2nd grader. The odds are that the unintended audience will ignore your material, or better yet, they may actually be interested in it!
Think about the endless possibilities. You are reaching out to a specific audience yet still have the potential to draw in new fans as well. There are several times per month that I will stop and read an on-line article about a subject that I would never “Google” or look up. Why? Perhaps, the title caught my eye, or maybe I was searching for something else and the search engine provided me with someone’s message in a bottle!
The beauty of today’s modern “bottle messages” is that now, more than ever, we can learn about the world around us. In one surfing session alone I had inadvertently learned about issues related to both astrophysics and skateboarding! Talk about being well-rounded!
With the help of the right key words and search engines, all of our bottles and their messages will eventually land ashore. With a little bit of luck, hopefully they will reach a person who, after enjoying our material, will toss our bottles even further out into the Internet via a link or forwarded email.
There our messages will continue to float around the world waiting to be discovered.