A look into this week: Online Communities + Engaging AudiencesOctober 23rd, 2010 by Paula Lay
Engaging Elements for Writing Online
Are there specific elements required in writing to engage readers? Are there approaches to, or styles of writing that actively encourage conversation and dialogue from an audience? This was asked this week in WEB206 in regards to blogs and online communities.
My partner and I actually met each other through a photography/music site that has its own branches of tight knit groups. Most of us photographers have met each other or have run into each other at music events. I think being in a community with a common interest (this community had the bonus of having two key interests – music and photography) can act as the foundation for conversation and dialogue to establish itself. Once that is set, the conversation doesn’t even need to be about the key interests anymore. As people get to know each other, dialogue can branch into anything that the participants want to.
This is reflecting from personal experience, but also ties in with a point by Rheingold (1998), in that:
Audience impact on online media texts and changes to the digital media landscape
The audience can shape the way people think about writing media texts. With audience interaction and comment systems, it paves the way for feedback and criticism. Writers have to think before posting generalisations, any accusations or false information. I’ve seen well known media groups, like Smashing Magazine, retracting posts or tweets that turned out to be misleading ([TWEET]: Regarding “IE9 is the IE6 of CSS3″ (http://bit.ly/9KICRP) — the article is quite old, and a test case is required to prove the statement. – Smashing Magazine, Oct 19 2010).
Online content is also searchable. Using other writers content can backfire, particularly if you have swiped data from their page without acknowledgment, credit or being brave enough to suggest that the material is your own. Granted, there will be a lot of material in the digital realm where the same opinions overlap, so this is specifically for cases of copy and pasted content.
Born and bred in Sydney, Paula is a Content Producer by day, and Internet Communications undergrad by night. Her side projects include photography odd jobs and starting up Pup and Panda on Etsy. Why she wrote this in third person is still unknown.
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