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Friday, January 29, 2010

Chp 283. Writing "Exclusive" Articles for a Global Audience

A couple of friends asked me if I'm going to blog about the recent Mizo Picnic on Republic Day here in Mumbai. Of course I am. But due to extremely heavy workload this month, I can barely find the time to sail around the blogosphere.

Hence I will definitely update my blog about that wonderful picnic in the next couple of days.

But as I was pondering on that memorable day, a thought flashed by. How does one write about events like that on their blog anyway?

Of course I am not talking about writing a football post or gothic metal post. Those are “interests” and only those who are passionate about those particular subjects will find the post interesting. By exclusive topics, I mean topics that are community-centric and not based on one’s passion, where it is difficult for others who do not belong to a particular community to read a blog that revolves around that particular community.

Although blogging is all about freestyling where you can write about anything in any way you want, if you want to be a little bit more serious about what you blog, then there are certain things to keep in mind.

Most important of all, know your audience. Based on that, you can write “exclusive” events like this Mizo Picnic in three different styles.

1. The “dear diary” style.

You write about the Mizo picnic as if you are addressing only one person. You talk about a friend or an incident during the picnic without much explanation or elaboration. You take it for granted that the people who read your blog all know who or what you are talking about. This style makes sense if you are writing only for a Mizo crowd (or to be more precise, Mizos who are in Mumbai). The post will also contain a lot of frying or personal jokes, using nicknames that only you and the intended audience understand. In this style, you build great rapport with your Mizo visitors, but unfortunately, non-Mizos will tend to shy away.

2. The “Me, myself and I” method.

In this style, you use a lot of first-person singular personal pronoun. The overall tone and theme of your blog post is about how you see the picnic through your own eyes. You write about all the things you did and how much you enjoyed doing that or eating this. Although some of your blog visitors may derive pleasure from seeing the entire picnic through your eyes (at a very personal and intimate level), you also stand a chance of leaving out important events about the picnic that you did not participate in or was not aware of.

3. The “Universal” writer.

Most columnists write in this manner. This is the opposite of the “dear diary” style mentioned above. The way you write has to appeal to everybody across all sections. Of course your topic may appeal to a certain crowd, but you have to write in such a way that people in that particular segment reading your blog are not left in the lurch because they do not understand a certain personal joke or metaphor. You have to write as general as possible, and this is guaranteed to increase the number of visitors to your blog (in terms of diversity).

There are other ways of writing too, but I don’t want to drag this post.

From the above three styles, there is no “best method”. That’s the beauty about blogging. You can use your own style and fly free. Writing “globally” about Mizo events may get you a lot of audience from different locations, but that means you will have to explain certain traditions or translate a few words so that your audience can comprehend easily. This will of course be boring for people (Mizos) who are already familiar with such terms and traditions.

You can also mix styles in any way you want.

Hence that is why you must know your audience and write for a particular target. Expand your options and be completely versatile. It may not make you popular or help you sign a record deal with renowned publication houses, but it will definitely improve the way you write and help you see things clearer.

And the best part about blogging? Hey, it’s your own blog. You can write what you want, how you want, where you want. Even if you make mistakes, you do not have to stay back in class after school and write on the blackboard a hundred times, “I shall be not making grammatical or lexical mistaken upon my blog”.

But always try to listen to criticism.