Huffington hires Shakespeare as Blogger!

This past weekend, in preparation for VoxPopNJ’s next workshop “Social Media for Creative People”, I sat at my computer actively avoiding the blank Powerpoint slides before me.  I checked my email, commented on Facebook, listened to @CraigMahoney’s newest podcast, and sent way too many tweets, including a few to my favorite Brit, @microedge.  A talented web developer, @microedge recently decided to tweet at only three points throughout the day; British restraint at its best.  So when he sent a tweet to me, I paid attention.

Microedge Tweet to Lgesin

@microedge took it a step further when he responded, “He would create plays as blogs so you would have to read them to the end.”  The more I thought about that comment, the more I realized it’s true.

What makes a reader stick with a blog post to the end?  What changes that reader from a frustrated freshman in high school assigned to read Romeo and Juliet into a paying patron in a movie theater riveted by Leo and Claire?  Is it the medium or the message?

I do some of my best thinking in my car and those Powerpoint slides weren’t making themselves, so I took a drive over to the library to pick up a book I had on hold.  During the invasion of our snowy overloads earlier this month, I was approached by @liz_lynch for inclusion in one of her blog posts.  Curious about who she was, I checked her Twitter profile, discovered she wrote a book entitled Smart Networking, and, being a broke owner of a startup, I reserved it at the library.

A nice slim volume with practical advice for both online and offline business networking, @liz_lynch’s chapter about blogging contained two points that come close to answering my query about Shakespeare:

Blogs show your personality and authenticity.

Shakespeare’s personality isn’t well documented, but as an English major and sometime teacher, I’m confident that he’d be a lot like @craigmahoney – brilliant, baudy, and bitter.  Shakespeare’s observations on politics, romance, and sports (remember all that fencing) coupled with his reputation at least according to Wikipedia as the “the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist” would make even Arianna Huffington take pause!

I’m no Shakespeare, but I am opinionated and have a decent sense of humor.  I don’t tout myself as an authority on blogging and other forms of networking online simply because I believe my efforts speak for me…and does the internet really need another “social networking guru”?  Online communication and networking is a passion of mine, and I’ve met many interesting, knowledgeable and influential people using the tools available online including blogs.    I teach what I love, and as a teacher I hope my students (whoever they are) walk away knowing more than they did before I started.

I also tell a damn good story!

The Powerpoint slides are finally done, and Mr. Shakespeare, @craigmahoney, & @microedge will be a large part of my presentation on blogging next Saturday.  Personality and authenticity serve us well in just about everything we do – this week, keep that in mind as you communicate in any medium.  As Shakespeare might say today:

All the internet’s a blog,
And all the men and women merely writers;
They have their personality and their authenticity,
And one man in his time writes many posts,
with comments always welcome.

7 responses to “Huffington hires Shakespeare as Blogger!

  1. Really thoughtful point about writing with a sense of drama — ensuring readers continue through to the end. Thanks for the analogy!

  2. My 15 minutes of fame has arrived. It is an interesting concept. It also led me to think about the 1001 Arabin Nights,t he stories proceed from the original tale to the next.

    This is how a young princess avoided execution. She told a tale and left the Kings court wanting to know more and she would tell them more the next night thus avoiding execution.

    perhaps blogging in the future will keep us captivated so we are yearning for the next tale, sorry blog post.

  3. Shakespeare would most definitely be a writer, and I would say a fan of Twitter; each Tweet would be a writing challenge, like a sonnet, to express an idea or story in a very limited space.

    Tell a story and having that attention holding flow is always a critical aspect of every blog post. The question is this: do you think most bloggers consider themselves to be writers?

  4. Hmm. I guess I see “blog” as a vehicle for publishing writing, rather than as a verb. No sure if this makes a difference.

  5. Re Do you think most bloggers consider themselves to be writers?

    writer
    blogger
    publisher
    author
    content provider

    These are just a few terms that have evolved and emerged during the latest Web 2.o spurt.

    “Writer” used to intimate a literary connection. Shakespeare was a writer. A writer had a certain cachet. A writer would travel in the then-cultured circles.

    Today’s writer is essentially anyone who provides content – online, offline, in print, in broadcast, in any medium. Today’s writer still travels in the now-cultured circles. But not all of today’s writers possess that mysterious cachet.

    What’s changed most significantly about all of this is not so much the words used to mean communicator but rather the ever-growing, ever-overlapping circles in which one travels.

    Technology has made the world a smaller, more convenient place where ideas are quickly and easily exchanged. With that, anyone can be a writer if they so choose.

  6. “With that, anyone can be a writer if they so choose.”

    Joanna — I agree, and yet I do have this feeling that being a writer needs to imply more than simply the providing of content. There’s a process that goes into the production of quality writing, which I think needs to go along with that term. Not that I’m necessarily trying to be elitist or to set up artificial definitions, but it’s clear that not all online content is quality writing.

    I also like your point about “cachet.” That’s going to be my word for today, I think.

  7. I agree with you Joanna, that not all writers carry that cachet, and in today’s world that status has definitely changed. Though I think people who consider themselves writers before bloggers do still retain some of that cachet.

    I also agree with Ted that being a writer does imply something more.
    Would they be writing if there were no blogs? Did they write before blogs? Do they write outside blogs?

    I believe that there are many bloggers who, without the medium of blogs, would not write otherwise. I think writers are writers whether technology is there or not.

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