The Internet has provided writers with an unprecedented opportunity to be heard. From publishing e-books and updating personal blogs, to commenting in forums and tweeting about your breakfast, if you are a writer you are probably writing something online.
But, are people reading what you write?
Below are some of the most well known types of online writers. Their reputations precede them because their writing style drives many readers crazy. Do you see yourself in any of these categories?
- Do you send a status update for everything going on in your life?
- Does something “epic” seem to happen to you every single day?
- Do you measure your worth by your number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends?
- Is responding to readers near the bottom of your priorities list?
There are times when self-promotion is a good thing, but for the most part, you want to reach out and engage your audience in some way. Remember that writing online is a great place to start conversations that move the needle, and listen as often as you speak out.
- Have you ever created an online account for the sole purpose of correcting someone’s grammar?
- Do you keep a dictionary and a few style guides within arm’s reach?
- Are you the go-to person among friends and family for all grammar questions?
- Are you slow at getting content through the pipeline because you’re such a painstaking self-editor?
Attention Grammar Police: despite what you’re instincts are telling you, a few typos or mistakes are usually not the end of the world, especially in certain venues like informal message boards. Write your text, proofread it, and then let it go.
The Meme Creator
- Do you have a collection of meme-worthy photos for nearly any occasion?
- Has your vocabulary become infected with catchphrases from well-known memes like “Cool Story Bro” or “That Escalated Quickly”?
- Are pictures your sole contribution to meaningful Internet discussions?
Everyone loves a good photo opportunity, but sometimes you just need to reign it in. Please. We want to hear what you have to say – not necessarily see what you see. Photo captions don’t tell the whole story!
- When reading a news story or article, are you likely to head down a wormhole of research and fact-checking?
- Do footnotes and endnotes get you excited?
- Do you craft 5,000-word message board posts in MS Word, then break them up into a series for posting online?
- Do your posts have enough ten-dollar-words for a down payment on a small house?
In most corners of the Internet, informal writing is OK, even encouraged, so think carefully about the venue before you start crafting your next treatise on the nuances of Chrome vs. Firefox, paper vs. plastic, or any other such issue.
The Writers’ Block
- Do you think of lots of writing projects, but never launch most of them past the idea phase?
- Do weeks or months pass between blog posts?
- Do you have a folder full of half-finished drafts?
- Do you read lots of insightful articles about how to find inspiration, then put none of these tips into action?
- Are you easily distracted, perhaps jumping at the opportunity to do something other than stare at a blank white screen?
Writer’s block is a manifestation of fear and insecurity; until you get beyond whatever’s troubling you, it’s tough to think of yourself as a writer at all. Learn more about what to do when your creative well runs dry.
- Do you spend an unusual amount of time thinking of clever screen names?
- Can you quickly, easily bring up counterpoints to even the most rational arguments?
- Do you like to argue for the sake of arguing?
- Have you ever been banned from a forum?
The most sophisticated trolls simply take a mildly contrarian stance on everything, sparking ongoing debates in otherwise placid communities. While we’re all for you exercising your right to free speech (in writing), remember that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
We want to hear from you. Let us know what kind of Internet writer drives you crazy, and what type you see in yourself. Are there any that we missed?