Friday, January 15, 2010

Writing for New Media Platforms

Writing and new media:
Getting one's message out there has never been easier than it is today. We can disseminate information across different platforms with mobile and web being the most powerful, and we can do so in real time. The web demands constant contact and updating from users. Engaging is the key word in media today and it isn't unusual to see websites across all kinds of markets using social networking sites (namely Twitter and Facebook) along with storage services that include social networking functions (such as YouTube and Flickr).

That said, social entrepreneurs will still use the power of the word with more than 140 characters. Blog entries are a popular way of keeping the public abreast of issues and updates and social entrepreneurs may be writing newsletters, press releases, and articles as well.

How to write effectively for new (and old) media:
Here are two articles that explain the usage of language in old media and new media today and how you can get your point across with less words; these are "must reads" for any social entrepreneur who writes on a regular basis.

Read More:
1. "Writing Good English" by William Zinsser || This was a talk given to incoming international students at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and it's relevant to anyone who writes in the English language, irrespective of whether English is your native language or not.
2. "Cut This Story!" by Michael Kinsley || Newspaper articles are too long and this is where new media beats old media.


  1. i loved the first article. I think most of us International students can relate what William Zinsser is talking about. I was once told by my english teacher that, I use too much indirect words instead of being direct. I later realized its a culture thing, because Eastern cultures, people are not direct. A good example of indirectness from the article is what the boy from Cairo had say. In cairo "people speak in proverbs" the boy said, for example "what you seek is also seeking you". That is very true, because eastern cultures consider being direct is disrespectful. I loved the article, I think I will apply the simple english lessons he gives/ discusses on his article.

  2. Bahati, thank you for your comment! I observed this in my student's writing when I was teaching English on the East Coast of Malaysia. It's present in my own writing as well, in fact I will go on to say that even writers who speak English as their first language are now writing in the passive voice because of literary aesthetics. What's important to any writer is getting your message across and having it understood by as many people as possible. I too have made some notes on both articles. I'm glad it could be of assistance to you!

    peace and blessings,