In order to properly reflect on the concepts of the course, naturally I flipped back through my notes. There was lots of highlighted content to review. The one recurring theme was to be yourself, be authentic, and know your audience.
This is a particularly difficult task, in that when you first start blogging, you don’t have an audience. You are hoping for one, but technically, until someone reads what you wrote, they are non-existent.
To that end, the one thing I found lacking in this course was interaction on each other’s blogs. There was no recommended, imposed or even suggested reading or posting to classmates writing.
This is somewhat counter-intuitive considering this course is the one specifically dedicated to communicating online. The other Social Media courses all had engagement among peers.
That being said, I did read them. I enjoyed them all. I commented on a few. It’s just unfortunate that we were not encouraged to interact with each other. Especially given our remoteness from each other. Unlike classroom settings, where we get to know our fellow students and the professor, we were left with little feedback.
So, while I did learn about: 5 key rules; strategy framework; style-guides; psychographics; demographics; purpose; relevance; conversation; inverted pyramids; and grabbing the reader in the first line, I completely lost out on the opportunity to write to a captive COM0014 audience.
A very frustrating aspect to this course for me was the marks lost to grammar. I have always had a high respect for grammar and a thorough understanding of its proper usage. I have never lost so many marks for grammar, even in the most formal of writings, in the 26 courses I took this year. To me, this course was intended to learn about the art of storytelling and the ability to engage an audience. Not how well my “fragment” would be perceived by the reader.
Stories have been told for eons. The Legend of the Golden Spruce that we read about in lesson 7 was a perfect example of this. That story, it’s moral, essence and generational lesson managed to be passed down without being criticized for having a dangling participle.
In today’s world, storytelling is important to great digital content because there is such a massive amount of competition, all vying for the precious time that is so valuable in our rushed and frenzied lives. Rarely are we listening to stories around a campfire, at our forefather’s knee, or on a stage as in Shakespeare’s era. We have evolved into a culture of skimmers. Rapidly searching and scanning for that interesting item to pop up and reel us in, to savour and escape momentarily from reality and our hectic day. So if we fail to have the perfect opener to hook the reader, then we have lost our chance at an audience.
Except! Except that there are a lot of fish in the sea to hook and reel, and perhaps we don’t care if everyone reads it. Perhaps, we are happy with that one person who pauses long enough to acknowledge that we went to the trouble to write it.
The end of lesson 7 reads: “No two people tell stories the same way, so your stories have meaning because they are told through your eyes. Your content will speak to people when it presents a full picture, when you understand it intimately, and when you allow people to see the true fabric of what you’ve created.”
That’s what I want to write. First-hand accounts and opinions of my take on life.
Currently, I do exactly that, under a pseudonym, in the sledding industry.
Not once have they complained about my overuse of emoticons and ellipsis.
They’re just thrilled to envision themselves sitting on my sled, carving pictures in the fresh clean snow with artistic flair, wide-open throttle and the smell of strawberry exhaust in their imaginations…
Now it’s time for me to delve into new storytelling experiences by expressing myself in the 9-5 world. While not near as exhilarating, definitely word-provoking, and likely with misplaced commas and unnecessary ellipsis. Gasp! How embarrassing for my descendants… Perhaps I should turn to the world of podcasts to avoid that.
Thank you all for sharing your personalities through your blogs. I look forward to encountering your future writings in the digital world.
My takeaway from this course is to not let criticism change my style, but to write with authenticity, flair, enthusiasm and conviction.