There are a lot of theories about what makes good electronic communication work—whether in information posted on Web sites or in the content of electronic newsletters pushed out to the intended audience.
Content is a necessity. People talk about creating online communities. But content can become a commodity and online community looks pretty elusive for most Web sites and communications. Most models seem to fail because they ignore one element that differentiates the Internet and ancillary email information vehicles from print: The Web is a broadcast media.
True, it’s not a television or radio network. But it has some of the elements of broadcast, and broadcast requires personality. It’s not enough to put out in-depth data—at least in a news format—and it’s probably not enough in almost any Web site, including corporate ones.
People connect with people, with emotion, with points of view. Whether you side with the political views Matt Drudge, the conservative Web journalist, his writings have personality. They are not the product of some homogenous corporation.
The Web can entertain and inform at the same time. E-newsletters can spread information, while creating points of view that readers can agree with or disagree with. Often, the person who disagrees can be a loyal reader if they are moved to thought (as long as things don’t go overboard). Readers and consumers can be stimulated without being infuriated. In a world of data mush, something different stands out.
Personality is part of the appeal of blogs. From a provider’s side, there is the vanity publishing aspect. From a consumer’s point of view, there is the need to provide a framework to all that data swirling around, so this advice isn’t just for professional journalists, although it certainly applies in this world.
People are as interesting as they make themselves to others, and blogs reflect that. We are not going to all post blogs. But we will look for that right combination of information with a real person behind it. It’s not for everyone.
But neither is excellence or success for everyone. It’s just something that everyone should strive for. And trying to be interesting makes it more fun, even if you don’t achieve it.
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