I have been writing for a long time, the serious uptick starting in 1998. The writing has always been done online, various word processors, blogs, and for various publications. It’s always been for fun, an extension of what I’m doing but never the primary thing. And, I got thinking about the act of writing online a bit more recently after a series of tweets by Matt Mireles, outspoken and hard-hitting co-founder of Speakertext, who left a career in journalism to enter the startup world and build something new. One night, Matt started tweet bombing about how new folks in the startup ecosystem, both entrepreneurs and investors, were making a name for themselves because of their blog. Matt’s argument was that, once outsiders, their online writing helped them break through, build a new audience, and shake up the old ways of doing things.
It all got me thinking, as someone who writes, that coders, developers, and designers also do the same thing online, just using different languages. It used to be that one had to go to school or labor through a self-taught regimen to learn how to code, and nowadays, over the past few decades, with more personal computers and tablets, kids worldwide have been hacking and learning on their own, on the fly, oftentimes entering college with serious chops already. Like the writers Matt referred to earlier, these folks may not have fancy degrees, or think strategically, but they know how to “write online” and that enables them to get noticed, build up a reputation, and navigate this ever-changing world labor market and rapidly expanding world wide web.
Writing Online. It can be in English, or French, or Mandarin. Or, it can be in Python, Ruby, JS, and other languages that I certainly don’t know. No matter the language, writing good content that is useful to others can help one get noticed. Both are important, and both are hard to do, but the playing field is more leveled than it has ever been, and that trend will only continue. This is the world, today, of “Writing Online.”