One mistake we all make occasionally when we sit down to write is that we assume the reader can hear our tone. This happens with any kind of writing, but it runs rampant in the blogging world. We fall for this mistake because many of us view blogs as conversations and sure, we should write the way we talk, but there are some things that aren’t going to get transferred well to written words. Like the pauses, the ah’s and um’s, our body movements, and our face gestures. Face to face conversations are just a whole different kind of animal. There’s just no comparison.
There is a paradox to what is acceptable in writing and what is acceptable when talking. People like to read words that are sure of themselves. Even the most conversationalist person is going to prefer to read sentences that lack words like, “in my opinion” or “I think”. On the other hand, the polite thing to do when talking is to be modest, humble, and even be a bit unsure of oneself. It’s not that we seek out conversations where everyone is unsure of themselves, we also like to listen to people that have something to teach us, but not everyone can be authoritative and be the center of a conversation without being cocky.
Another thing about conversations is that they’re interrupt driven. You talk with the expectation of being interrupted and asked a question and that makes a big difference between the way we talk to the way we write. A lot of beginning bloggers write as if expecting to be interrupted because they’re picturing themselves having a face to face conversation, but that makes you look naive and awkward. Again, it’s not that you can’t write like the way you talk. But this is more of a monologue. You can’t interrupt me and change my train of thought. You have to let me finish first and then drop a comment.
The takeaway: Always write with a reader in mind, but never assume that he can hear your tone and see your raised eyebrow or fingering air quotes.