Mind Your Skills: Your Voice on the Web

WordPress LogoI was there when the Web started, soon understood its potential for everybody, and always asked myself how and when everybody could actually make his/her voice heard through the Web.

To be clear: not a problem of being popular, having millions of readers / followers, or the like. After all, most of us, in our everyday life, are perfectly content to talk with a few friends, and to be heard by a few people we have around. We do not really need our “five-Warhol-minutes” of huge popularity: just express ourselves freely and fully, being occasionally heard and possibly understood by someone else, is typically more than enough for most people without self-esteem problems.

The point is that for years the Web was a place where to easily read everything, but hardly express anything. Technical skills were required, which constituted a barrier for most people, making them just consumers of information and knowledge on the Web.

From time to time, in the last ten years, I played with tools to set up web sites, blogs, wikis, pages: I am technically gifted, but I was trying to understand what I could have done on the Web if I were not. Not so much, actually: until FaceBook and Twitter came in, letting everybody communicate worldwide, and blog services like WordPress and Blogger emerged and evolved to maturity.

When technical skills are no longer critical, expressing yourself mostly depends on your communication skills: which, on the Web, amount at language, presentation, and organisation skills. This might not be clear in Twitter and FaceBook, where the aesthetic and structure of your communication are fixed by the service providers: but it is much more evident within blog services, or site management systems, like Google Sites. Of course, all of such services guide you to provide a consistent view over your posts and pages: but in the end you can do what you like more, and the way in which you write and organise, say, your blog, or your site, is often as relevant to your expression as what you do actually say.

So, this is when things change on the Web: when you depend no longer on your technical skills, but rather on your communication abilities. Anyone with a browser, an Internet connection, and a little patience, can nowadays publish a web page, run a blog, set up a web site.

In the end, it mostly depends on ourselves: we have finally the tools to make our voice heard on the Web, if we just have something to say, and the ability to make it interesting for others. As it should be.

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