Challenges to Professional Writing in the Internet Era

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To the frequent publisher of research articles, internet-based professional writing is just a different kind of publishing, and one that may not have great consequence. However, for individuals from other walks of life, who’ve discovered a talent – if not for writing -for conveying information and seeing it exchanged over the internet, the same demands on professional writing hold for the internet as for other media. This difficulty is enhanced in the cases where the blogger is from another creative or physical vocation. In such cases the writer has to make the transition to expression through writing, and then publish written content.

A crucial difference between online professional writing and writing for a journal or news magazine is the level of access. This makes the content highly visible to all, and may attract unwanted publicity which the writer may want to avoid. In cases where the author is only one of several to post to the blog site, any controversy in his/her work also imperils the professional writing credentials of other writers. Also, authors have to obtain digital copyright protection if the content they put out is meant solely for reading and not to be cited.

The hardened professional often has an unmatched depth of knowledge in his discipline and this may even have been verbally delivered in classrooms and lecture halls for a number of years. But the conversion to type might see the work collapse for want of conciseness or for being excessively descriptive. Professional writing in the online domain is as much about communicating as much as possible in very little time. To some authors, the content overrides such aesthetic concerns. These are usually cases involving professional writing for other professionals.

Academic writing is often a matter of sourcing your information correctly, and prominently advertising those supporting facts. The presentation in printed form has been standardized from years of professional practice. But the nature of presentation on the internet makes it difficult for displaying references without making the reader flip back and forth across pages. The only exception to such an inconvenience is where electronic links can be provided and the references can be hyperlinked. Other alternatives such as the use of embedded or floating text may not be as apparent to all readers, resulting in a gap in communication.

On the whole, professional writing still belongs to the print era rather than the electronic era, although the advance of the printable document format has made it slightly convenient to preserve print-like formatting without losing content. Unless it becomes binding to have more and more content in a directly accessible online the transition is going to be difficult to achieve. But the day when all information is transacted and acted upon purely through the internet is still some distance in the future. The reliance will be on paper until then, with hope that scanning and storing techniques for multilingual or multi-level data can be created quickly enough.

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