We are powerful storytelling engines and our imagination and the number of semantic networks we can create is endless. And so are the opportunities to connect on the Web. Through writing.
That was the main thread running through the activities of a seminar I organized this March in Bulgaria. It was called Web Scriptorium and my main intent was to show the people interested in learning more about texts on the Web that content is woven of code and culture.
The technology I used to explain the peculiar mix of machine analysis and human synthesis (which writing on the web inevitably connects with) was … a set of dice.
It served me as a sort of transcendence – from odes to nodes.
I tasked my students to interweave the keyword they believe their post should “rank” for into a story the narrative of which was built depending on the luck they had when throwing the dice.
Learn to weave imagination into structure, even if the structure is built with intergalactic building blocks.
With such a stellar start, the seminar grew into an intense and beautiful experience with lots of SEO, Content is King, Data rules etc. questions, which I am grateful to the spirits of intertwingularity, I managed to answer with enough examples and thoughts about textuality, collective intelligence and the ethos of web writing point.
On the first day of the seminar, something extraordinary happened. My understanding of content writing changed. Why? Because that same day, the 8th of March I talked to Aaron Bradley about Linked Data, Intelligent Content and Utility on the Web. The transcript of the talk is here and the video (sorry about the quality :) of the video) is on Youtube. Caveat: It will change your perception of how and what value we bring when writing for the Web.
Speaking of content, I cannot but link to this amazing, although hefty read: Model-first process of creating content that meets user needs. It is a diagram for us to think through any piece in the context of the “big”, I would say, webby, picture.
Another tool to help us conceptualize what we do and write on the Web is David Amerland’s latest article Reading between the lines. It is a piece where David talks about metadata and marketing and how the context we get from data must inform our writing efforts on the Web.
Last, instead of an epilogue, I will leave you with two things for inspiration.
The first one is an exhibition (Stories & Structures) exploring images that pass on knowledge and shape our understanding of the world. In it you will find parallels between the representations seen in many Indigenous artworks and the microscopic structures hidden in the natural world that will reveal unexpected and intriguing similarities, like the ones here between the Moth Sperm and a painting depictсting Napaljarri and Nungarrayi women collecting ‘ngarlkirdi’ (witchetty grubs) in an area known as Kunajarrayi:
The second is a Page not found, haiku, as found on Leo Babauta’s website: https://zenhabits.net/the-44/
With that I hope you will stay even braver and shine even brighter on the Web!
p.s. It is still not late to join the #ForTheWeb movement. I did in the post For the love of the Web. Now, that done, I can sit and wait, looking forward to ready your story.