I recently wrote a post about British versus American slang and terminology as a reference to help people understand the differences. A friend asked me why was this important to bloggers.
Good question. It is critical that you write as you and for you, but also for your audience, whoever and wherever they are.
If you are living and working in the UK and you are born and raised there, then you are probably writing like you talk and blogging about your life there, right? Then you are probably writing for your friends and neighbors and “folks from home”, though your words may apply to others. Still, it is part of your personal and unique voice to sound “English”. If you are from India, you may be writing in English, but you will be probably writing in your own country’s version of English using a mix of words an American probably might not understand every time. And if you are a true Southerner in the United States, I’m sure a few “ain’ts” and “y’alls” will pop into your writing. This is part of your writing voice and style.
Writing in the style and terminology of your region is important if your blog is personal. And it’s important for all of us to understand what is meant when someone in the government is called a “wanker” so we all know he’s a jerk. So learning the different terms for similar words helps us all understand what is being talked about.
It’s important to consider your audience. If you are writing for your region, write in a style they will recognize, especially if your blog is dedicated to a specific region, area, or culture. The more reflective the writing is of the local speech and dialect, the more “honest” your blog will feel when read. Even if this isn’t your “native” language, writing for the audience and subject matter of the blog keeps the material locked into a specific culture or community, adding to the style of the blog.
If you are writing about non-personal subjects, though the subject might be important personally to you, like technology or science, then you need to write with a “cleaner” voice free of eclectic and regional references so your writing appeals to the broadest audience. Take care to edit out “ain’t” and “y’all” and “wankers” from your writing to keep the language grammatically correct and…okay, I hate saying “dry” so let’s say “clean”. Free of colloquialisms and slang.
The words you choose in writing on your blog come from a combination of who you are and who your audience is, as well as your subject matter. The less formal the topic, the more slang is acceptable. The more formal the topic, the more stringent the language requirements.
Understanding the role the words you choose plays in what you write is critical to your success as a blogger. Think about the way you write, the phrases you use, especially common and frequently repeated phrases, and how they reflect who you are and what you are saying through your writing. Is it a good reflection? Is it really representative of what you want to say?
And then learn about the different words used in different cultures, even if they speak a form of English. It broadens your own language and opens up more word possibilities.