At least, it’s the best article I’ve read in 2006. It’s by Mark Bernstein (not that Mark Bernstein), and I wish I’d written it. There are a few points I disagree with, but they’re well argued. It’s full of excellent advice:
If you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really care, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t write. If you are a student and everybody is talking about exams and papers and you simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care, let it be. If your job bores you, it will bore us. (If you despise your job with a rich, enduring passion, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another thing entirely!) Write for yourself; you are, in the end, your most important reader.
The only mistake Bernstein makes is an awkward and crass plug for his company’s product late in the piece:
First, these tools aren’t new. Six Degrees has been out for four and a half years, and Tinderbox is roughly the same age (scroll down). (I totally missed that the article is four years old, sorry about that). Second, he references these tools like everybody’s heard of them. I’m guessing that eight or nine out of ten readers haven’t. I only know of Six Degrees because I know some people at Creo. I’d never heard of Tinderbox until I’d read this article.
Finally, and most importantly, he doesn’t indicate in situ that he’s the ‘chief scientist’ at Eastgate. Yes, it’s in his author’s bio, but only a fraction of readers get that far. Bernstein wants us to “write honestly”, but he hasn’t been honest enough himself.
Despite this misstep, it’s an excellent, readable piece, and I’d recommend it to bloggers, journalists, marketers and anybody else who writes for the web. Thanks to Karen for the pointer.