To put a date on that, let’s say the period of “come and spend time on my great website” was between 1995 and 2008. More or less.
I’m pretty sure the majority of freelancers learned how to write for the web during this period.
Is this a problem? Could be.
Before then, in the eighties and very early nineties, the Internet was around, but the web wasn’t. In other words, people were connecting through the infrastructure of the Internet, but there were no browsers. No web as we know it.
And the Internet was very, very social. People were connecting and getting into conversations through bulletin boards, Listserv, Compuserve and the like.
In other words, the web was born social.
But then came ecommerce, the selling of stuff online. For those of you who were working online in the mid-nineties, you may remember the huge backlash that occurred at that time. In 1995 I had a non-profit website, and sold memberships online. As someone selling online, I was furiously flamed by people who told me that it was people like me who were destroying the Internet.
They were half right. Ecommerce certainly changed the Internet, but also powered many of the technological developments we take for granted today.
But ecommerce did overshadow the social web. At least for a decade or so.
Now we are seeing the resurgence of the social web, and we call it social media.
Right now, people typically spend about 22% of their time online on social media sites. That represents billion of hours not being spent to “come and spend time on my great website”.
And I have no doubt that figure will grow. A quite separate driver here is the growth of web access through smartphones. Social media works well on a smartphone, with its small screen. Your full-sized website? Not so much.
Of course, website owners and managers are not blind to this shift. They are making some big changes to their static websites, to better integrate them with social media. This might involve the addition of simple social media widgets to their sites. Or the optimization of their content pages, to make them more likely to be shared through social media. Or the integration of social media as part of their sales campaigns online.
In other words, mainstream websites see the writing on the wall, and recognize that the shift of attention from the traditional web to social media is ongoing, gaining speed, and out of their control.
For you, as an online writer or copywriter, particularly if you learned your craft between 1995 and 2008, this means you have some serious learning to do.
It is no longer enough simply to know how to write for static websites, you now have to know how to write for the social web. And that means immersing yourself in social media.
To know social media, you really do need to immerse yourself in it, as it is evolving so very, very quickly.
To put it another way, if you sit on your laurels and just depend on knowing how to write for the static web, you will find your skill set becoming marginalized.
From here on it, to be a great online writer or copywriter, you need to know how to write for the social web.
My program, How to Make Money as a Social Media Expert
My short Kindle book, Popcorn Content
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…