How to Express Yourself (by Writing) on the Internet: Part One

Dripping with simplicity, let your authentic self flow out through your fingertips.

The first idea that must be taken on board when deciding to have anything to do with expressing yourself on the Internet, be it on a website, blog, forum, chat room, e-book, podcast, or video blog, is to share your true self with the world. Nothing touches other people more than a genuine voice. We are intelligent animals (much of the time!), and there’s an innate wisdom in us all, which knows when someone is expressing him or herself from a place of truth. The Internet is a medium that is giving every single person on our planet who has access to a connection the chance to do what only writers, philosophers and scientists could do in the past: Share what you know, and how you alone see and feel about the things that are important to you.

The key to getting in touch with your authentic self in terms of writing is to focus on not trying to impress, or to fit into a structure that you’ve been told is the ‘only way’ of doing things. Of course there are certain niche areas of interest where specific jargon language might be deemed necessary to get the message across to other specialised ‘connoisseurs’, and making connections with these people may be your main goal. However, the best way to express yourself if you really want to touch as many others as possible is to speak along the ideology of K.I.S.S, or ‘Keep it simple, stupid.’

Ernest Hemingway is renowned for being one of the greatest writers and thus communicators in the history of writing. What separates him from the thousands of others who’ve both preceded and come after him? Hemingway strongly believed that if you could say something in less words, do it. In the end, it was his economy of words that produced such powerful visions in reader’s minds. But did he use complex vocabulary? No. There are more than 100,000 words in the current English dictionary, but the master kept things simple. Sometimes there are twenty synonyms that can be used for a simple idea, and many of us try and dress up our arguments or stories by using verbose, less common language in order to prove to someone (Who?) that we know what we’re talking about, or that we’re educated. Maybe we just want to show off?

When all is said and done our complex language often alienates a very large portion of humanity. If you have something really important or useful to say, wouldn’t you like just about everyone around to have a chance at understanding what you’ve said? Some may think that simplistic language can be bland, simple or boring. Why then do Hemingway’s lines sing with unique power and passion? He writes from the core of his authentic self in a way that connects with others. Have you ever read ‘The Old Man and the Sea’? If you haven’t, go and buy a second-hand paperback or borrow a copy from your local library. Even several years after reading it, if you don’t feel the rope burns in your shoulders and the agony in your strained fingers whenever you hear the novel’s title, then I’d have to say that you’re a rare breed. Good writing lasts forever.

A friend of mine is really into reading books by the Integral Philosophical theorist Ken Wilber. I’ve watched Wilber on YouTube and even read a book or too, and it’s not hard to see that this is someone who has a lot of great knowledge which could help humanity as a whole. However, for an ‘Average Joe’ like myself, reading his books was like treading through a pond of molasses. Intellectuals, academics, and complex readers love his writing, and I’ve heard many people gush in awe and respect, testifying how much the man’s ideas have changed their lives for the better. What I have to wonder is, if this wisdom is so important and powerful and so necessary for these people, wouldn’t it be great if the whole of our species could get a version of the information that they could read and comprehend? There’s no doubt the man is a genius, and that he writes from his authentic self; he wouldn’t affect so many people otherwise. How much of a genius would he become if he could transmit these ideas to the masses instead of via convoluted, esoteric, and academic language, which may leave some of us thinking, ‘Geez, maybe this guy feels he has to prove his knowledge to the upper echelons of intelligentsia . . . He couldn’t have low self-esteem, could he? Does he have a need to show off?’

Whether you’re writing a blog or creating a website for your business or personal interest, the way you express yourself, and the way you write are incredibly important. Look, I know that some fields are complex and that in these niche areas one might feel they have to write in a complex manner. If you get a popular site in a niche market, the Internet is now so huge (and growing!) that success is pretty much guaranteed anyway, however you measure it. But we have to ask ourselves if we feel what we’re expressing is worth being heard by the masses, and if so, learn to speak to them.

The only way to truly connect and relate with others around the world is by letting them know about your unique, individual perspective of the world. There are many ways to achieve this genuine voice, but as with your everyday familiar surroundings, think about the people you like to talk to. Why do these individuals stand out from the crowd of people you run into everyday? Why do some people entice you to come back and read or talk more in the future? These souls are caring people who aren’t afraid to tell us what they think and feel they’ve learnt from their own personal experiences. What are you waiting for? Speak up!

By Jesse S. Somer Nov. 2008


Jesse S. Somer is writing on the Internet. He writes from the heart, and with the intention of connecting with as many others as possible.