A little after the fact, but… last week BBC News Online asked me to write a piece about Flickr and here it is. If you’re familiar with Flickr, you’ll find the article pretty basic, and there’s plenty more I’d love to have mentioned, but space is limited and it’s for an audience that hasn’t necessarily heard of the site. Let alone RSS, folksonomies, social networking, etc…
It had been so long since I’d last written anything professionally, I’d forgotten how much harder it is than bashing stuff out for my own sites. While I like to think my personal writing is coherent, when you know your words will be read by hundreds of thousands of people, it creates a bit more pressure to write something that’s also interesting, well-packaged, entertaining, etc. Not to mention that it must please the editor, fit the brief, come in at the specified length, be right for the target audience, etc.
Also, most things I write for myself have been working their way around my brain for several days, weeks or months and have reached some kind of coherent state even before I begin writing (not always a good thing, as it can mean I’m bored of it before I’ve even begun). But when you have to get something written by the next day there’s little time for pondering, discussing it with people, researching, revising, etc.
Having said all that, it went OK, but reminded me yet again not to judge professional, paid, deadline journalism by the same yardstick one would use with personal writing.
There was a little discussion about the article on the Flickr forums, which highlights the fact that when so many people read an article, someone, somewhere will always find something wrong with it in their eyes.