Article Writing: Check Your Point of View for Good Web Content

What’s Your Point of View About Web Content POV?

Most people don't speak in third person, but a man does.

Most people don’t speak in third person, but a man does.

Here’s a thing you might not know about me. I’m sort of an addict to everything associated with A Song of Ice and Fire, or as it is more popularly known because of the HBO TV show, Game of Thrones. Anyway, Game of Thrones and all of the subsequent books have been constructed with an interesting third-person, limited and omniscient point of view.  That means that every chapter has the point of view of the character that the chapter has been named after, but in the next chapter, a different POV character takes the lead.

Another way that GRR Martin plays with viewpoints is through the character of Jaqen H’ghar. This guy always speaks in third person, and that’s not how most people talk. “We” don’t refer to ourselves as a “man” or a “girl.” We refer to ourselves as “I” and to others as “you.”

Picking the Best Point of View for Web Content

Anyway, ASOIF is a series of novels. Most web content is nonfiction. Still, it got me thinking about how we use point of view to construct nonfiction web content. That choice can be a very important one, and there isn’t really one right answer. I tend to construct content on this site in first or second person. After all, it is a personal website that I use to communicate with clients, potential clients, and other writers. On the other hand, when I write content for clients, they may instruct me to use a particular point of view or ask me to select the right one.

There are plenty of additional descriptors that we could use, but these are the basic points of view:

  • First person: That is me talking to you. I might use “I” and “you” a lot.
  • Second person: This content is still talking to “you,” but the “I” gets left out of it.
  • Third person: This content describes “he,” “she,” or “them,” but there is no “you” or “I.”

First person web content: Again, there isn’t one correct choice for everything. However, it is probably easiest to establish an emotional connection in first person. Still, it reads less formally. In my opinion, first person is best for establishing a connection, sounding like a real person, and writing informally. It’s more often seen on a personal blog, and even I rarely use it on business blogs. I just did this time.

Second person web content: Most Internet articles are probably written in second person because the writer strives to convince the reader or even more them to action, and saying “you” works better for this. The writer is sort of a voice from the web but not interested in establishing themselves as a part of the narrative. Also, second person sorts of strikes a balance between informal and formal. Expect the majority of business blogging and online advertising to have a second person POV.

Third person web content: Third person might be the least common choice for things like blog articles because it is more formal and less connected. However, third person is usually chosen for articles that need to be credible and authoritative. This is good for more scholarly articles and press releases.

Examples of First, Second, and Third Person Writing Online

It might help to consider some examples of each narrative voice. These examples just came from the top of my head because I’ve been writing a lot about printed circuit boards for a client, but they are nothing used in a real article:

  • First person: I’m excited about the way flexible printed circuit boards will help transform the way that we make and use electronics.
  • Second person: One you learn about the ways that engineers will soon craft flexible devices with flexible PCBs, you will think these inventions sound like science fiction!
  • Third person: The development of flexible printed circuit boards excites both designers and manufacturers, and soon consumers will surely want to own the marvels that these new inventions make possible.

Anyway, do you have a favorite point of view for online writing. If you hire a freelance writer, be sure to let your writer know. If not, you might ask your writer to select one and justify the choice for the particular project.

 

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