CompFAQ/Digital Writing/Skills

From Gerald R. Lucas
📝 CompFAQ » Digital Writing 📖

Digital Literacy for Writing

To be a literate writer of digital media with a strong online presence, encompassing personal websites, social media, Wikipedia contributions, and participation in AI-driven platforms like ChatGPT, several practical skills are essential. These skills blend the traditional art of writing with a nuanced comprehension of digital platforms. To thrive in this sphere, it is imperative to cultivate digital literacy, which includes an understanding of how digital platforms work, proficiency with various devices, and knowledge of internet ethics. Being comfortable with technology is paramount.

The following skills are currently important in digital literacy for writers:

Advanced Writing Competence: While graduate students typically possess a strong foundation in writing, adapting this skill to the digital medium is pivotal. This adaptation includes crafting concise, easily scannable content, employing web-friendly formatting, and mastering the art of creating engaging and shareable digital content.

Mastery of SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The nuances of SEO ensure online visibility. This entails the strategic use of keywords, adept crafting of meta descriptions, and the optimization of content to align with search engine algorithms.[1]

Proficiency in Social Media Management: The ability to orchestrate and maintain social media accounts with finesse is essential. This includes the creation of content calendars, an intimate understanding of diverse social platforms, and the skill to engage effectively with the audience.[2]

Familiarity with Web Design and Development: While not necessitating web development expertise, digital writers should acquaint themselves with web design principles and grasp the basics of HTML/CSS. Proficiency in these areas enables better comprehension of website functionality and facilitates minor edits.[3]

Adept Wikipedia Editing: To contribute meaningfully to Wikipedia, an understanding of its guidelines, formatting conventions, and citation requirements is imperative.[4]

Commitment to Ethical Online Conduct: Upholding ethical standards in online writing and contributions, including issues like plagiarism, copyright adherence, and proper netiquette, is a cornerstone of digital professionalism.

Critical Thinking Skills: In the digital era, the ability to critically discern credible sources from misinformation is invaluable. Both digital writers and their audiences must be equipped with the skills to evaluate online information rigorously.

Data Privacy and Security Awareness: Protecting one’s online presence and sensitive data is paramount.[5]

Adaptability: The digital landscape is inherently mutable. Digital writers should stay apprised of industry trends, digital tools, and evolving best practices. Subscriptions to professional publications and the diligent tracking of thought leaders in the field can be invaluable.

Collaboration and Communication Tools: Proficiency in using digital tools for collaboration, such as cloud-based document sharing and video conferencing, is increasingly important in work and educational settings.

Community Building: Cultivating a digital community around one’s work is important. Active engagement with the audience, prompt response to comments, and the nurturing of meaningful dialogues enhance the impact of one’s digital presence.

AI Interaction Competence: Familiarity with AI-driven platforms, like ChatGPT, is becoming essential. Digital writers should grasp these platforms’ capabilities, limitations, and the ethical considerations that govern their usage, thereby harnessing their potential effectively.

Coding and Programming Basics: While not mandatory for all, having a basic understanding of coding and programming concepts can be beneficial in understanding the underlying mechanics of digital technologies.

Incorporating these skills and remaining abreast of the ever-evolving digital landscape will empower practitioners in technical writing to become proficient digital writers. Additionally, it is advisable to continuously explore pertinent academic literature and actively engage in professional development opportunities to further hone these essential skills.


  1. Enge, Eric (2015). The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.
  2. Vaynerchuk, Gary (2013). Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World. New York: HarperBusiness. This volume serves as an insightful resource for social media strategy.
  3. Robbins, Jennifer (2007). Learning Web Design. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.
  4. Broughton, John (2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media. A comprehensive guide. See also, Wikipedia FAQ.
  5. Schneier, Bruce (2015). Data and Goliath: the Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World. New York: W. W. Norton. Provides profound insights into digital privacy.
Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 09-20-2023; Version: Beta 0.7 💬