The CompScholar M3 plan has three parts: a micro beginning, macro middle and meta end.
CompScholar encourages writers to use the M3plan for blogs, essays and articles. The simple plan promotes crisp writing and appeals to online readers.
This post is an example of the M3 plan in action. The three parts have distinct headers to visually separate the micro beginning, macro middle and meta ending. By presenting information in these three sections, writers make reading easier by meeting the readers' expectations of order.
Micro: The beginning section briefly states the main point. The micro section is an executive summary, so busy readers can locate the main point without reading the whole thing. Today, with hyperlinks removing hierarchies, everyone is an executive. Writing must appreciate readers' time.
The micro message should be no more than 280 characters, twice the limit for a tweet on Twitter. Unlike Twitter, the writing should be full words and sentences: avoid texting language. The 280 characters is about 50 words.
Although that limit is flexible, meaning the section will not cut the message at the 280th character, a longer micro section is evidence that a topic is too large. The limit guides writers to keep writing crisp and focused on one topic.
Use of websites like Facebook and Twitter have become so widespread that, "Micro messages and micro messaging are essential to modern communication." Writing micro sections will improve writers' micro messaging skills for any website, email or text.
Macro: The macro section presents the main point and the supporting information. Using this blog as example, this macro section states the main idea (the M3 plan is useful and has three parts: micro, macro and meta) and includes the supporting details (like this explanation of the micro, macro and meta sections that you are reading now).
If a tweet on Twitter is a micro blog, then a "normal" blog is the macro forum. Just think: micro means small, macro means big.
In the macro section in M3 plan, writers state all the information, details, examples and explanations needed to express their main point.
Meta: The meta section is for community. The meta section appeals to readers for comments and offers links to relevant material. Writing direct questions that readers can answer is a good way to inspire comments. Inviting readers to share links to their work helps to create community, too. The meta section is not for final comments--all points should be expressed in the macro section. Using this blog as example once more, the final comments appear after this sentence ends but still in the macro section.
On other websites and in The CompScholar Ebook (forthcoming), experts recommend writing in different formats to suit various writing jobs. A business proposal, for example, is likely to be composed in a different format than a blog post.
Successful writers think carefully about how to lay-out their work for the best outcome. That best format will depend on the topic and time (deadline) as well as the type of writing and the writer--factors discussed in another post on the CompScholar Rhombus.
With all those factors to consider, why would CompScholar encourage the M3 plan so exclusively? Without even knowing what people are going to be writing about?
The answer is pressure. Boundaries force innovation. Deadlines create action. The M3plan for writing establishes boundaries, and they are boundaries that make sense to online readers today.
I hope some of you readers can find examples of well-organized writing online and share links in the comments. Maybe you have a blog that is a perfect example.
I also have two questions I hope to get some answers to:
- Do you think the M3 plan makes sense?
- Since the macro section can be lengthy, how can writers plan that section to be reader-friendly?
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