Forget the Technology: Rules of Audiences Still Apply
Spilka chapters 7 and 8 annoyed me. I’m sorry I am not afraid of the big bad digital age. In chapter 8, Blakslee (2010) says, ” one speculation is that audiences of digital documents may be different from those of print documents” (P. 200). My response is so what what if they are? Anything you write as a technical communicator you should be analyzing the audience. It doesn’t matter if a digital audience is different. If they are your audience, you should write for them. Blakesee (2010) goes on to say, “the Internet ‘may blow apart the entire notion of a selective audience’ because of its broad, and even limitless, distribution potential” (P. 201). That’s a bunch of bunk. Just because something is available on the Internet to the entire world doesn’t mean the entire world is going to view it. There are still selective audiences on the Web. People view what they are interested in. They don’t just view stuff because it is there.
Even when you write something for the web you have intended audiences even though it is available to everyone in the world. For example, all of the web content that I write is for consumption by people at the University of Minnesota. Anyone in the world can read it, but it is not for them. I use language the people at the U of M will understand. The other people that consume the content are not even a secondary audience. They are nothing. They are simpler there. They should understand from looking at the content that the information is not for them.
It’s just my opinion, but I believe that technology only complicates communication if you fear it.