Keeping up with Media

Keeping up with teen social media | Learning Potential
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While I was reading Spilka (2010), I was reminded of the course I took last semester, User-centered Research, a lot. I found that many parts from the UX and User-centered field overlap with this week’s reading pertaining to “emergent communicative practices” (Ferro & Zachry, 2014) and “social media’s role” (Pigg, 2014). Accordingly, I have once again realized that technical communicators need to understand the most popular contemporary communication method, social media’s role and that they also need to prepare for the change to the next emergent communicative method.  Above all this, communicators should analyze the type of their audience and the needs of their audience in accordance with the communicative environments where they interact with their audience.

As Spilka (2010) notes that due to the advent of digital technology and social media platforms, technical communicators need to re-define who their/our audience is and what product the audience uses or is interested in. I totally agree with this idea. As Krug (2014) mentions in his book, “Don’t Make Me Think!” I believe that there are “average users,” however, the standard of the “average” can change based on the communicative environment and method for the audience and communicators. In my perspective, for example, the audience these days can read content online very fast. They have been accustomed to the monitor environment, and they know how to skim in order to gain the information they need. They also don’t stay on the same page that long – I assume that it is because there are numerous contents they can/want to search on the web. Most importantly, the audience prefers the content with visual factors. They want eye-catching and graphic sources that can help them to better understand the content they engage in.

In conclusion, as Pigg (2014) presents, I as well believe that social media and digital content environments are deeply related to each other, unlike traditional communicative methods (p.70). Therefore, technical and professional communicators need to keep up with the change to emergent communicative methods and their audience’s needs in those new environments.

Posted on November 15, 2020, in Blogs, Digital, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Given that the case study project is due next week, I think your post, specifically the statement that “communicators should analyze the type of their audience and the needs of their audience in accordance with the communicative environments where they interact with their audience” is a good reminder to focus on the role social media managers play. Do consider this when evaluating and making any recommendations for what your chosen company, I believe it was Starbucks, could do better in terms of both creating content for and interacting with their audience.

  2. YJ
    I agree with everything you say here. All communication should be audience focused, really, so it shouldn’t be surprising to us that technical communication is the same way. Just as communication is often not about the receiver, though, this fact is a necessary reminder.

    I found your observation about skimming to be particularly relevant. I notice that I struggle to read long articles or books after years of scanning the web, jumping over sections of text for the next heading, and grabbing the first and last sentences of paragraphs to get the gist. It’s been bothering me for awhile, and I’ve even started setting aside time to read in a focused way — no multitasking, no rush, notebook and highlighter and sticky notes at the ready. It concerns me that the human race is accepting this switch to shallow thinking so easily.

  3. YJ,
    I also noticed a UX connection to the readings last week. I think it is also a good point to keep current on the trends and research in the field of communication. You say “contemporary communication method,” this is important especially for practitioners. It is human nature to fall into habits, and it is also convenient to keep using a document or style of communication because it is already designed and ready to use. However, it may not still be relevant, even though we want to keep using it because we “just always have,” or we think we lack extra time to come up with something new. Besides contemporary, what is “popular,” and “social media’s role” cannot be ignored. These are interwoven forces that need to be considered for us to continue to be successful. Thanks for your good insights here!

  4. Hi, YJ!

    Last year, one of my personal goals was to start reading for pleasure again. My reading habits had taken a dive due to professional commitments and then starting grad school.

    I noticed that I would occasionally start skimming through my novel, and would have to reset my brain. “Take your time,” I would remind myself. “This is for fun and relaxation. There is no need to rush.”

    I think that reading for pleasure could be one way to offset our skimming habits.

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