Audience Awareness

Subject: Audience Awareness
From: "David Blyth @second" <dsb -at- ALSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 12:30:36 PST

>>Personaly, I've never found "audience awareness" to be useful.

Doug writes:

>Audience *defines* clear and concise writing. What is necessary
>background for an undergrad is maddeningly superflous for a PhD.

I'm in partial agreement. But the content (what you wrote) changed
between audiences, not the format (how you wrote). RoMay's post read:

>I constantly stress the importance of choosing vocabulary, content
>level, visuals, even type size, which best fit the needs of the
>particular audience

IMHO, each of these items fall into the category of deciding HOW to
write, not WHAT to write. If you read my original post, I added that:

>I do make certain assumptions, but they impact WHAT I'm explaining
>rather than HOW I explain it.

It's possible that I'm separating "content level" from "vocabulary" and
"visuals, even type size". But is "content level" driven by the topic
or the audience? My own experience (a database of 1!) is that I am a
better writer:

o The more I understand THE TOPIC - not the audience. I listen to
audience feedback so I can understand what TOPIC the audience needs.

Ada compilers are not hot sellers these days - so alas, my audience
is small.

o The more I learn how to explain TOPICS, regardless of the audience.

I'm not a comedian. I'm a Technical Writer. I MUST understand
the topic before I can open my mouth (intelligibly ;-) ).

David (The Man) Blyth
Technical Writer
Alsys (San Diego)
dsb -at- alsys -dot- com
Blodo Poa Maximus

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