After writing 11 posts so far in my 30 day blogging challenge, approximately 500 words each – that’s more than 5,000 words in total – I think I’m beginning to find my voice, but is my target audience listening. It’s time for a recap on who may benefit from the IT elementary school*
(*Ed. or to put it another way, if you find it useful then you ARE the target audience!)
My particular niche is probably more niche-ee than most. At the moment I seem to be writing mostly for fellow bloggers and IT insiders. With a couple of exceptions (details below), I have not reached my target audience in great numbers, although I’m sure these consumers of the information do exist. In fact I know they exist because I’ve done some post-graduate research about them – the people stuck in the information gap – and I would even informally classify them into 2 groups:
- School-leavers, under-graduates and 20-somethings that are possibly thinking about careers in IT or computers but are worried that it may be too technical or dull for them. Even talking that first step to find the right type and level of information is confusing.
- More mature information workers in any industry, who use computers or get involved on the periphery of software projects but don’t really know what it’s all about. And probably haven’t got the time or inclination to find out.
There is also a much larger third group of potential readers and learners, those users of tech (web, email, smart phones, e-banking etc.) who want to feel a little bit more knowledgeable and connected, who are either vaguely aware that they should know a bit more about this stuff but are either scared of asking the questions, or don’t know what questions to ask. When I say, ‘asking questions’, I mean in the broader sense of gathering information and acquiring knowledge outside of formal training or education. The right hand side of the table of IT elements is where all this knowledge lives.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Most people born in the C20th will be familiar with old landline-style telephones. We may not understand the underlying technology, but the handset, and the concept of a wire or some conduit that allows a voice conversation between 2 people is comforting and understandable. But, now those conversations take place over the internet or use satellites (or both), by being mobile and wireless it has become somewhat dis-connected or further removed from reality. And, when it feels like the smart phone is cleverer that the person using it then we really are in trouble!
To get a little bit more philosophical, most of the computers and technologies we use and take for granted every day in some way simulate or enhance familiar human activities. It’s interesting to decide what the underlying function is, can you recognise the evolved forms of speaking, writing, recording or reading (communicating), playing, travelling, entertaining, calculating, or a physical activity such as cutting the grass, washing clothes or making tools, for example. So let’s not lose sight of the purpose and function of technology to serve us, and not to control us.
Going back to my target audience and 2 testimonials that I’ve received:
- A recruitment agent called me about a contract role after seeing my blog and it helped her to understand the difference between a software developer (as a client called himself) and a Programmer.
- A book group acquaintance who was in discussion with his manager about becoming ‘Agile’, and he used my blog to explain in layman’s terms what it means, and how the organisation needed to think carefully before adopting a new way of working.
So, it looks like some people are hearing me. Onward and upward to find a bigger audience and more satisfied Customers like these 🙂
As always thank you for your feedback and comments.
(c) 2015 Antony Lawrence CBA Ltd.