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Probe your audiences --gently

Customize, then personalize

Develop an attitude!

Talk like a human being

We used to write for a mass audience--one big, amorphous, floating cloud of people out there somewhere, just beyond the tv set.

Now we write for small groups--niche markets, segments, special interest groups.

And within those groups, we often talk directly to one person at a time.  We have returned to writing for an audience of one.  Like a poet writing to a beloved, or a traveler writing to a spouse, we create text designed to move, amuse, entertain, persuade that one person. 

Customizing text for a group, and then personalizing what we say for individuals, we take advantage of the fancy software on our web sites, but we go back to a way of writing that's more like a conversation. The test is: can we stop sounding like corporations, and begin to talk like human beings?

Human beings often listen, during a conversation.  Can we?


Want to read more on talking to your audiences as if they--and you--were actually living beings?

See: Bruffee (1986), Clark (1990), Cooper (1999), Dumas and Redish (1993), Fish (1980), Freed and Broadhead (1987), Hagen (1999), Jonassen, Hannum, and Tessmer (1989), Norlin (2001), Norman (1980), Ong (1975), Porter (1992), Redish (1989), Rubin (1994), Seybold and Marshak (1998), Seybold, Marshak, and Lewis (2001), Shneiderman (1998), Weiss (2001), Wood (1996).


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