I thought long and hard about this post and to be honest it’s not really a Dig at Digg 🙂 I love Digg and Del,icio,us and all these amazing services that we technobods drool over! So before the wonderfully critical people (oh yes you are) over at Digg slay my post 🙂 I should say It’s a digg at our language and communication with each other as Human beings.
So what do I mean? Well as I said im a technobod. A gadget freak if you like. A person which delights in all this technology. I assume you’re one too as your reading this Blog so at least you know your way around 🙂 We speak to each other in a language that we each understand. But herin lies a glaring problem with our communication and this is filtering through to mainstream sites (like Digg) and worse still becoming the norm!
We assume that our readers understand on some instinctive level what we are talking about. We assume they know what a tag cloud is or a technorati tag for that matter. Take a look at Diggs FAQ Over Here
“What is digg?
Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.”
Ok fair enough you might say I understand that. But this is a FAQ written for people that already know or are indeed familiar with the ideas the language and the concepts. So wanting to test my idea out I enlisted the help of three people I know who are moderate to heavy internet users.
Call centre supervisor
Struggles with “save as”
So I ran this description past my sister who is a moderate user of the internet and it totally floored her! She did not have a clue what Digg is about and did not understand the language at all. She does use a computer each day and also in the evenings too. She was worried for some reason about social bookmarking even after I tried to explain it!
Work? Whats that!
Heavy Internet user
So I ran it past my nephew who is of the computer generation and was brought up with me his uncle soundly thrashing him at C&C Red Alert. I also introduced him to UO so he is familiar with MMORPGs. He knew what a news site is and he knows about blogging but that’s about it! He lives for PSP’s, Xboxes and playstation 2’s He speaks my language but didnt understand what digg is or does. He had no idea about social bookmarking either 🙁
My best friend
Senior Graphic Designer
Very heavy Internet user
Now my friend here understands blogging because we have had endless conversations about my blog. He did’nt know what RSS is mind you or indeed what it does and his eyes clouded over when I mentioned tag Clouds.
Now these three people might not be representative of most internet users but then again they might. I think they are. I think that if we want to open up blogging, the internet and technology to even more users then we need to move away from all these wonderfull acronyms and techno descriptors and actually use plain old English to describe in detail what things do what they are for and more importantly how they can benefit you.
As I said earlier this is not a dig at digg 🙂 I can think of many other sites that fall into the trap of only speaking to their specific user community and using their language.