Importance of addressing

May 13, 2021

I've come to recognise the importance of addressing your audience accurately and in a meaningful way. This came after seeing this tweet on Two Minute Papers YouTube channel's Twitter account, and learning about existence of Dad, how do I? channel.

Two minute papers uses the phrase "Dear fellow scholars", while Dad, how do I? uses the phrase "Hello, kids".

I think these are beautiful. From those first few words, it's very clear who the intended audience is (or at least, of which group one would want to be a part of) and what kind of expectations could be set before even being exposed to the content.

Besides just preparation of the expectations, you also immediately get rewarded by being associated with a particular group - you are immediately called a scholar, or sentimentally and empathetically called "a kid", and the channel do a great job helping you recall why is it good to be associated with those groups. Two minute papers does this mainly by using the phrase "what a time to be alive" as reminder of just how good and exciting is to have burning curiosity, to learn new things, read papers and do science. On the other hand, Dad how do I? uses phrases such as "you can do it" and "I'm proud of you", humanizing the need to learn even the most basic of things and the will to do so, and telling you how important that is.

Belonging and empathy are strong incentives, plus they help clarify and direct the content that is being made. And so, the way that you address your audience might end up having a much bigger impact than one first realizes perhaps.

Identifying your audience is part of your product's pitch - who are you making the thing for, who should be interested, who you should be learning from. Since these are the exact things that end up shaping your product, it isn't unexpected that such a "simple" part can influence everything about your processes and their outputs. It is definitely a thing to be actively aware of.