Who’s the Audience and Where are they?
In response to Michele Martin’s post, Developing Work Literacies: Who’s the Target Audience?
I keep thinking about how information spreads. I’ve watched it spread online and know where to watch to keep up. I found the phrase that was going round the web a few months ago interesting: “News finds me!” and it’s true that web-savvy people set up networks that push the info they’re interested in at them. But what about offline? How does information spread there?
I thought about this yesterday as I picked up some cookies in an upscale market. There was a cooking show on the screen you could watch while waiting in the cashier lineup. Free ideas for meals! I thought about how people get inspired to learn while I was in an Apple Store attending a free workshop. The session had too much information to learn effectively but you could see the possibilities of Keynote, especially if you were familiar with PowerPoint (I am) and if you’d already played with Keynote (I have).
(An aside: if anyone knows how to change the font of a theme for the whole show rather than one slide at a time, I’d appreciate the information. Same thing with setting transitions for the whole show rather than one at a time. Other than those, I love Keynote.)
I thought about how people pick up ideas to try out while listening to friends and my husband discuss cooking shows. Then I thought about the strategy of a used car saleman (I think they know audience behavior;->) I used to teach with. When our office layout was changed, he always ended up next to the coffee. He said that it was the communication hub. They don’t have department coffee spots any more where I used to work; they have a Tim Hortons and a Second Cup. Maybe a Starbucks too by now; I haven’t been on that campus for a couple of years. The principle continues; people now meet in the coffee line-ups and chat. And there are notices, ads, and even screens with slideshows repeating themselves positioned around the lineups.
Word-of-mouth is powerful and can be stimulated by well-placed, well-designed media. If flyers and ads on the benefits of web and computer applications were as omnipresent as cooking shows and essay mills, if people were alerted in line-ups to one simple, short series of actions that could make their work easier or more interesting, wouldn’t that speed up the adoption of Work Litracy behaviors? If the posters or shows were rotated a couple of times a week, so there was both novelty and repetition, …
If there can be coffee franchises, why not Work Literacy franchises? Or have I gone too far into fantasy land again?