Recently we tried and experiment at the office. The result of that experiment lead me to ask how many non-tech people really know what the definition of a blog is or any other “tech” term.
Our experiment consisted of setting up an internal developer’s blog that the employees could read in hopes of them being able to gain new insight into what we do on a daily basis. It seemed like a good idea at the time. What quickly became apparent was that no one in the office outside of the IT department really understood what a blog was. A few central themes that we continued to get questions aboutÂ were how can I write a post and how can I join in the discussions. My immediate answers were you can participate by commenting on the topics we put up andÂ you can’t post because it is the IT blog. This seemed like a pretty simple concept.
Days went on with little to no participation on the site. Did if forget to mention that I had already run this past the department heads who thought this was a good idea and said they would help generate participation for the project? Well, I did run it by them and they did think it was a good idea. Then those same department heads who I thought understood what a blog was began to also ask me what they needed to do to make a post. That was followed by a comment being posted to the blog stating “If we can’t post then this seems useless”.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that everyone pretty much thought a blog was the same thing as a message board. That’s great if you want a message board, but I didn’t. I wanted a blog. Eventually the entire project was scrapped. I wish it could have worked because it would have been good for the office as a whole, but I’ll move on and try to find some other venue that can spark inter-office communication.
As for people understanding “tech” terms, my suggestion would be take their knowledge with a grain of salt. People may really think that you can’t rip your own CD’s to iTunes for use with your iPod.
For additional reading, there was also a story on digg today that touched on this topic.