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Chapter 1. Who Am I Writing for, and Inc... > Get to Know the Audience of One

Get to Know the Audience of One

The very concept of an audience is stained with the word's original meaning—a large group of people listening to a speaker. The traditional audience was a mass. Before the Web, we tended to think of our audience as a rather vaguely defined crowd or, perhaps, as a collection of several groups, each of which had a different interest in our subject matter. A single speech, book, or document would address all these groups, we hoped.

On the Web, though, the mass audience is crumbling. In its place, small groups are emerging, forming around common interests, aims, jobs, politics, hobbies, or obsessions. And within these groups, we see individuals arising, demanding that we deliver information specifically tailored to their personal taste. We are moving from a writing situation in which one author addressed a single vast audience to a process in which many individuals exchange information with each other, aided by some people who do more writing than others.


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