Plain English, please

October 21, 2008

David Pogue, the technology writer and blogger for The New York Times, has taken other technology writers to task over their use of jargon.

While I agree with his points and examples in principle, he seems to forget one thing—’know your audience’. If you’re writing about technology to a general ‘Mom and Pop’ readership, then yes, avoid the jargon where possible. But if you’re writing about technology to a geeky audience, then you have to use terms familiar to that audience, or terms that clearly mean what you want to say. In particular, David Pogue talks about avoiding terms like ‘web content’ and ‘RAM’, but for certain audiences it is necessary to be this specific as these terms have quite distinct meanings from the generic ‘web page’ and ‘memory’ that he offers as preferable terms.

You can see his article and the many comments and other suggestions he’s received about it here:

[Link last checked 20 October 2008]

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