Friday, January 14, 2011

NYT columnist provides a gentle reminder of the possible level of technical expertise of many of your customers

A writing teacher at Brooklyn College, Helen Rubenstein, provided a gentle reminder of the technical expertise of the consuming public with a column today in the New York Times. It's a rather sweet little tale of the author's use of other people's WiFi for the past five years, and her attitude both towards using other people's Internet connections, and her own (apparently) limited knowledge of the consequences of an unsecured Internet.

The column's rather naive view of Internet security isn't really the issue to me so much as the fact that column should remind tech writers and new media consultants that the general public is not always quite as informed about things as they may assume. Whether it is encryption, video encoding issues, or whatever, most consumers just want an easy solution.

Of course, the same could be said of many media executives, as well, which explains why many companies are very reluctant to launch mobile or tablet publishing products -- the people at the top can sometimes be very poorly informed. As a manager once advised me: walk gently, explain thoroughly. It still seems like good advise.