How to explain about blogging to newbies

I love it whenever I explain about blogging to someone and his face transforms from perplexed to comprehension.

He was very gratified because he had just come from another meeting with his web-designer and hadn’t understand a word of what he had said. He was convinced that he was destined to remain ignorant about the web world and felt he had no control of the situation.

It’s all gobbledegook

It’s worrying for ordinary people when bombarded with jargon and techie-speak – it’s almost like being in China and not knowing any Chinese. The result is feeling very uncomfortable because there is that niggling feeling that something important has been missed and or forgotten. And this is usually the case, because without the correct information how can any meaningful decisions be made?

If someone is very knowledgeable about their subject, it takes a lot out of them to break it down into its base components in order to properly provide the most appropriate details. In fact this is a good test to see if the subject is truly understood, to explain about blogging using different scenarios, analogies and similes in such a way that it relates to the listener’s point of view, lifestyle and way of thinking.

It needn’t be difficult

Blogging is only a complex subject if allowed to become one through inadequate explaining. The use of jargon only exasperates this. I have developed over the years alternative methods how to explain about blogging using ordinary, everyday language that anyone can understand. This is because I was also once a complete blogging novice, with very little technical knowledge, and did not appreciate the highly convoluted descriptions and tutorials available at that time.

The ability to use ordinary words in place of blogging jargon determines a deeper understanding of the situation. A good exercise is to take a newly learned concept and see if it can be rewritten for a totally different audience. Could CSS be explained to a kitchen full of cooks? How would a policeman appreciate how widgets work? Even the simple idea of a post published via RSS to social media can be mind-blowing to a group of knitting grannies if the trouble was taken to explain about blogging properly.

It needs gratitude and no assumptions

Of course it helps if the other person wants to understand and learn. Trying to explain about blogging to my 90-year old cousin was an uphill struggle because she just wasn’t interested, whereas this chap I spoke to the other day was extremely grateful for a “proper explanation that didn’t undermine me or make me feel stupid”. It was a pleasure to see his eyes widen as the penny started to drop, and it was almost possible to see his brain working with all the possible combinations as his knowledge increased.

And it isn’t just about using ordinary, everyday language. I also provide special visual instructions and clear directions with arrows pointing to what needs to be done next, and this is accompanied with suitable explanations that never assume anything or miss out large chunks in the proceedings. I concentrate on the reassurance of each action that needs to be taken, combined with a before and after screen-shot that shows exactly what the learner should see, that suitably combines the facility for easy learning.

This is how to explain about blogging to a newbie blogger with limited technical experience and still keep them on your side.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
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