In general, regardless of the online group you are trying to communicate with, you must be aware that your audience will be diverse in terms of gender, generational and cultural influences. In the context of my interest in blogging about the mostly non-technical facets of COBOL programming, there are two main types of audiences. First, there are the seasoned, technical, fellow COBOL programmers, who can identify with the various discussions. These are the older generation, who may be looking for a good COBOL-related article from someone they can relate to. A second main audience would be a younger group with an interest in COBOL but not necessarily experienced or informed technically. They are a newer generation who may be starting out in their programming career and are looking for technical information. It is important to be conscious of the unique needs of each group when deciding on a communication style.
Audience #1—Experienced Fellow COBOL Developers
The first and probably the largest, audience in my COBOL-related online communications are COBOL programmers. The article, The Inevitable Return of COBOL, states that the average age of a COBOL programmer is fifty-five. Also, an Evans Data Corporation (2019) survey found that 27.5% of software developers in the world are women. Thus, the demographic of an online audience of COBOL programmers is probably men around age fifty-five. Based on this demographic, some psychographic information about this group is that they are conservative, upper-middle-class, and are followers. In terms of unique characteristics, according to the survey mentioned, one-fifth of men software developers have a personal interest in the technologies they are using. Consequently, one in five of my main COBOL audience have a personal interest in COBOL technologies. When communicating with this audience, the fact that this group is highly technical must be considered, since they will be more critical of any technical items discussed.
Audience #2—Younger, less experienced, Group with an Interest in COBOL
The second audience consists of the younger listeners, who have an interest in COBOL-related online communications. In the online environment, I am assuming that the demographic of this group would be well-educated people younger than fifty. Based on this demographic, some psychographic information about this group is that they are trendy, leaders, who may have an interest in technology in either a formal, professional way or informally. When communicating with this audience, I must remember that they may not have a full understanding of COBOL or technical terms in general, and there will be a need to explain things in more layman’s terms.
In conclusion, this has been a short analysis of two diverse target audiences of non-technical Cobol-related discussions. The first group includes COBOL programmers around fifty-five years old, while the second group is comprised of all listeners, younger than fifty, with an interest in COBOL. This analysis has emphasized how, as a blogger, it is important to know your audience so that you can be relevant and inspire them to take action.
Which audience type do you fall into? Are the assumed psychographic attributes correct for your group? Can you identify another audience not included above?