Writing, reading, thought and language are so intimately human that it can be jarring to think about writing for, well, the machine.
As much as technology has advanced, and will advance, it still seems like real understanding of the same nature as what happens in a human mind – by a computer – is still a long way off.
However, for a technical writer, or really anyone writing for the online world, understanding how a computer “thinks” is already more than relevant.
This is because computer software – algorithms – are the new gatekeepers, and will increasingly be so.
How end-users find your content – especially through search engines – is heavily mediated, and long gone is the importance of vaunted editors of old with ultimate power over the front page.
Google search results – Reddit notwithstanding – is the front page most people see as they engage the internet. And while social networking does mean humans – via a kind of crowd-sourcing – do play a role in what gets seen more prevalently by online audiences – how content is filtered, curated, summarized, split-up, and parsed, will increasingly be dominated by the logical rules of computer code.
Writing for SEO has long been practiced for the web, but as we go, the complexities of code, and learning how your writing can play to strengths and weaknesses in the wider system beyond simply the latest Google search engine algorithm tweak becomes crucial, ok computer?