Thinking about how someone else is thinking about a thing

After I write blog posts here or (more often) on Broken Links I tend to watch Twitter to see who’s interacting with the post. On occasion someone who interacts might work in a field strongly related to the subject of the post, or have some other relevant attribute, and when this happens I go back and re-read the post I’ve written from what I imagine that person’s point of view might be.

For example, today I wrote about innovation in mobile browsers, and the iPhone, and after I’d published it, saw that a FirefoxOS developer had favourited my promotional tweet. So I went back and read my post again, imagining what a FirefoxOS developer might think of it.

Working like this doesn’t really give me other people’s points of view, but it makes me think about my articles in a different way, to consider how certain phrases could be interpreted. Sometimes this thinking about how someone else could be thinking about what I’ve written causes me to make changes or clarifications to the post.

Today I named this editing process attributed empathy. I find it a useful technique in better communicating what I want to say.