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.