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Author and Audience

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What is an Author?

“Author” is a fairly loose term used to refer to anyone who uses communication. An author could be one person or many people. An author could be someone who uses writing (like in a book), speech (like in a debate), visual elements (like in a TV commercial), audio elements (like in a radio broadcast), or even tactile elements (as is used in making Braille) to communicate. Whatever authors create, authors are human beings whose particular activities are affected by their individual backgrounds.

Author’s Background

Many factors affect authors’ backgrounds. These can include age, gender, geographic location, ethnicity, cultural experiences, religious experiences, social standing, personal wealth, sexuality, political beliefs, parents, peers, level of education, personal experience, and others. All of these are powerful influences on what authors assume about the world, who their audiences are, what and how they communicate, and the settings in which they communicate. Gender, ethnicity, cultural experiences, sexuality, and wealth factors are especially important in analyzing rhetorical situations today. Many professionals in education, business, government, and non-profit organizations are especially aware of these specific factors in people’s lives.

What is Audience?

Like the term “author,” the term “audience” is also a fairly loose term. “Audience” refers to any recipient of communication. Audiences can read, hear, see, or feel different kinds of communication through different kinds of media. Also like authors, audiences are human beings whose particular activities are also affected by their specific backgrounds.

Audience’s Background

The same sorts of factors that affect authors’ backgrounds also affect audiences’ individual backgrounds. Most importantly, these factors affect how audiences receive different pieces of communication; what they assume about the author; and the context in which they hear, read, or otherwise appreciate what the author communicates.