I want to be clear that BoomerangBeat is not “for dummies” and it is not a “dummied down version of the news” but rather accessible news. News for the busy.
Writing informally is not dumbing down; it is writing so busy people can understand your content
— kadeeirene (@kadeeirene) April 24, 2014
Quote pulled from an Entrepreneur Magazine article.
Dummied down describes a deliberate diminution of the intellectual level of education, literature, cinema, news, and culture. Or to “revise as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence”.
Those that don’t fully understand what’s going on in news, or with politics, aren’t stupid. They’re not necessarily any less intelligent than those that can follow, they’ve just chosen to focus on other areas of life.
We live in a world of constant content, “breaking news”, sensationalized stories and headlines, misreporting, and propaganda. We are in the age of information overload and organizational mistrust.
Those of us outside the news industry bubble often lose the context of the story as media continuously caters those that are ready, at any minute, to absorb the latest detail.
The For Dummies Success Story
A short paragraph pulled from their website:
“In 1987, new technologies were popping up all over the place. But computer manuals were dull and difficult to understand. A frustrated customer in a computer store, who knew nothing about computers, was looking for a simple, basic book about the difficult DOS operating system. “Something,” he suggested, “like DOS for dummies.” We knew the man’s frustration was shared by many other computer users, and we set out to do something about it. Thus, the For Dummies phenomenon began.
From the start, For Dummies was a simple, yet powerful concept: Relate to the anxiety and frustration that people feel about technology by poking fun at it with books that are insightful and educational and make difficult material interesting and easy.”
I re-wrote their story in terms of today’s technology and media landscape:
“In the aftermath of the dot-com boom and bust (early 2000s), the web quickly became ubiquitous. New ideas of sharing and exchanging content rapidly gained acceptance in the form of Weblogs, RSS, and later, social networks.
The media’s obsession with 24-hour news coverage was bolstered by the popularization of social networking. This rapid development of messaging soon gave way to “up to the second” updates and a media-wide “first to report” race.
The information overload, continuous “non-news” broadcasts, and misreporting left many frustrated at the missing context and propaganda-driven agendas of major media outlets. So, I’m setting out to do something about it.
BoomerangBeat is a simple, yet powerful concept: Relate to the anxiety and frustration that people feel about the current state of the news industry and make difficult topics interesting and easy to understand.”
The Mission Statement
I’m not exactly sure what the For Dummies mission statement is but there are a few quotes I pulled that directly relate to (and inspire) BoomerangBeat. I rewrote them for my case.
“BoomerangBeat is not for dummies. It’s a reference guide to the news for the rest of us.”
“Making everything easier.”
“BoomerangBeat is a website intended to present non-intimidating guides for news consumers new to the various topics covered.”
“BoomerangBeat is a simple, yet powerful concept: Relate to the anxiety and frustration that people feel about the news industry… and make difficult material interesting and easy to understand.”
The For Dummies books are incredibly popular for a reason. And just like I’m hoping to do with BoomerangBeat, their readers outgrow them too.