Monday, May 18, 2015

Fancy titles considered harmful

Do you agonize over your title when you write a talk proposal? I know I do. I want something catchy and clever, I want the organizers to like it, and I want the attendees to come.

I have come to realize that obvious titles are often the best. I gave a talk at OSCON called Bust the Android Fragmentation Myth. Catchy isn't it? I was so proud of myself, coming up with that title.

However, after I gave the talk, an attendee came up to me and said, "I am so glad I came. I have always wanted to learn how to write apps that works for both phones and tablets, and I would have never guessed from the title that you would be covering that in this talk."

That made me wonder: How many people went to other talks because they couldn't tell the content of my talk from the title? A lot of people just glance at the conference schedule, and if the title is not obvious, they probably won't bother looking at the description. Besides, it's not easy to come up with clever titles, so nowadays I just stick with descriptive ones:

Yup, my talk will just be "Advanced Espresso", no clever coffee puns or anything :)

1 comment:

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  1. That resonates a lot with me. Once I gave a talk on customizing Android ROMs (things like changing AOSP) and some people thought it was about design. I feel sorry for this mistake, I guess not so many people like low level stuff and design (well, I do), probably it was the worst talk for them. The second time I gave the talk, I changed the title.