It’s May 4th today. Happy Star Wars Day!
In case you didn’t know why this is Star Wars day, think of the famous quote from the movies: “may the force be with you”. Well, doesn’t “may the force …” sound a bit like “May, the fourth”? It’s a pop-cultural reference, and not everybody gets it. That made me think about whether or not to use cultural references in technical writing and developer content.
On the one hand, there is a particular set of famous cultural works that are associated with “nerds”, and being a software developer is considered being a part of the same (sub)culture. Developers can bond over shared interests in movies, music, etc. in the same way as they can bond (or playfully fight) over their favorite programming language or text editor. Fictional worlds provide engaging scenarios away from the mundane daily (home) office life, adding color and depth to sample code and tutorials. Why not take your first steps into the world of APIs with the Star Wars API?
On the other hand, referencing works from the Western male-dominated nerd culture could backfire and make women and people from different cultural backgrounds feel excluded. I firmly believe that writing code and participating in the API economy is for everyone. Hence, we should be accomodating to folks from all walks of life.
Additionally, an issue that might arise is that heavy use of references to commercial works of art could be considered copyright infringement. It is something especially larger companies should think of (and consult their legal department) before they lean on these works too heavily.
That said, are you looking for additional tutorials for your API, with or without cultural references? Check out my website for developer content production offers and talk to me about them. I am looking forward to hearing from you.