In the course of any given work week, many of us read dozens of blogs, follow hundreds of tweets, and keep up with threads and messages in a wide range of discussion lists and community forums. Not to mention those who work together with other technical writers and practitioners of in related fields on a daily basis (and the accompanying meetings, IMs and phone calls). Chances are pretty good that not all the blogs, or hash tags, or discussion threads focus specifically on technical communications. And chances are that the knowledge you gain from those other communities impacts how you do your job. In other words, our professional community is actually more akin to a complex affinity or Venn diagram, with many overlapping edges between us and other distinct communities of professionals.
We thought it would be an interesting challenge to look at the boundaries of our professional community, if in fact we have boundaries. If you work on multiple projects in the course of your job, the boundaries of your community probably change depending on the project. Are you interacting with designers or working in a design role? Do you rely on the expertise of business analysts or do you perform that research yourself? Do you perform or observe usability testing? How much knowledge do you need to have to work effectively in the industry you’re in, and how do acquire it? Many folks in the technical writing community have passports to other communities, and we’re curious how many and which ones you interact with regularly. So take a couple of minutes and think about all the ways you interact with communities, and vote in our poll to let us know which professional communities get your attention and your participation and why. And we encourage you to post your thoughts about how the communities overlap, and how they can or should support each other.
And as always, feel free to drop by the email discussion list and start a thread on communities, tools, trends, or other conversations that impact the technical communications work we do.