TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for November 22, 2013

technical communication recap for July 5In watching and reading the vast number of pieces commemorating one the darkest events in American history, I’m struck by the truth of the old adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Then, as now, we remember where we were and what we were doing when these events occur. We unite in mourning and trying to make sense of tragedy.  And we attempt to learn from these events and move forward.

One thing that has surely changed is how we find about the details of these national and global tragedies.  In 1963, everyone waited for news from venerated news men such as Walter Cronkite, or tuned in their radios as a relatively few reporters bore responsibility for getting the facts out across the newswires. In 2013, we wait for nothing… we get pictures as they happen from the everyday citizens in the street, supplemented by non-stop coverage in the 24/7 cable news cycle. In 1963, the vast majority of humanity were relegated to passive consumers of news.  Today, the vast majority can and do actively participate in creating and distributing—in sharing—news and other content.

We, as content creators and deliverers, with some special types of expertise, still have much to learn about the processes:  what constitutes news and facts, or even the “right” content? How does delivery shape the actual content? What responsibility do the sharers bear, as opposed to the creators, in ensuring the right content gets to the right consumers? As you peruse the content we’ve produced on TechWhirl this week, and the conversations happening in the forums and email discussion lists, it may be worthwhile to pause for a moment and contemplate the roles we play in sharing knowledge within the wider world.

Have a good weekend.

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl

 Tech Writer This Week

Tech Writer This Week for November 14, 2013

TechWhirl’s weekly summary of the best Content Management, Technical Communication and Customer Experience Management articles on the web.

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Word Wise: Wonky Words in the World

Wonky words. You can find them anywhere: on billboards, on beer bottles, on bus-stop signs. I’m talking about words that make you go hmmm. I’m talking about the kind of writing that makes word nerds groan. Why stop at groaning? Let’s have some fun with these egregiosities. I propose writing captions for them.

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Making the Business Case (poll)

One of those key business skills for anyone, including technical communicators, is creating a business case. Seems like a simple process, and technical communicators are good at processes, right? That’s what we’d like to know, based on your experience in making business cases in your organizations.

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Every Page is Page One: Topic Based Authoring for Tech Comm and the Web

Mark Baker’s position is that any page or topic on the web or in Internet help content could be the first one that a user sees-Every Page is Page One. Therefore, each topic must stand alone and provide enough context to be understandable without reading any other topic. Creating these “EPPO” topics takes a shift in thinking for many writers.

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Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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