We’ve had a busy summer at TechWhirl. We’ve been working on building stronger partnerships in the community, continuing to roll out new research portals, and doing a little re-org of systems and approaches so that we can become more efficient at publishing and managing our schedules. And we’ve been putting together our plans for the autumn, including going to the LavaCon Conference and deciding how we’re going to be a good media partner for the upcoming Technical Communication UK (TCUK) from a few thousand miles away.
We enjoy conferences for a lot of reasons. It’s great place to make contacts for business development, think about what the future holds for our coverage and the industry, and finally, it’s the place we meet most of our very special writers. All this happens and we haven’t been able to attend very many sessions. We’ve led a couple, but frankly, we never have the time to choose from or attend so many presentations.
Our industry—and by that we mean hacks, consultants, companies and the organizers—loves a good conference (or mediocre for that matter) just about as much as they love a good webinar (or … you get the idea). They like them for the same reason we like them, it’s a chance to karaoke interact as a community and maybe make a sale or two.
One of the things that make technical communications really special is the community. Whether it’s the 20 year history of our email list, the STC or the fact most people say “I am” a technical writer … communicator rather than “I do” marketing … sales it’s pretty special. Another thing that makes it pretty special is the fact that to be a great professional in the field one needs to be both artistically sound as a communicator and technologically up to date on the latest tools.
There are only so many ways to network, learn new skills and get up-to-speed on the latest tools, and attending a conference is one of them. There are some downsides: the hangovers, missing work, cost and travel are normally the top ones, so it’s not an easy decision. So our question for this week is simply, are you going to a conference this autumn? If yes, then which one, and if no, then why not (tell us in the comments)?
We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts (and possibly seeing you at a conference soon).