Book Review: Content Strategy 101 by Sarah O’Keefe and Alan Pringle

Sarah S. O’Keefe and Alan S. Pringle of Scriptorium Publishing tried a fascinating experiment in putting together their latest book, “Content Strategy 101.” They crowd-sourced the development, seeking commentary, feedback on the structure and content, and reviews from a wide range of content and technical communication professionals via the contentstrategy101.com website. Jacquie Samuels, a content strategy veteran, and Roger Renteria, a graduate of tech comm studies read the book at the website and offer their perspectives in this “mini-crowd-sourced” review. Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 1, 2012

At TechWhirl, we’re well into our second full year of ownership, and when we reflect on how far we come in 14 months, we can honestly say “what a journey it’s been.” So often what happens on and around TechWhirl parallels what happens in technical communication—implementing new technologies and an evolving content strategy, collaborating with remarkable people around the globe, researching, designing, and, of course, writing. And perhaps it’s part of the reason we’re devoting the month of June to “Skills to Survive and Thrive.” We want to understand and share what it takes beyond “book learning” and tools skills to be successful in the technical communication field. Continue reading ...

Crowdsourcing as a Technical Communication Exercise

Summer replay: In the last two posts I suggested crowdsourcing as both a pre-existing concept and a means for enlisting the participation of others without their knowing, (and in some cases, without their consent). This post continues with the discussion of active versus passive research techniques, and the power of group think.. There is a significant difference between active research, which is highly controlled, and passive research, which is unpredictable. Wikipedia is the best known example of the power of collective, but controlled, chaos. Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for May 25, 2012

By now most STC Summit attendees are back at their desks ready to do battle with recalcitrant SMEs and unfocused management. TechWhirl returns to the homesteads today, with a new sense energy, lots of ideas, and a greatly enhanced network of colleagues, peers and friends who make up a large part of the technical communications community. Continue reading ...

Crowdsourcing: the Double-edged Sword

My interest in crowdsourcing began honestly: It was forced upon me by the powers that be. In my work as a Content Strategist for a large government website, our communications department asked me how they could harness the power of the crowd to give community planners insight into the interests of the constituents within specific neighborhoods. Ordinarily, the project itself would be a boring mix of user polling and statistics, of interest only to a relatively small group who knew about urban planning. Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for May 18, 2012

The preparations for attending a technical communication event such as the STC Summit are always exciting—akin to the two-weeks-after-code-freeze-write-the-whole-user-manual exciting. TechWhirl will be there, as an exhibitor (stop by booth 115), as Lightning Talk participants (We’re scheduled on Wednesday), and providers of an STC Summit Pinterest Board and Storify wrapup (publishes next week). So while Twitter posts abound with notices about upcoming seminars, meetups, and departure announcements for those already heading to Chicago, Al and Connie are wrapping the normal week’s activities and just getting around to packing. Continue reading ...

Crowdsourcing: The New Black?

What’s in a name? To some, the specifics of a name mean absolutely nothing. To others, that same name means absolutely everything. While some believe as Shakespeare wrote: "...a rose by any other name, its smell is sweet...", Technical Writers in general are more attached to their chosen terms. Today's term is "Crowdsourcing." What is it? What is its relevance to technical communication today? And, the bigger question: Why does my iPhone insist on Capitalizing the C? Continue reading ...