If anyone were to ask me what online references I use the most during the course of a workday, they might be surprised to learn that acronymfinder.com ranks near the top (after TechWhirl.com and Thesaurus.com of course). Maybe it’s just me or an age factor, but I’m finding more and more initialisms and acronyms creeping into what I read, what I write and what I edit. I think perhaps I didn’t eat enough alphabet soup when I was a kid.
Initialisms and acronyms are often the secret code of a profession or an organization. And one of the best services a technical communicator can offer to their employer is developing some sort of online glossary to walk the newbies through translation of that secret code. It’s terribly important, but rarely recognized organizational communication work.
My current work at one of the large US financial institutions involves project communications on a large and rather complex infrastructure project. I’m faced with financial industry initialisms, corporate initialisms, technology initialisms, and project management initialisms. The company has made it a bit easier by including a wiki on the enterprise intranet home page of all sorts of initialisms. I’ve found a definition for all but two of the ones I’ve run across. It’s a glossary project that apparently anyone in the company can add to, and the current listings include dozens of contributor names.
But if you were to ask the folks who contributed to this wiki what kind of work they were doing, the likelihood that they would call it technical communication or technical writing is practically nil, even though it’s a perfectly legitimate label.
The lesson in all of this? Spend less time being offended or paranoid that folks don’t label your profession the same way you do, and more time doing good work in your chosen profession. Keeps your blood pressure down and your satisfaction level up.
And after you’re done search acronymfinder.com for BRD or PDD or any other kind of D, take some time to wander through the great content on TechWhirl this week. Jacquie Samuels reads a few tea leaves and discovers that the future of tech comm is being driven by user experience (UX). Special Writers Unit (SWU) newbie Peter Winninger debuts with some good foundational information on the role of a technical editor (I guess that would be TE). We’re curious to find out why you visit a corporate blog, and you can tell us in this week’s poll. Craig Cardimon offers a host of curated content in Tech Writer This Week (TWTW) on UX, content strategy and more. And don’t forget that even in the summer, you can raise some heat but asking the right question on the email discussion list.
-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl
Another take on technical writing as art takes center stage on Tech Writer This Week. Plus really interesting posts on the emotional context of tech comm, the user experience of Gmail and automated phone systems, and a world of views on content strategy and curation.
Are you a writer that works with a technical editor? If so, consider yourself fortunate; many technical writers don’t have the luxury of an editor’s services. Writers on a project team often edit each other’s documents, while writers who work alone may have no choice but to edit their own work. Writing and editing are distinct processes; each requires a different skill set and focus.
Many folks in technical communication relish the role of user’s advocate, putting themselves into their customer’s shoes and walking around a bit. Take one step back, and think about your experiences as a consumer. Now you’re ready to think about and vote in this week’s technical communication poll (OK, this week, it’s a consumer poll).
Although I usually don’t like to pull out my crystal ball or scry into a tea cup, TechWhirl asked me take a stab at guessing the future of tech comm. So here we go: Johnny Mnemonic meets Minority Report and Star Wars, with a touch of Hackers thrown in for good measure. This is really not very surprising because user experience drives technical communication already.
Technical Communication News
- Bridgeline Digital launches iAPPS 5.0 with Enhanced Content Editing and Authoring
- CXPA Launches Certification Program in Customer Experience Management
- SDL Launches Social Customer Analytics Framework for CXM
Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:
- Our Google Plus Page – what’s happening behind the scenes | http://goo.gl/SO0R4
- Will you be our Friend? Please, you know you want to click | http://goo.gl/tDrW7
- Want all this TechWhirl goodness a few characters @ a time | http://goo.gl/itjDg
- Updates from TechWhirl delivered to your email in box | http://bit.ly/tjshxU
- Or, try our RSS feed (great on Flipboard) | http://goo.gl/msLzu