TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for November 23, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor ComponentOne & their Doc-To-Help Help Authoring Tool |

Around TechWhirl, we’re still enjoying the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, before facing the prospects of yet another frenetic holiday season.  Leftover turkey and pumpkin pie is much more appealing to us than risking life and limb with Black Friday shopping.  Smart technical communicators long ago learned the virtues of online shopping, which leaves plenty of time for reviewing and rereading the articles on TechWhirl, or contributing to the interesting conversations on the email discussion list.

Have a great weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

 techwhirl technical communication Tech Writer This Week for November 22, 2012

We know most Americans will be focused on holiday feasting and watching football tomorrow, so our weekly curation coming to you a day early (even though it’s dated for tomorrow). As visions of Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing extravaganzas drift more urgently through our minds, the technical communications pot simmers with good things, and the sideboard is loaded up with content strategy, user experience, and career and life goodies.

  Technical Communication Poll: Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering is usually considered to be the biggest component in helping society, so we’ve decided to survey one final aspect of volunteerism—the benefits we look for in choosing a volunteer opportunity. After looking at the challenges in volunteering technical communication expertise, and the types of organizations technical communicators choose to volunteer with, we were curious to know why you choose to volunteer.

  Undead Americans and the Need for Improved Audience Analysis

Undead Americans are a rapidly growing market segment, and are predictably attracting increasing attention from technology companies that have recognized the profit potential from this market segment. Before continuing, I should note that technical communicators must avoid using the dismissive abbreviation “UAs”, not to mention the offensive epithet “zombies”, to describe these individuals. Such diminutives lead us to objectify these important members of our audience rather than treating them as individuals, leading to stereotyping rather than the effective creation of empirically derived, audience-focused personas.

 volunteer How to Use Volunteering to Get a Job in Technical Writing

One year ago, I graduated from Portland State University with a Master’s in Technical Writing, and set out into the world, sure that a career as a professional writer was within my grasp. Then reality showed its ugly head – I was going into the expertise-heavy world of technical writing with a piece of paper and little practical experience. Every job listing included the soul-killing phrase “5-10 years of experience preferred”.

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