Technical Communications Poll: Engaging with Your Professional Community

The mental image so many people seem to have of technical writers as loners chained to their keyboards and their style manuals has been around for quite awhile. And indeed, enough of us serve as lone writers that STC even has a special interest group devoted to it, and it was the impetus behind Eric Ray’s efforts to set up the original Techwr-l list serve back in 1993.  Nowadays, even the “alonest” of  lone technical writers can reach out to the global technical communications community, via a whole array of channels and tools.

During April and May, TechWhirl continues to look at “re-framing the community” from a number of perspectives. We want to start with the technical communications community itself. Not only the content of our conversations is shifting–how our roles are changing–but also how we carry out those conversations, and why. So this week’s poll asks what circumstances prompt you to reach out, to engage in the technical communications community.  Perhaps by understanding the hows and whys of engaging our own community, we can get a better handle on how we manage the communities around our employers–end users, suppliers, partners, employees, management–and ultimately help build communities equipped for success.

Take a few minutes to vote, you can choose as many answers as apply, and if we missed something, please post a comment and let us know. And don’t forget to take the opportunity to engage in the TechWhirl community by starting or participating in a thread on the email discussion list.

What circumstances prompt you to reach out to your professional community?

View Results

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Larry Kunz

12 years ago

How about this one? Technical communicators are just plain cool people and I like to hang out with them.


12 years ago

Technical communicators are hipper than hipsters, cooler than cool, and don’t even have to brogram to prove it.

Pamela Clark

12 years ago

I read tech comm blogs and engage in discussions to prevent myopia from setting in. It is too easy to get tunnel vision by only interacting with writers at your employer site. It is a way to stay informed about current trends and tools and to see how things are handled by a variety of people and companies. Above all, it’s fun. I also like staying in touch with former co-workers who are active in the blogosphere, so I guess it is a type of networking that doesn’t happen face-to-face. Face-to-face interaction can be difficult or impossible with all the time and location constraints that can come into play.

Gil Vinokoor

12 years ago

Something else: By “reaching out”, I take that to mean connecting with others via social media (such as Twitter). As such, I like to learn about what others are doing, thinking about, and so on. Helps me stay fresh and keeps my mind open to new ideas. Also, a great way to meet like-minded #techcomm pros!

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano

12 years ago

Hi Gil,

I think that’s one of the most popular ways these days, but in addition to pure social media, we have “listserv” discussion lists, online forums and wikis, posting comments to blogs, and in-person networking. Part of the challenge in deciding what community to participate in, is choosing the most effective way to participate… and that varies from individual to individual.

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