TechWhirl Recap for October 8, 2011

This week’s update is supported by Platinum sponsor Madcap & Flare 7 |

Al’s traveling this week, so sit back and enjoy the change of pace as Connie provides this week’s recap (or you can just skip to the busniess people networkingbottom and wait ‘til next week, but don’t say we didn’t warn you about all the tech writing goodness you’ll be missing.)

We’ve still got an article or two in the queue, but we’re transitioning from our theme of User Experience and Design into the ever timely topic of networking. It’s pretty much a natural for us–TechWhirl has been about networking since its inception. One of the top discussions this week even focuses directly on networking… and reminds us painfully that networking should start long before you want or need that next job. Many of the tactics have changed in the last few years, LinkedIn didn’t even exist the last time I went hunting for captive employment, and now it’s a must-have tool in the arsenal.

But effective networking involves some basics that we often don’t think about consciously. Kindness, professionalism, mentoring, and paying it forward are fuzzy, mushy topics that often get skewered in good fun, but should still never be ignored, no matter how strong your desire to climb corporate or entrepreneurial ladders. The TechWhirl community seems to understand this innately when a member asks for help and advice. And that’s a good thing (with apologies to Martha Stewart).

One of the most fun and adventurous things you can do in networking is to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with and get to know people in venues that have nothing to do with careers or current openings. It can pay off, both in terms of new experiences and relationships, and new opportunities somewhere down the line. We are living proof, having met and forged our friendship in volunteering and running a community Haunted House over ten years ago. Now we’re doing something just as scary, but in a completely different and very cool way.

Speaking of scary and haunted houses (and even networking), we’re bring our love of Halloween to TechWhirl this month, while giving you the chance to flex your creative muscles a bit. Submit your Tech Writer Horror Stories and share your fear or obsession with the horrors of technology, technical writing and communicating. Deadline is Oct 21, 2011. Happy haunted writing!


The gang @ TechWhirl

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:

Will you be our Friend? Please, you know you want to click |

Want all this TechWhirl goodness a few characters @ a time |

Inside TechWhirl newsletter (all about our work) |

Typing TechWhirl.Com too much for you? Try RSS |

What You’re Talking About

A quick What you talkin’ ‘bout to our Tech Writers and their discussions in our email discussion group:

· Robert Courtney is “Job searching in this time of attrition….” and turned to the list for advice, help and support. The good folks of TechWhirl responded with all three: proactive researching specific companies and their needs, asking for help, reading “Ask the Headhunter,” getting exercise, and building network contacts even when you don’t need them.

· Stephen Reynolds wants advice on prototyping and creating proofs of concept for a CMS for his client. Suggestions for solutions ranged from the familiar WordPress and Joomla to DITA4. Meantime, thanks to Tony Chung for the laugh of the week… “vapid prototyping”!

· A little bit of déjà vu all over again, when Andrew Plato rejoined the list after a multi-year absence. Plato’s looking for “Help – my consultants cannot write!” bringing back fond memories of his unique approach to technical writing issues. In addition to the walk down memory lane, he also got some good ideas, and a few friendly jabs.

In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

· New: “Usability and User Experience, reaated but different” by Silvia Zimmermann, President, UPA |

· Classic: “Seven Deadly Sins of Tech Writing Burnout” by Liz Russell |

· Poll Question: What methods do you use to network? | TechWhirl.Com

Upcoming Articles

· New: “What you should consider in planning mobile help projects for field personnel,” by Laura McNeilly

· New: “Real Networking with Twitter” by Ryan Minaker

· New: Review of Geoff Hart’s book “Effective onscreen editing: new tools for an old profession,” by Keith Soltys

· Poll Question: Are you satisfied with the current level of your basic tech writing skills?


We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their support. We suggest you make every one of them a stop on your trick or treat rounds.

Platinum A: Adobe Systems Incorporated

Platinum B: ComponentOne, Madcap

Gold: Vancouver Island University, Society for Technical Communication (STC),

EC Software

Subscribe to TechWhirl via Email