TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for December 13, 2013

technical communication recap for July 5Yesterday, I had the good fortune to attend a half-day workshop on “sticky” communications, facilitated by Dan Heath, who co-wrote the bestselling “Switch,” “Made to Stick,” and “Decisive,” with his brother Chip. One of those ideal workshops that reminded me of some communications basics I needed to re-engage with, gave me some outstanding new ideas to work with, and a side order of motivation. Not strictly technical communication or content management, but applicable on many levels to both my TechWhirl role and my consulting work. Workshops and conferences that offer all three are rare indeed, and worth every penny. Sometimes it’s worth getting out of your regular routine to see what the rest of the world is talking about.

Serendipitously, a thread on content strategy conferences appeared on The TechWhirl community forum and email discussion list last week. The Intelligent Content Conference (ICC) comes highly recommended, for its broader-than-tech-comm-but-impact-to-tech-comm focus, an impressive roster of speakers, and unique opportunities to network with folks in all the areas that we like to cover. Another stroke of good fortune: TechWhirl will attend the sixth annual ICC event, co-produced by Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler and Ann Rockley of the Rockley Group. Its theme, “Breaking Down Barriers” particularly appeals to the gang here at TechWhirl, who like to jump into the deep end of the pool and swim with the content strategists, agile technical communicators, and enthusiastic customer experience managers. Best of all we got in under the wire, since the early bird discount ends next Friday, December 20.

So after you sign up for Intelligent Content, and buy the Kindle version of “Made to Stick,” you’ll have plenty of time to relax and catch up on all the delicious and satisfying content that appeared on TechWhirl this week. Keith Soltys reviews the new Kindle Paperwhite; Edward Smyda-Homa looks at the busiest time of the year for useless assistance; Rachel Houghton offers advice on finding a mentor;and we offer a new poll question on learning, and a wrap on Tech Writer This Week that includes the trending #FiveWordTechHorrors.

Look for us in San Jose on February 26-28…. We’ll be the ones with the swimmie fins and waterproof ipads…

Have a great weekend.

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl

 TechWhirl ChristmasSphere 300dpi

Tech Writer This Week for December 13 2013

Getting into the holiday spirit in this edition of Tech Writer This Week.


The Answer Lady: Finding the Right Mentor

The benefits of having a mentor, especially early in your career, are more than just getting career advice or having someone to talk to. A mentor is NOT your BFF, but a precious resource as you develop professionally.


Preferred Ways to Learn (poll)

During the course of their careers, many of our fellow professionals venture down the path to developing educational and training materials–calling it instructional design, curriculum development, elearning, mlearning, or some unique combination thereof. It may be stating the obvious, but getting into some phase of this arena of content and communication requires some understanding of the ways that people acquire knowledge–how do people learn?

 Tech Comm Whistleblower to write Useless Assistance column on techwhirl

Useless Assistance: Unwrapping Yuletide Frustration

The morning after Santa finishes that annual worldwide delivery, his toil is met with not only joy and laughter, but also sheer and utter frustration felt by those charged with assembling those holiday wishes-come-true. It should come as no surprise that Christmas Day is the 24-hour period when I observe the largest flurry of user assistance related Tweets.


Product Review: Kindle Paperwhite, 2nd Generation

I bought my first Kindle three years ago – a Kindle Keyboard 3G – and since then it’s become an indispensable part of my life. It’s had a lot of use, and it’s beginning to show. So, time to upgrade. But to what?

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