TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 22, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor Madcap & their Ultimate Communications Suite, MadPak |

Entrepreneurs like your friendly managers of TechWhirl don’t often get to enjoy the luxury of vacations (“Holidays” for the many non-US whirlers out there), so we find ourselves envying those that heading for beaches or mountains or various exotic climes, and hope that you seriously get a chance to disconnect and recharge.

Several of our SWU writers are off for their holidays, or are planning them in the next few weeks, and they’ve apologized for being out-of-pocket while on vacation!  No need to apologize from where we sit.  Vacation is there for a reason, and we want people to take them and enjoy them.

It seems that ability to get away from the work is getting harder and harder for many workers, at least in the US.  We know of plenty of folks who have to answer emails, take conference calls, and do various sorts of work-related activities that are not remotely related to relaxation.  Seems pretty counter-productive to us, since professionals in technical communication, like most other businesses, need the opportunities to de-stress and come back with fresh perspectives and new enthusiasm for the tasks ahead.

Of course there’s not a thing wrong with catching up on your professional reading, so if you’re looking for a good laugh check out Lisa Higgins’ classic humor piece on Marketing Writing: Not Just Cheesy Ads Full of Lies and Starbursts.  And if you really must interact while on vacation, vote in this week’s poll on what technical communicators are really expected to deliver.  If you’re not on vacation, then no excuses–you really need to vote and comment.  Either way, the discussion around what kind of technical communication content we want to deliver versus what we’re allowed to deliver is one that impacts us all.

So drop us a note via a comment on this post, or a direct email, or start a new thread on the email discussion list. And if you’re already on vacation, have one of those cool drinks with an umbrella in our honor.

Enjoy your weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Tech Writer This Week for June 21, 2012Celebrate the first full day of summer with Tech Writer This Week and great commentary from Daniel Archer, Gurpreet Singh, Ivan Walsh, and Sarah Maddox on technical communications, along with content strategy and user experience posts from Amanda Cross, Tech Republic and UX Magazine.
  Technical Communication Poll: Reality Check on Technical Content DeliveryGreat technical communication professionals want to stay ahead of, and take advantage of, the latest technology, best practices and bleeding edge approaches. It’s why we attend conferences, register for webinars, and go through tutorials. And we know how important emerging technology and techniques are for keeping your organization out in front of the competition (not mention honing your skills sets). However, the speed with which we would like to adopt the latest and greatest in technical communication is often far greater than our employers willingness to invest in the training and implementation required. This led us to wonder how many technical communicators are still delivering technical content in the “tried and true” fashion that’s been the norm for the last decade or so.
  Technical Writing Humor: From the Sidelines on Marketing WritingMy name is Lisa, and I am a marketing writer. I write direct mail campaigns, Web copy, ad copy, “advertorials” and “edutorials,” press releases, brochures, and whatever else comes along. I worked as a technical writer for over ten years, and I did well at it. I was a good technical writer, and I still am. It’s just that I got bored. I was sick of working on projects that never seemed to end; I was sick of waiting for busy and sometimes snotty engineers to answer my questions about products that did not yet exist; I was sick of writing what seemed sometimes to be the same thing over and over and over again; and I was really sick of having to “prove” myself to every person I came in contact with at work.

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