TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for September 28, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor Adobe & their Technical Communication Suite 4 |

tech comm and cuppa JoeThe beginning of autumn in North America always seems to bring a flurry of activity, and it’s as true in technical communication as anywhere else. TechWhirl is bringing its month of Career Upgrade features and commentary to a reluctant close, and starting on what will be an extraordinarily busy October. Yehoshua Paul provided valuable perspective and guidance on Management and Leadership in Technical Writing, and the management track was the focus of this week’s technical communication poll. And we were delighted to have Mark Baker (Every Page Is Page One) join us again with another intriguing piece that is sure to jumpstart some lively discussion on The Paradox of Tech Comm.

If you’re wondering why October will be so frightfully busy, the calendar does provide some clues.  TechWhirl heads to Portland for the LavaCon Conference 2012, and not only are we preparing to deliver sessions on change management and building winning business cases, we’re delivering some sneak previews of several of the other great sessions scheduled for the conference by way of the TechWhirl Fast 5 Interviews. Check out the video chat with Stephen Ryden-Lloyd of Innodata, and a written chat with Ann Rockley on the future of technical communications and content strategy—just waiting for your consumption and commentary. And if you’re thinking international, it’s worth taking a look at our guide to the tcworld conference and tekom trade fair, which takes place in late October in Wiesbaden, Germany.

During October, TechWhirl is asking a fascinating philosophical question:  Is Tech Comm Art?  As if by magic, the email discussion list has taken up a thread that bears on the question, and TechWhirlers debate the need for exposure to journalism and poetry, among other things. We’ll take a look at some other aspects of creativity, art, science and craftsmanship this month.  And that leads very nicely into our second annual Tech Writer Halloween Horror Stories extravaganza. We’re pretty convinced at this point that everyone in technical communication has at least one horror story, true or nearly true, that needs telling. And you’re invited to participate—it’s a chance to show off your creative side (should you believe that you have one), and entertain your colleagues and fellow victims.

As always, there’s plenty of technical communication news to catch up on, and a slew of jobs appearing on our jobs site (along with a new entry in the Tech Comm Job Search Journal).  Enjoy.

Have a great weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Content Strategy in a Mobile World: TechWhirl Fast 5 with Ann Rockley

Ann Rockley took a little time from her busy schedule to participate in a written version of the TechWhirl Fast 5 Chat. She gives us a preview of her closing talk to attendees at the LavaCon Conference 2012, encouraging the technical communication and content strategy fields to develop strategies that can “future proof” content.

  Tech Writer This Week for September 27, 2012

Autumn brings a lovely harvest of thoughtful and entertaining commentary on technical communication, content strategy and user experience. Everything from the motivators writers and readers share, the role of narrative and design patterns to community content strategy and the importance of patience in technical writing.

 Is this your year for tcworld Conference and tekom trade fair_feature

tcworld Conference and tekom Trade Fair — Is this your year to go?

Is this your year to jump on a plane and join the fun in Wiesbaden this year’s tcworld Conference and tekom Trade Fair? It’s easier than you think to be part of the 4,000 attendee extravaganza in Wiesbaden, Germany. You’ll want to make certain the costs are manageable, the right travel papers, a place to say and enough room in the suite case for that stout you owe TechWhirl for convincing you, but why not head off the Europe for this fantastic event?

 technical communication poll Technical Communication Poll: Planning for a Management Role

Management gets such a bad rap from folks in technical communication (and pretty much any other field), it’s a wonder that any tech comm managers exist at all. This is probably due to the fact that management is hard, and leadership harder still. Yehoshua Paul provided an excellent perspective on technical communication leadership versus management this week, and it’s prompted us to ask the community about their plans to get into management.


The Mobile User Experience: TechWhirl Fast 5 Interview with Stephen Ryden-Lloyd

TechWhirl’s Fast 5 Interview with Stephen Ryden-Lloyd of Innodata provided an in-depth look at the factors that impact how companies are approaching their Mobile Communication Strategies. The wide-ranging chat touched on the apps available for the London Olympics, catalysts for the drive to mobile user experience, methodologies for defining and implementing mobile strategy, and a peek into the future.

 tech comm paradox The Paradox of Tech Comm

In a tech world obsessed with user experience, the role of technical communication seems paradoxical. Documentation is user-facing and users are dissatisfied. On the other hand, quality of documentation appears to have no impact on buying decisions. Why is there no evolutionary pressure in favor of great documentation?

 leadership in technical communication Management and Leadership in Technical Writing

At some point in your technical writing career, you may find yourself in a position where you are responsible not only for your own output, but also the output of other writers under you. In other words you’ve become a manager. Now you need to manage the output of others, and your focus is going to change to at least some degree.

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