TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for May 11, 2012

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

We’ve begun to wonder if there’s a causal, or merely coincidental link, between prepping for one of the technical communications field’s biggest conferences and the rise in discussions around job hunting and career issues.  We followed up last week’s poll with an article by Lauren Hart and Roger Renteria on the best conference SWAG and a new poll on movies set in Chicago, site of this year’s STC Summit.

In the meantime, the TechWhirl email discussion list kept busy with two threads related to careers: one started by the mysterious WondersofOne who asked about the Pay Gap Between Manager and Subordinates, and another by Kari Gulbrandsen on tech writing recruiters.  Both topics are interesting, full of good advice, and extremely active.  This then prompted us to dig through our files of classic TechWhirl content and publish a funny and still too true piece on Job Titles from Lisa Higgins.

We know that conferences remain one of the best ways to network there is, and the Summit typically includes a message board for posting openings and resumes. That’s in addition to attending a huge array of sessions, some awesome social gatherings, and coming to visit TechWhirl at the Exhibit hall between all the high-level networking and community building.

If you can’t make it to Chicago, have no fear, TechWhirl is still on the job, providing great new content on the magazine, access to the archives, news from all over, and our very own tech comm jobs board. We encourage you to be a part of the community by reading and commenting on the latest news and features, and following and posting in the TechWhirl email discussion list.

Have a terrific weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Technical Writing Humor: The Sidelines on Tech Writer Job TitlesIt’s probably got something to do with the fact that we’re generally an isolated lot. Almost by definition, we tech writer like people work in environments where we perform a secondary or even tertiary function. We’re a minority. We’re not the primary line of business. We’re a cost center. So we like to think that we belong, at least, to some sort of global professional community. We look for some kind of solidarity among ourselves–some sort of agreement as to who we are and what we do. And when someone comes along who disagrees or doesn’t fit into our perceived tech writer demographic, we call them hacks, wannabes, and newbies.
  Technical Writing Poll: Favorite Movies Set in ChicagoYes we admit it, this week’s poll has more to do with looking forward to the STC Summit than with technical writing issues or trends… but it’s tangentially related–honest. Movies are written, and there are some great ones set in that toddlin’ town of Chicago. They have audiences, and great technical writers are supposed to know theirs. Movies rely on personas, so does a lot of technical writing. Great movies obviously make good use of visuals to demonstrate how do something important, or relevant or geeky or cool… you get the idea.
  SWAG Bragging: The Best of Technical Communications ConferencesFreebies. Promotional Materials. Giveaways. Most people simply call it swag. Short for Stuff We All Get. Even the word SWAG is fun to say. A lot of us get cool trinkets when we attend technical communications conferences, and we thought we could “crowd source” this project as part of May’s TechWhirl theme. Thanks to those who participated via social media, and the technical communicators sent us pictures of their favorite conference goodies.


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We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their support.

Platinum: Adobe Systems Incorporated

Gold: ComponentOne Software, Madcap Software

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

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