TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for May 25, 2012

This week’s update on technical communications and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor Adobe & RoboHelp 9 |

By now most STC Summit attendees are back at their desks ready to do battle with recalcitrant SMEs and unfocused management.  TechWhirl returns to the homesteads today, with a new sense energy, lots of ideas, and a greatly enhanced network of colleagues, peers and friends who make up a large part of the technical communication community.

We recognize that most TechWhirlers did not head to Chicagoland either by choice or necessity of budget limitations.  So we’ve collected posts and pictures of the three-day extravaganza as part of the Tech Writer This Week post.  At the same time, we continued with our regularly scheduled content including a great new article from Geoff Hart on Peer Review Strategies for Technical Writers, and the second part of Tony Chung’s series on Crowdsourcing.

Of course TechWhirlers started and continued plenty of threads on the email discussion list, so those that weren’t heads down in educational sessions at the STC didn’t get too lonely… or bored.

If you’re a US technical communicator, Happy Memorial Day and enjoy the long weekend. If you call somewhere else home, have a great weekend too!

-The gang at TechWhirl


  Tech Writer This Week for May 24, 2012: STC Summit Special EditionA special edition of TechWhirl’s Weekly Roundup of the best technical communication and technical writing posts on the web. This week we focus on the content and happenings from Chicago and the STC Summit. Educational sessions, Lightening Talks, photos and commentary that highlight the world of technical communication.
  Crowdsourcing: the Double-edged SwordMy interest in crowdsourcing began honestly: It was forced upon me by the powers that be. In my work as a Content Strategist for a large government website, our communications department asked me how they could harness the power of the crowd to give community planners insight into the interests of the constituents within specific neighborhoods. Ordinarily, the project itself would be a boring mix of user polling and statistics, of interest only to a relatively small group who knew about urban planning.
  Peer Review Strategies for Technical WritersWriters’ groups have existed for as long as there have been writers. Their goal, other than providing an excuse to gather with kindred spirits over coffee or beer, is to obtain expert critiques of your writing. By understanding the comments and learning to distinguish between valid and invalid criticisms, you learn to write better stories. I’ve participated in such groups, and members have ranged from supporters who actually cared about my aspirations as a writer to ruthless egotists who mostly wanted to prove how much better they were than me. Most technical writers have encountered this approach in the form of peer review, but peer review most often has a different focus: to replace a full-time editor rather than to teach writers to write better.


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