The Death of Tradition

Job titles are one thing, but what do you actually do? Are you a ‘traditional’ Technical Author or a modern technical communications professional? Is there a difference? I think there is, I think there is a distinction between the two although I’m not quite sure where that line is drawn and, as with most things in this multi-discipline profession of ours, the line is probably blurry and not all that straight. For me the line separates what I consider the old and the new, the line between traditional technical writing and the modern day technical communicator, and I think the distinction is largely around the approaches each type of professional take when it comes to managing content. I realise this may seem …

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Reflection

It seems like no time since I was looking forward to the summer. The holiday in Singapore was months away, Pedal for Scotland was a spot in the distance and ohhh yes I was gonna get so much done. In the past I think I’d now be sitting here saying “Christ, it’s almost November, what have I achieved?!” but these days things are different. Yes I could’ve done more but I’m more focussed on being happy than being productive (even though the two are inextricably linked), on getting the balance right between the stuff I want to do and the stuff I have to do, and generally I find myself calmer, more rational and more aware. The darker nights bring …

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Content Strategy is easy

Why are we still banging on about Content Strategy? Is it really that hard? A strategy shouldn’t be that tricky to formulate, especially as it’s concerning an area of expertise for many us, after all it’s only content, right? It’s not like it’s something new that none of us know anything about? So why is it so hard and why do we spend so much time talking about the whys and wherefores and, seemingly, so little time actually doing it? Content Strategy is an area of our profession I’ve taken an increasing interest in. As the value of information rises, making sure you have a sensible strategy that is concerned about getting the best content required, for the right person …

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What is your job title?

In the past I’ve held the following positions: Technical Administrator Technical Writer Documentation Specialist Technical Communications Manager Publications Team Leader The first three have similarities as they were all grounded in the production of technical documentation. The latter two are essentially the same thing, leading a team of technical writers producing technical information. None of the job titles I had limited me, by my thinking, in what I could and couldn’t do. My current job title, as confirmed on my new business cards which handily arrived just AFTER I’d been to TCUK12, is Product Information Manager. I didn’t choose this but, whilst talking through my role and responsibilities recently, I realised it’s pretty accurate. The team I’m part of does …

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The single customer view

I just found this sitting in my drafts folder. The company name has changed (we are now Kana Software) but the premise is the same. Interestingly, the parallels between our thoughts on customer service and the thoughts in tech comms of better integration within a support system (providing information as part of call deflection) are striking. I’m going to try and pull these together in a future post. I was asked to write an article for Credit Control Journal on behalf of the company I work for, and for the sake of historical archiving (and so I know I have it somewhere), here is that article.

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The Five Year Plan

It’s a common question during interviews, “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”. At that point some people will talk of how they want to have progressed in their career, have learned and expand their role, be able to look back with a sense of achievement and look forward in a clear direction. The smart people will simply say they don’t know, but that they know that their natural ambition and drive will have moved their careers forward. I was recently asked the reverse question by an interviewee, “Where do you see the team being in five years time?”. My response was honest. “I don’t know”. And I truly don’t. I know what we have in front of …

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One day I might learn

Like many people, I like to ponder self-improvement, how I will read more books, learn to play the guitar, exercise more and invest in myself more than I have. However it seems that deep down I’m actually not that bothered, that I must be happy enough with where I am in my life at the moment. I know this because I keep on booking events, planning nights out and trips, and leaving myself with little free time to do much of anything. OK, this is a bit of an excuse, I’m sure I COULD spend my free time NOT sitting on the sofa but rest is important too, right? This is a bit of theme with me, all of a …

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Finding Ada

This should be easy. I work in a software company, I’ve only ever worked in software companies so, in honour of Ada Lovelace Day (what do you mean, who?) I should be able to join in “sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today”, right? I work directly with many smart and inspiring women and, indirectly, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many more in my profession, but how many of them have inspired me? When I sat down to write this I did wonder if I would be able to think of any women to which I could assign this claim. But then it’s not …

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