Why I blog

I’ve always enjoyed words, reading and writing. At school English was my favourite subject, with Physics a close second (if there had been a computing O Grade I would probably have taken that instead). My parents are both teachers and much of my inquisitive nature was fuelled by books; I still have, and treasure, a set of Readers Digest encyclopedias gifted to me by my late grandparents. My Dad was always interested in computers, so from the days of having a BBC Micro, and then an Apple Macintosh Plus in the house it’s no surprise that I got interested in those too. Put computers and words together and writing seems to be the obvious next step. From the initial wonder …

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Censored

Have you noticed anything different here? Maybe not, but those of you who have been reading for a while (thank you!) may have noticed that I’ve been managing to post here a couple of times a week recently. Don’t worry if you didn’t notice, there is no test at the end. I’ve been pushing myself to write to try and get my blogging mojo back, partly because I enjoy the process and the fact that it helps me keep in touch with what’s going on in our wider profession, and partly because there is a lot going on and I like to capture some of it. But I can’t capture it all. Looking back at this blog, there are some …

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On not blogging

A product release is imminent. A trip to visit two customers in the US of A. Ongoing complications with the new ISTC website (soon, soon!). Planning for 2012, including a major restructure of our content. Actual writing some documentation (a rare occurrence!). Plus all the usual things that life is wont to throw at us. Maybe look for me on Twitter instead?

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Blog on TwitbookPlus

Apparently, according to something I read online over the weekend (so it must be true, right?) blogging is fast evolving into a niche activity thanks to the uptake of such fancy-schmancy websites like Facebook, Twitter and maybe even the new Google+. Given that when blogging started it was a fairly niche activity, and given that I’ve been blogging since about then, it feels comforting to know that my hobby is returning to its roots. Of course, in the intervening 12 or so years a lot has changed and blogging won’t ever really be the same maybe this is what it needs. I wonder if this something that other such social media type websites might follow in the coming years. For …

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Technology vs Emotion

Random thought: Has the rise of (talk of) emotional content (affective assistance) been driven by the concentration, over the last few years, on technological solutions? Single sourcing, XML, DITA, DocBook, and all the rest have (rightly) taken our profession forward, so I guess it’s natural that the general trends, as well as refocussing on the content itself, are looking for how to better engage with a modern audience. The evidence suggests that that modern audience is Facebooking, Twittering, and blogging, and wants content in easily digestable chunks. That plays nicely into the hands of single sourcing (chunks) and the idea of emotional content through connecting to the user, using friendly language to make the content easily digestable. So, if you’ve …

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Alright me Babber

I was in Brizzle on Friday, I mean Bristol. It was a bit damp, but that didn’t matter as I was there for the wedding of a wonderful woman called Ann and a rather charming man called Karl. I had some time to myself during the day, and wandered round the harbour area, avoiding the drizzle as best I could. It’s a nice place, from what I saw of it, and the people are really friendly. I’m sure it’s even nicer in the sunshine! The wedding itself was one of the better weddings I’ve attended, not least for the company, many of whom were bloggers, more of whom were Twitterers (Twittees?), and all of whom were friendly, funny and most …

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How rude

There is one thing I haven’t done here for quite a while. It’s rather remiss of me so please accept my apologies. Quite simply, I wanted to say thank you. To you. Yes YOU. Thank you for visiting this blog, and more importantly, thank you for coming back and visiting again. A lot of the ideas I talk about here are made better by your comments, and I continue to find blogging to be a useful way to work through some of the thoughts and random ponderings that float around in my head. I tend, like many, to do most of my blog reading through RSS and I know that making the effort to comment on a blog is something …

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10 years

I’ve had a personal website for over 11 years, the earliest posts from that are in the archives here in a category titled B.B. (Before Blog). Each page was handcrafted and typically it would take twice as long to get the post online as it took the write it in the first place. Then, along came Blogger. A way to publish at the push of a button and, on this day 10 years ago, I did just that. Since then a lot has changed. Which seems very obvious to say but it’s only when you sit back and think on the events of the past 10 years that I realise how different I am to the person that wrote those …

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One more blog

This blogging thing seems to be catching on, so much so that my company will soon have a blog looking at industry specific issues and thoughts. And yes, I’m one of the bloggers. I’ll link to it once it’s up and running (we are testing it at the moment) and provide a bit more information as well. Feels a bit like I’m coming out of the blogging closet!

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Role of Social Media

A few months ago I was approached to write a piece that would be featured in a special supplement for the ISTC Communicator magazine. The supplement, sponsored by Adobe, was to be titled “The role of social media in technical communication” and after my presentation on blogging at the Technical Communications conference last year, I was asked to expand on my thoughts about blogging. There are three other articles in the supplement, all of which look at different ways we can leverage the advantages of social media within the realm of technical communications. Noz Urbina of Mekon opens with his vision of how we can use social media to help users get the most out of products and services, David …

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