Tag: RJ

Slides and notes

Yesterday I gave a presentation on blogging as part of a series of eSeminars arranged by Adobe. The slides (shown above) can be downloaded from my slideshare account.

Also of note was the live Twitter stream that Dawn Gartin posted throughout my talk, it almost sounds like I know what I’m talking about, thanks Dawn!

Recording of my session is now available (featuring myself & RJ Jacquez)
Part one (with David Farbey & Noz Urbina) is also available.

I’ve also written up my presenter notes and made them available, just in case you can’t quite make out what I’m saying.

A Super-Role for Technical Communicators?

Are you bored of all this talk of social media? Still not quite sure what it’s all about or why you should bother with it? What IS an Information Platform anyway?

Maybe an eSeminar or two would help?

As I mentioned last month, Adobe sponsored a supplement for the ISTC Communicator magazine, in which four very handsome* and wonderfully talented** gentlemen put forth their ideas and thoughts on social media in various guises.

Caveat: I may be one of said gentlemen.

Since then, Adobe has setup two eSeminars to allow each of us to expand on our articles and hopefully get some more excitement and buzz about social media into the Technical Communications industry.

The first eSeminar took place on Tuesday this past week, and there will be a recording available soon (I’ll post the link here). David Farbey and Noz Urbina talk up a storm and offer some good advice on how and why social media offers a great opportunity for technical communicators, it’s well worth a listen.

The second eSeminar, featuring yours truly and the velvet tones of RJ Jacquez, is happening on Tuesday next week. I’ll be covering why you should consider blogging as a route to starting a conversation with your customers, and RJ will outline some thoughts on the possibilities that social media brings to our profession.

Exciting times, and I’ll add one more link to keep you all going. Yes I’ve mentioned it before but if you have queries on whether this social media thing is worth all this noise then this book will answer your questions, and stimulate your mind (and the author, Anne Gentle, is keynote speaker at this years UA Conference.

* may not be true

** is mostly true

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 Farbey suggests some of the ways social media can help solve some of the problems we all face as technical communicators, and RJ Jaquez of Adobe looks at how using social media can (and should) change the role of the technical communicator within a company by offering a direct way to connect to customers.

It’s a fascinating read and you can download the entire supplement here.

How I use Twitter

In his closing presentation at the recent Technical Communications Conference, RJ Jacquez outlined how he uses Twitter as a way to communicate with the users of his product, and as a way to share ideas with, and learn from, other technical communication professionals.

There were several people at TCUK09 that used Twitter throughout the conference, sharing quotes, thoughts and ideas about various presentations and I eded up having a few conversations about why I use Twitter so I thought I’d capture my thinking here.

I have two Twitter accounts, one for personal use and one for professional use. The personal account is used for keeping up with people I know in social terms, and most of the messages are chatty, with the occasional link or photo. I find it a good way to keep up with people but I don’t rely on it so if I don’t check it for a day or so then it’s not something I lose sleep about.

My professional account is used to share my thoughts about either my current work or on various aspects of our profession, responding to things posted by other people, or tracking through the myriad of useful links that people share.

And that to me is one of the key reasons for using Twitter. It’s a filter, a filter of trusted sources, that constantly points out things I wouldn’t have found myself and where I can have discussions with my peers about things that interest me.

Our profession covers such a wide area that keeping up with the latest trends and discussions on the fringes can be nigh on impossible. Twitter offers me a way to keep in touch, to be part of the conversation about these things, and whilst it can be seen to be frivolous, the value to be gained outweighs the downsides.

However, like most social networking or social media services, you get out what you put in and when it comes to Twitter, you really need to try it to find out if you can benefit for it.

You can follow me on Twitter.

Thoughts on TCUK09*

Having had a few days to process my thoughts about the Technical Communications Conference I can confidently say that it is the best professional conference I have ever attended.

I’ll post up specific notes tomorrow, but I wanted to touch on some of the themes that seemed to be driven out of most of the presentations I attended. Now at this point I should make a confession, it’s about the presentation I gave on the Thursday morning (the second day) of the conference.

My presentation had a theme, a single word that I was focussing on, so throughout the first day, in all the sessions I attended, I was listening out for that word. That word didn’t appear in one session, and I had to push to get the word out of another of the speakers (the last of the first day).

I claimed that word appeared in all of the sessions I attended, it didn’t. Now, as far as confessions go, it’s not exactly earth shattering news but it’s important to me that I let you all know because, as I said in my presentation, if you are blogging you need to be honest.

The word I was looking for throughout the first day was “conversation”, and I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it crop up in the later sessions of the second day and I admit I was quite pleased when the closing speaker, RJ Jacquez from Adobe both mentioned my presentation and had a similar view to mine.

As for the sessions I attended, I don’t think there was one where I didn’t learn anything, even though there were a couple where I was asked to facilitate when I probably would’ve ducked out to chat to some vendors. It’s good that the speakers, whether well versed in public speaking or complete amateurs (like me), seemed comfortable and relaxed and really engaged with their audience.

And that for me is a good way to sum up the entire conference. I shudder to think just how much hard work went into organising the conference but from the smaller touches (the goodies in the hotel room), to the softer, informal approach that Paul and Rachel embody so well, really made a difference.

Given that our profession is both broad and deep, it was great to have other aspects around the fringes covered as well (cognitive psychology anyone?). All in all I think there was something for everyone, and the benefits of being exposed to other niche areas really made the conference worthwhile.

If you are in the UK next year, if you work in a profession either directly related to, or relatively related to, technical communications then I’d urge you to consider coming along next year. For me the best thing I’ll take away from the conference is the continuing conversation that is happening about our profession.

* #tcuk09 was the hashtag for the conference