Being Social

I’ve written about social media before, and given presentations on Blogging and the wider use of social media as part of our professional toolbox. But that was mostly with a view to how these new technologies could be used to provide a better service to our customers. So what does social media mean to me, as a professional? Personally, away from Technical Communications, I’ve been involved and actively using various forms of social media for over a decade. It’s very much something I take for granted and expect to be able to communicate with people in a variety of ways. However, because I’ve been using this stuff for so long, I tend to fall prey to the curse of knowledge …

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See you in September?

Are you in the UK? Are you attending the Technical Communication conference in September? If not, you really should, it’s looking like it will be an excellent conference. The conference website is starting to gear up as well, and has posted some short interviews with some of the speakers, including yours truly. They should give you a flavour of what to expect at the sessions, many of which I’m hoping to be able to attend as well. I’d imagine planning the sessions is one of the harder jobs when organising a conference, making sure there isn’t too much overlap and the programme this year seems to have a good balance. Certainly I think there is only one overlap with a …

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Writing techniques

How do you get started? Faced with that pristine new document, all that whitespace, what do you generally do to start writing that document? Like most companies, we have a number of people who create content in a number of different styles and formats. The main producers are, of course, the technical writing team, but after that there is still a fair number of documents which fall into the “creative writing” bag including whitepapers, proposals, product sheets and so on. The people involved in writing these documents are, for the most part, promoted internally and have had no formal training in how to write. I was chatting with one of them recently and he said that the biggest issue he …

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About blogging

If you were attending a conference, and specifically attending one of the sessions that was going to be covering “blogging”, what questions would you want answered? No, I’m not being completely lazy, I already have a good outline of what I want to cover (why, what and how) but it’s always good to get some “pre-emptive feedback” as a colleague of mine once stated. On the flip side, those of you who already blog, any pearls of wisdom? Any information you wished you’d known before you started? I’ll be publishing my presentation at the same time as I take to the stage at the Technical Communication conference in September and will update it based on any questions or comments raised …

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Technical Communication UK Conference

Technical Communication UK 22nd-24th September 2009 http://www.technicalcommunicationuk.com Technical Communication UK is the new annual conference that aims to meet the needs of technical communicators, their managers and clients, from every corner of the industry. The conference is hosted by the ISTC, and run in partnership with X-pubs. Technical Communication UK runs on 23rd and 24th September 2009, with pre-conference workshops on 22nd September. It will deliver more than 30 sessions over the three days, with presentations, workshops, case studies, and hands-on product demonstrations from experts in their field. Let me know if you are coming along, as I’d hate to be sitting in the bar on my own on the Wednesday evening!

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Move over Adobe

As we are in the midst of rethinking our publishing processes, I’ve been looking at the current crop of tools, and (for our needs) three of them stand out over their competitors. Adobe, AuthorIT and MadCap seem to be heading for a battle royale, with the latter two the David to Adobe’s Goliath. But who will win? Before yesterday I wouldn’t really have put MadCap in that battle but it’s been a busy time for MadCap, who (yesterday): ..unveiled its roadmap for the first complete, native XML software family designed to solve all of a company‚Äôs documentation and authoring demands. The MadCap family will include five new products: MadCap Blaze, MadCap Press, MadCap Team Server, MadCap X-Edit, and MadCap X-Edit …

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