bookmark_borderKnowing Better

I am annoyed.

I am annoyed mostly at myself, largely because I knew this was something that needed done but didn’t do it for the usual reasons that everyone uses to put off doing anything. Too busy, too tired, not enough time, etc etc.

It’s one of those things that won’t take half as long as I think, and I’ll feel good for having done it.

I have everything I need to do the job, I just haven’t gotten round to it yet, and someone has pointed out that it needs done and that has made me annoyed at myself for not doing it.

But then, does anyone enjoy varnishing their porch?

And no, unfortunately, that is not a euphemism.

bookmark_borderTwitter is useful

At the Technical Communications conference last year, I had a couple of discussions with people about Twitter. I was mostly trying to convince them of why I found it valuable, they were mostly of the opinion it was noise about what people had for lunch.

I’ve recently been reminded of the value Twitter can have, and again it’s thanks to a conference, specifically a conference I DIDN’T attend.

Like most people, budgets are limited when it comes to training and conferences, so there are limits to those I and the rest of my team can attend. The value gained from attending conferences is something we’ve proven in the past, but it doesn’t quite stretch to flying across the pond to conferences like WritersUA (yet).

Previously that would mean relying on, perhaps, someone writing up their thoughts and posting them to a mailing list, maybe the conference website would have some useful information, or maybe you’d happen to know someone who had attended and they’d share their findings with you.

Blogs came along and changed that, making it much easier for anyone to post their thoughts and for anyone to read them.

But the real value is starting to be realised through Twitter. The “back-channel” chatter is becoming a key part of technical conferences, allowing attendees to share their views in real-time (or very shortly after the fact) and those instant discussions and sharing of ideas gives a good indication of the mood of the attendees of the conference at the time. These can then be complimented by extended ‘thought-pieces’ on blogs and suchlike, whilst retaining a bit of the buzz of the conference in real-time.

There are downsides to this (a recent conference displayed the Twitter hashtag feed behind the presenter which was a bad idea) but they aren’t the fault of Twitter.

Beyond conferences, Twitter continues to be useful to me, largely through people sharing links to useful websites, resources and articles*, as well as the more direct interactions, Q&A style.

It’s a brave new world, this social media lark but it really is making a difference. Why not join in?

* I use a service called ReadTwit which monitors my Twitter account for any posted links, I can monitor this service via RSS so I never miss a link (warning, if you follow hundreds of people, you will be overwhelmed by the number of links!)

bookmark_borderStill here

Am packing, send boxes! and Jaffa Cakes!!

We are packing, splitting up fragments of our life into cardboard boxes. We are trying to do this whilst keeping the house looking tidy and clean for any potential viewers, so the boxes are stacked in the garage. Not ideal but it’ll do for now.

We’ve had one viewer, who will be back for another viewing soon hopefully, and two other hopefuls. So, once again, we’ll make the bed, tidy up as we go, and generally live in a house that is already starting to feel less and less like ours.

Which, given the circumstances, isn’t a bad thing. Easing our way into the future.

In other news, went to see Kick Ass at the cinema yesterday (it was something to do as we had to be out of the house anyway). What a brilliant movie! Well written, didn’t take itself too seriously and hey, what other movie has a small girl with kung fu moves, a predilection for knives and guns and who utters the line … ok, no spoilers, just drag over this gap if you wanna know what she says (contains swearies!) “Okay you cunts… Let’s see what you can do now! “.

As I said on Twitter “Just watched Kick Ass. Was it good? The clue is in the title of the movie. Irreverent fun at its best!“.

bookmark_borderSlides 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.

bookmark_borderOn Shopping

I’m a terrible shopper.

If I’m shopping for something I need I’m just the worst person, unable to make a decision because, well, what if there is a cheaper option in the next shop, or a better model for the same price, or maybe I won’t suit that colour?


If I’m shopping for something specific I tend to weigh up my options a million times, then a few times more just to make sure.

But when I’m shopping for anything, when I have no real need and I’m just enjoying browsing random shops, then I’m a wonderful shopper, I’m a positive spendaholic. I see all sorts of things that I like and would happily purchase them all if I had the money, and somewhere to put them.

I have no real fixed style so that could be very dangerous. I’m easily influenced by kitsch, and impractical items seem to draw me in and shout “YOU MUST HAVE ME”.

So how I managed to spend a wonderful few hours in Glasgow yesterday and only buy two things, both of which I needed (after a fashion) is beyond me.

And no, this isn’t another post analysing what goes in my head because I’m starting to let go of all that stuff. I think this will stand me in good stead when I get my own place. The art on the walls will be entirely down to me, so I will allow myself a moment or two to ponder such purchases and if I like it, even if I’m not sure where it would go, I’ll probably buy it.

This is the thing about having a quiet weekend. Shopping on Saturday morning was fab, and I got to spend all day today thinking about it all over again.

I do wish I’d bought that little pewter bird though..

bookmark_borderA 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