Tag: <span>IRC</span>

The boom of the internet is better documented elsewhere but the one key and founding principles is the ability to converse with anyone, anywhere in the globe. From the early days of IRC and email, onto graphical websites and instant messaging through to the current swathe of, for want of a better phrase, Web 2.0 services.

Twitter, blogs, social bookmarking, and online communities are the current rage but, do they work?

I’m a member of several email lists, swapping emails with a large number of people on a range of topics. I spend a fair amount of time filtering out topics which don’t interest me, and over time I’ve come to recognise various people by name. However email, whilst great for sharing information, is a limited when it comes to building communities.

Understanding who you are conversing with and the additional interests they have helps build trust, helps build better conversations and helps build communities. Transferring that kind of interaction online means we can better leverage shared experiences and hopefully make it easier to find other people with the same, unique, slice of knowledge and interests.

It’s only now, pulling together all the available technologies that such online communities are possible.

And the good news is that we, as technical communicators (content professionals) now have such a community.

Scott Abel, aka the Content Wrangler, has launched the Content Wrangler Community website and, having signed up and started using it a little I have to say that it is well worth a look. There are already several hundred members (825 at present), and these early adopters have started forming focussed groups, all of which relate back to our profession. In the words of the website:

Network with peers. Find jobs. Share information. Start a blog. Upload and watch videos. Join a group. Begin a discussion. Learn about software. Find events. Ask for help. It’s all here. Become a member. It’s free!

It’s safe to say that “social networks” aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d strongly urge you to check it out. Despite only having been launched a couple of weeks ago, it’s already proving popular and, as the conversations start and people start to find clever ways of using the various features available then it’s only going to get better and better.

Visit the Content Wrangler Community website today, sign up and join in!


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I mentioned the SeaMonkey project last week. It’s a package from Mozilla which includes “a state-of-the-art web browser and powerful email client, as well as a WYSIWYG web page composer and a feature-rich IRC chat client”. Having downloaded it, installed it, and tried to break it for the last few days I can unreservedly state that you shouldn’t bother with it. Well, most of you shouldn’t bother with it, it may appeal to some.

The clue, that I missed, is right there on the Mozilla page. It states that:

“The SeaMonkey project is a community effort to deliver production-quality releases of code derived from the application formerly known as “Mozilla Application Suite”.

To a lot of people these days, Mozilla means Firefox. Back in the day (when Polos were only 7p a pack) Mozilla meant Netscape so imagine my horror, and the swift checking of my calendar when, lo and behold, the browser that opened was Netscape. Well, technically, it wasn’t but it sure looked that way.

There is nothing startlingly clever about any of the applications included in the package, this is both it’s downfall and it’s selling point. If you are web savvy I’d suggest you steer clear as you undoubtedly already have applications that meet your needs, I know I do and none of the applications on offer here better, or come close to bettering, what I already have.

If you are new to the web, then give it a go. It does exactly what it says on the tin and is a good way to get up to speed quickly, using a fairly stable, if somewhat pedestrian, set of products. Bear in mind, however, that for every application in the SeaMonkey package there is a better alternative, usually free as well.

SeaMonkey is a good idea, in theory, however I don’t know why it doesn’t use the “new” Mozilla products… maybe it will in the future. For now it’s either further ahead of its time than I can predict, or has already (possibly even in the time it’s taken you to read this post) lost some more ground to the sleeker standalone products offered by the other side of the Mozilla organisation.


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