Have you thanked your technical writer today?

The Mojo of technical communication and writing as mused by Dr. Lu Kondor

Monday, October 29, 2012

Flowchart Symbols Defined - site

I like this site and visit it from time to time. Mr. Web provides a brief overview of some of the symbols. Although I haven't used the particular product advertised, I thought it was very nice for Mr. Hebb to provide a valuable service, especially to those who are getting started creating flowcharts and student who want to learn more.

Flowchart Symbols Defined
By Nicholas Hebb

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Favorite Quote of the Day from Strunk & White

 "Colloquialisms. If you use colloquialisms or slang word or phrase, simply use it; do not draw attention to it by enclosing it in quotation marks. To do so is to put on airs, as though you were inviting the reader to join you in a select society of those who know better."  (p. 34, Strunk & White, 4th edition, 2000)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Social Networking and Technical Communication

Take a note of advice from other forms of writing

Creative writing authors use social networking to communicate with their audience and other writers keeping people informed as to their accomplishments and build an online reputation and presence. People in other businesses like the entertainment industry also use social networking as part of their regimen to a healthy career. You can:

·        Provide an overview of your skills
·        Contact other technical communicators forming a support group
·        Promote others’ work as well as yourself – this shows you are well connected, people know and trust you, and you have skills you have been using for some time.
·        Carefully selected samples – although once on the web it lives on forever so be very careful
·        Learn quickly about job opportunities


Don’t be a Tech Grinch! You work in a technical world so use it.
  • Having a web presence gets you to get better with web-based technologies, show you have that skill to a potential employer, and open up potential job opportunities.
  • You can carefully craft how people see you online
  • Find like-minded people for support, to answer questions (we like doing that, right? It really is part of our job) and just plain learn new things
  • Increasing communication skills that are applicable to everything from speaking with subject matter experts (SMEs) to team members.
  • Identifying resources for everything from software discounts to learning opportunities
  • Let everyone know about your achievements and celebrate with others
  • Highlight your writing specialties: Science writing, white papers, physics, software, usability etc.


  • Exposing yourself to any negative commentary – if you have a blog moderate any comments - there are always critics
  • Spam – so be careful putting out an email address a web bot can scan
  • Posting any questionable materials can risk upsetting a client or employer
  • Sounding too much like you are pitching for a job all the time – you need to try and enjoy those you communicate with
  • Misunderstandings

Pick your format

There are so many forms of social networking. Choose ones that fits you the best. Some of the forms include:
  • Societies – meetings, email lists etc. What societies should you join?
  • Online networking
    • Twitter
    • Linkedin
    • Facebook
    • Blogs (like blogspot – free space)
    • Pininterest
    • Vimeo (video)
    • YouTube
    • Podcasting
    • Direct emailing – free services like mailchimp
    • Live Talks/Lectures/Seminars

There are so many formats of social networking that the list above names only a few. You need to read and explore for yourself.

Marketing Plan

Develop a marketing plan. The same way you keep your resume updated if you freelance you need to think about what you will do and will not do or show with social networking. Since many technical writing jobs are freelance, you want to make sure you get out there and people know who you are and what you are capable of doing for your client. Try thinking about:
  • Your overall goals and scope of your social networking
  • What you like to talk about professionally?
  • How you want to present yourself?
  • Whom you want to talk to?
  • Manage your career more effectively through presentation of information
  • How will you handle critics should they pop up (aka cyber-hate)?
  • Use a professional way to name yourself as a user online – odd names used online turn people off especially for email. This will stick with you so think carefully about it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Culver City CA STC Luncheon

When: Thursday, October 18, 12 noon - 1:30 pm

Where: LUNCH, 3829 Main Street, Culver City, CA 90232; Telephone: 310-837-6200

Directions: LUNCH is on Main Street, between Venice and Culver Boulevards.

Parking: Free parking in nearby public garages. The lot behind the Bank of America on Culver is very close.