Skillset Networking and Value-By-Association

Subject: Skillset Networking and Value-By-Association
From: SIANNON -at- VISUS -dot- JNJ -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 16:3:7

In another, somewhat inflammatory thread, Andrew Plato caught my attention
with an ironic statement illustrating a question I think is worthwhile for
discussion (if we can dodge a couple dead horses that may be along the
way): namely, the value that may be added by selective association with
professional forums. Note the "selective" (it's how I hope to keep a couple
dead horses from killing the topic).

What caught my attention was Andrew criticizing an individual's
unwillingness to participate in the "legitimate", or mainstream
professional forums for the field in which he works (in that case, computer
security); at the same time, (correct me if I'm confusing you with someone
else here, Andrew) past postings have shown he is personally offended by
the STC, and the idea that one's worth as a tech writer might be judged by
whether one is associated with the STC or specific philosophies it

I found this ironic because it's two faces of the same concept:
value-by-association. Now, other topics have touched upon augmenting one's
portfolio with publications in related fields (medical or trade
publications, for example). Several articles by IEEE have been cited in
response to specific skillset or technology questions, and I believe
someone suggested contacting IEEE for networking purposes (long ago, I
forget which thread).

Besides the STC (since discussion of it in this context has been beaten to
death many times before), what associations or types of associations have
you (or others you know) found professionally constructive, and for what
reasons? How do you use them? Have you found them offering more content or
name-dropping? Do you have anecdotes illustrating a time when such an
association was useful?

Examples of some association types that spring to my mind: Field-specific
associations (e.g., IEEE), mailing lists and online forums (like this one,
or StickyMinds, or Woody's Watch, or IBMdeveloperWorks...), annual
conferences (e.g., DefCon), certifications (e.g., MVP programs, etc.),
contracting agencies (some of which have networking schmooze parties and
happy hours), etc. (ok, my mind has stalled...I know there are more...)

What do you think?
Shauna Iannone
...Random Technophile...

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