RE: What is our art?

Subject: RE: What is our art?
From: "Wilcox, Rose (ZB5646)" <Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- pinnaclewest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 10:25:21 -0700


I've never come across a coverall description and have used several over
the years. It's a case of 'know your audience' - if it's casual chat at
a party then 'translate technical information into simple English' will
suffice; if I'm talking to a prospective employer then the definition
would be tailored to the job I was applying for etc.

I would have to agree with that, Damien. Many of the descriptions I have
read are very clever, but they are written mainly for those who write for
software producing companies. Most of my jobs are in-house MIS jobs. There
is some software documentation, but a lot of other types of jobs too. Yet
my value as a technical writer is noticeable to the managers I work for.
However, all of my managers have the same difficulty as I have at putting my
efforts into words. That's why my sig includes the title "Communications
Specialist" ... because that's what makes my Project Office boss most happy.
Personally I dig on the term "Technical Writer" even though it is so widely
misunderstood. If a term came along that really did the job, I'd ditch the
title "Tech Writer" quickly, although not without sentiment. However, none
of the many other terms bandied about really communicate what I do any
better. It is ironic that a job function so focused on communication should
suffer so deeply from an inability to communicate about itself.... whether
by title or metaphor!
Again, I agree with Damien's assessment that the title and metaphor must
meet the audience needs, rather than ours.

Rosie A. Wilcox
Project Office / Power Trading
Communication Specialist / Technical Writer
Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- PinnacleWest -dot- com

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