RE: The Big Lie

Subject: RE: The Big Lie
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 12:05:02 -0700

While Andrew points to the big lie on one hand; he points to a quiet, almost
accidental, conspiracy on the other.

IMHO, STC is not organized enough for either. Tech writing covers such a
large group of people that subject matter courses/topics/etc. are actually
niche topics.

Even programming.

When I lived in Des Moines, Iowa, the majority of writers were in banking,
insurance, or agriculture; not software. I am sure this is not terribly
unusual. I spent a summer at Pioneer seed company. I knew software, but
little about seed genetics. I documented a handheld computer/program that
allowed a farmer to walk his/her crops and input information about the crops
and then transfer to a PC and upload to Pioneer via modem. I did a passable
job. I would have done better had I been a SME in seed genetics, but ...
Pioneer had 10 or 12 writers at the HQ at that time. None were SME's that I
could tell. I did another gig at TeamQuest (Unisys spin-off) documenting a
mainframe system load modeler. I was more familiar with modeling that
genetics, but I certainly was no mainframe expert.

Having subject matter topics at seminars is not productive from STC's
standpoint. However, if a group within STC gets together and has subject
matter seminars, STC supports it. STC (like many natl orgs) is what you
make of it. The journals are OK, but mainly testimonials (what I did and
how) and book reviews. If you want meat, you need to either go to your own
SME organization (IEEE, etc.) or find research published in academic
journals (only a few publish real research).

Having said all that...

I am not a great fan of STC other than as a networking tool. This is also
true of Techwr-l. In both cases, I do not look for SME topics in my field.
I read industry specs for that. I research my own industry.

I believe in being an SME to enhance your position in a niche market.

If you are not in a niche market, then you have to do a lot of things well
and be able to learn on your feet fast and market yourself. I think most
contractors fall into this area. There is no sin here. Its just a
different market.


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Re: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?'): From: Andrew Plato

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