RE: What tech writers "do"

Subject: RE: What tech writers "do"
From: "Jim Shaeffer" <jims -at- spsi -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2006 09:04:12 -0500

We create and deliver information that empowers people to benefit from
the technology that they encounter.

Or, metaphorically, we metabolize information.

We eat things that had been alive (plants or animals), ingesting their
proteins. Their proteins are incompatible with our bodies.
So, our bodies break down the foreign proteins into their constituent
amino acids.
Then, our bodies combine the amino acids into new protein structures
that are appropriate for our bodies.

We technical communicators acquire information from sources that are not
appropriate for our audience.
We analyze it down into smaller units of information and/or simple data.

We then combine these constituent units into new information structures
that are appropriate for our audience.

Along the way we eliminate waste (useless information that we have
absorbed), introduce unintended errors (mutations) and suffer from
information overload and indigestion.

One of the strange things about applying this metaphor is that I have
not yet been able to stretch it to absurdity.

Jim Shaeffer


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