RE: What do you guys think of STC's new definition for technical writer?

Subject: RE: What do you guys think of STC's new definition for technical writer?
From: "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com>
To: "Evelyn Lee Barney" <evbarney -at- comcast -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 28 May 2008 08:11:44 -0400

Hi, Ev,

People have attention spans and memories comparable to gnats, if indeed
they are that long.

To pull a line from one of my favorite movies: "For it is the doom of
men that they forget." That is said by the character of Merlin in
"Excalibur" (1981) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082348/).

People don't read. They skim. They scan. Their eyes jump around just
long enough until they feel can make a decision and then they stop.

Sometimes they are lazy. More often they are pressed for time. This is
what we have to work with.

Our weapons are infinite patience and an empathy for the other guy.



Craig Cardimon
Technical Writer
Marketing Systems Group
ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Evelyn Lee Barney [mailto:evbarney -at- comcast -dot- net]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:47 PM
> To: Cardimon, Craig
> Cc: Bonnie Granat; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: What do you guys think of STC's new definition for
technical
> writer?
>
>
> New terminology takes time. When *I* say "technical writer" I get
loads
> of flack about the whole information design aspect, which is where my
> primary interest lies. People seem to think that all I do, or ever
plan
> to do, is "write understandable instructions on how to program a VCR"
> (And yes, that's what they say, though VCRs themselves are getting
less
> common) I think there are two choices: Educate people on the broad
> skills involved in technical writing, or educate people about a new,
> and, in my opinion, ultimately more accurate term.
>
> As for me and my house, option two seems more logical and achievable.
> It also says something about the future direction of the field.
>
> My feeling about this stems mostly from the fact that this is a second
> career for me, and I am in school on a disability grant. The people
who
> administer the grant are generous, but they also watch me like a hawk,
> which is fair enough. Still, I hate conversations that go like this
> (and I've had a number of them) :
>
> Grantguy: Your job plan says your goal is to be a technical writer.
>
> Me: Yes, that's right.
>
> Grantguy: Your transcript says you are taking art courses.
>
> Me; Yes, true.
>
> Grantguy: What does that have to do with technical writing?
>
> Me: Well, did you look at the names of the courses?
>
> Grantguy: No, just "art ###"
>
> Me: Okay, well, if you look you'll see that one is called Information
> Design, another Digital Imagery, and another Fundamentals of
Interactive
> Web Design. The others are similar.
>
> Grantguy:: Oh, so there isn't anything like Ceramics or Oil Painting?
>
> Me: Errrr - no.
>
> Grantguy: Well, okay then.
>
> The problem is that they forget. We have had this conversation a
number
> of times and will have this conversation again. More than that, the
> problem is that their definition (which comes from a ancient book
based
> on the US Occupational Outlook Guide) does discuss things like
> whitepapers, and not much else.
>
> Sometimes I want to bang my head against a rock.
>
> Ev
>
>
>

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References:
RE: What do you guys think of STC's new definition for technical writer?: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: What do you guys think of STC's new definition for technical writer?: From: Evelyn Lee Barney

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