Re: Tech Writing for Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Subject: Re: Tech Writing for Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
From: Jay Maechtlen <techwriter -at- covad -dot- net>
To: Brian -dot- Henderson -at- mitchell1 -dot- com
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 2009 14:17:26 -0700

Brian -dot- Henderson -at- mitchell1 -dot- com wrote:
> I've only been half-following this thread, but it's taken me awhile to
> realize the company I work for has been using a form of social
> networking, for customer contributed "corrections" to our product. It's
> not like any of the forms discussed, but it definitely belongs on the
> list of networking types.
> A major part of my company, Mitchell 1 (formerly Mitchell Repair
> Information Co.), is the publishing (well, RE-publishing really) of
> automotive
> repair information. Nowadays, the main form of that publishing is
> through a integrated website containing hundreds of thousands of
> articles about most of the cars in the world, going back 30 years. A
> couple of years ago Mitchell instituted a sort of annotation feature
> where customers are encouraged to contribute "tips" about ways to
> improve various repair and diagnostic procedures. It's a great idea to
> tap the huge pool of mechanics who actually have their hands on the
> machinery. And we get a lot of good information this way.
> But keep in mind that this Tips systems is live, real-time annotation,
> by potentially thousands of customers. At the moment the input rate is
> well-moderated by the single person in charge of dealing with the
> system. It could easily get much busier. The truly interesting thing
> about this system is that what was supposed to be helpful suggestions
> from mechanics in the field, has morphed into something more akin to an
> online forum. Unfortunately, the particular structure of the annotation
> system does not lend itself particularly well to forum-type
> back-and-forth interaction.
> So...we are in the midst of trying to figure out whether we should
> re-design, to accommodate the way our customers actually want to use our
> product. Or should we try to "dissuade" them and enforce an
> "annotation-only" usage.
Since you have a way to keep the riffraff out, I'd vote for a forum. I
suppose a discussion thread might belong to a specific repair topic
(make/model/component/subsystem), but you'd want some way to associate a
thread with multiple such topics. A particular diagnostic might apply
across many vehicles, or not.
I'm not a subscriber, so I can't go ion and poke around.
(I like your Vintage Manuals CD, but can't justify $150 for it.
My current project car is a '61 Corvair + '87 Olds + misc other.
Certainly won't pay $150 for the Corvair content! Fortunately, learned
knowhow and a few Motors Manuals will do. - and the factory Olds manuals
from ebay)

Jay Maechtlen
626 444-5112 office
626 840-8875 cell


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RE: Tech Writing for Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.): From: Brian.Henderson

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