TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for February 3, 2012

Subject: TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for February 3, 2012
From: INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2012 12:20:05 -0500

This week’s technical communications update is supported by Gold
sponsor ComponentOne
& their Doc-To-Help Help Authoring Tool <> |
>From the Desk of the Editor

Six more weeks of winter (as predicted by various groundhogs across the
United States) gives us plenty of time to delve into our topic of “More
than 1000 words-techniques for visual communications.” We plan to take a
look at creating interactivity with images and get an introduction to 3D
graphics, but as I pointed out yesterday in my call for
the topic of visuals in technical writing gives us so much territory to
cover. Many Whirlers have vast experience in designing and producing visual
content, and we’re asking for your ideas and contributions to provide
useful and relevant information to your technical communications colleagues.

However, six more weeks of winter can’t change the fact that today is the
last day of our Meet us in Memphis
writers contest. You still have about 12 hours to follow WritersUA
(@WritersUA) and TechWhirl (@TechWriterToday) and tweet why you are the
best choice to join us at WritersUA Conference for Software User
Assistance<>on March
11-14. Free conference registration, the chance to attend great
seminars in tools and technologies, emerging skills, and content strategy,
and hang with TechWhirl in the land of blues, barbecue and bourbon… in
exchange for covering the conference as a journalist/blogger. Time to get
tweeting—you have until midnight.

To stretch this groundhog analogy past the breaking point, it appears that
many technical writing and technical communications professionals are
emerging from their burrows all around the Internet. They’re taking part
in discussions (January 2012 was literally twice as busy as January 2011 on
the email discussion list and our best January since 2007), comment on our
technical writing and technical communications articles and Tech
in the magazine, and search the Tech
Writer List archives <> for kernels of useful

It’s not just us, the amount of great thinking and ideas from writers,
bloggers, Tweeters (is this a word?) around the Internet that we get to
review for our weekly online roundup, Tech Writer This
keeps getting bigger and bigger. Before we forget, thank you, thank you,
thank you to the great duct tape writer, Craig
Cardimon<>for his diligent
reviews and recommendations on this weekly piece.

We are thrilled to see this enthusiasm and conversation build in the
technical writing community, and are absolutely ecstatic to be a part of
it. Please let us know what we can do to ensure your involvement in
TechWhirl and the broader technical communications world is as satisfying
and enlightening as you want it to be… that’s what we’re here for.

Have a great weekend!

- The gang at TechWhirl

In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

*New on <>**:*

- Integrated Technical Communications & the Content Revolution: An
Interview with Joe Gollner, by Connie Giordano |
- Editor’s Notebook: Do You Have 1000 Words on Technical Writing &
Visual Communications? |
- Create Technical Writing Consistency While You Write—Or Add it Later,
by Geoff Hart |
- Collaborative Work Management Tools: A MindManager Road Test, by Al
Martine |
- New Look at Grammar Basics for Technical Writing, by Fraser Hannah |
- TechWhirl Poll: What Kinds of Visuals Do You Include in Technical

*Tech Comm News: *

- Tech Writer This Week for February 2, 2012 |
- Technical Communication UK Conference (TCUK) heads North |
- OASIS Launches WEMI Standards Initiative|
- KnowledgeVision Offers KVStudio 4.1|

Technical Communications: What You’re Talking About

A quick *shout out* to our Technical Writers and their discussions in our email
discussion group <>:

- Debbie of NuVision had “Another Punctuation Question” concerning the
use quotation marks and named buttons in documentation. Punctuation
questions are like word usage questions in the volume of responses that
they elicit. Use of punctuation with quotation marks varies between UK
English and US English to even further muddy the waters. One poster
recommended putting brackets around button names to avoid the issue
altogether—seems like a sensible alternative.
- Nancy Allison worried that “Linked-In: Your Skills' Desirability Is
Cratering Year Over Year,” after getting an email encouraging her to add
skills to her profile. The LinkedIn Skills feature is still officially in
Beta, and a lot of confusion surrounds what the year-over-year percentage
indicator actually means (currently showing -4% for Technical Writing). And
that really got Whirlers talking about the profession in terms of growth.
That morphed into a discussion about “Tech Comm Trends,” which referenced
the popular and worth-listening-to webinar delivered by Char James-Tanny
and Sarah O’Keefe<>
- Kevin McLaughlin had one of those word usage questions when he asked
the list whether one of two possible sentence constructions was
“WRONG-ish.” Whirlers seem to agree that “we recommend” does not convey
the tone required for a caution or warning, and suggest that Kevin use the
imperative, with some indication of the consequences to the reader of not
doing what they’re told.

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:

- Our Google Plus Page – what’s happening behind the scenes |
- Will you be our Friend? Please, you know you want to click |
- Want all this TechWhirl goodness a few characters @ a time |
- Updates from TechWhirl delivered to your email in box |
- Or, try our RSS feed (great on Flipboard) |


We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their
support. .

*Platinum A*: Adobe Systems

*Platinum B: *ComponentOne
Madcap Software<>

*Gold*: Society for Technical Communication (STC) <>, EC
Software <>, Vancouver Island

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