TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 15, 2012

Subject: TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 15, 2012
From: TechWhirl Admin <admin -at- techwhirl -dot- com>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2012 11:42:22 -0400

*This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community
is supported by Platinum sponsor Adobe & RoboHelp 9 <> |*

I have begun to wonder recently if it’s time for folks in the technical
communications world to let go of a long and commonly held belief that
technical writers and subject matter experts (SMEs) are mutually exclusive
and always adversarial. I admit I often resort to jabs at this somewhat
nebulous group of people who often appear contrarian in a very Dilbert sort
of way. But I think it’s a stereotype that not only has outlived its
usefulness but also holds professionals back in pursuing an active role in
the top echelons of a business organization.

One of several recent threads on the email discussion
this for me. Kevin McLaughlin’s “The magic tool that everyone
can use without stepping on toes” is somewhat tangential to the question of
what makes a SME, but it did make me realize that as collaboration becomes
more of the corporate norm, and cloud tools actually make this easier, that
a totally separation between SME and technical communicator is a
counterproductive notion. During the course of my career I have become a
SME on a number of different areas (other than communications, mind you),
because of my role as the technical communicator on the project.

It’s a matter of debate as to whether becoming a SME as a result of the
projects you participate in is actually a good idea. Once you know the
product, how it functions, or how it’s supposed to be used, can you really
stand in the user’s shoes effectively? On the other hand, understanding
the role every stakeholder has in product development and delivery presents
strategic opportunities that should not be ignored.

If you consider expertise in technical communication practice to be a high
priority, then you should take some time to review the transcript of the
podcast TechWhirl did in November on the STC Certification
and if you know any of the first group of CPTC recipients, congratulate
them on a remarkable achievement. Then cruise on by to vote in this
week’s technical
communication poll on mastering critical thinking
all those skills can make or break a SME. And then have a good laugh over
Jacquie Samuels’ 7 E-Z Steps to Tech Comm Success…and Losing Your Job and
This could be another downside to becoming a SME that I hadn’t anticipated!

Please feel free to share your own experiences on the SME or not-to-be-SME
issue, or any other technical communication topic: drop us a note via a
comment on this post, or a direct email, or start a new thread on the email
discussion list <>.

Enjoy your weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl
In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

*New features and articles on <>**

- Tech Writer This Week for June 14, by Craig Cardimon |
- 7 E-Z Steps to Tech Comm Success… and Losing your Job and your Family,
by Jacquie Samuels |
- Technical Communication Poll: Mastering Critical Thinking Skills |
- The STC Certification Program: Revisiting the Debate |

*Tech Comm News on <>:*

- MadCap Software Announces MadWorld 2013 |
- RenderX Introduces CloudFormatting Services |
- De Anza College Technical Writing Program Closes Down|
- MindTouch Announces Integration With Help Desk to
Improve Customer Experience |
- GrapeCity Acquires ComponentOne, Maker of Doc-to-Help and Developer
Tools |
- Lexalytics Announces New Version of Salience Text Analytics Engine |
- IBM Enhances CLM (Collaborative Lifecycle Management) Solutions |

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:

- Our Google Plus Page – what’s happening behind the scenes |
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- 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

*Platinum*: Adobe Systems

*Gold: *ComponentOne Software <>,* *Madcap

*Silver*: Society for Technical Communication (STC)
<>, Vancouver
Island University <>

Online Magazine and Discussions for Today's Tech Writer

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