Social Media: Embrace It or Suffer
First off, I didn’t really care for the Carliner article this week. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. I’m just getting a little tired of reading about the history of technical communication. Carliner took a little different approach with his article though, focusing the technology and how that technology shaped the field. I guess that was pretty interesting. Also, it was interesting to see how the technical communicator’s job changed as the technology changed. Now, our jobs are changing again. Web 2.0 technologies have made everyone an expert. Anyone can create content. At first, it seems as though technical communicators are being replaced with an endless supply of free labor that create content just because they like to. However, that is not the case. Technical communicators only need to adapt. We become content strategists, Communication Specialist, Social Media Curators, and so on.
I also found it interesting that the early word processing and desktop publishing tools required the use of tags, much like HTML. Eventually those complex systems became simpler WYSIWYGs. The same thing happened to web development tools. Early on, when creating website, you had to write the whole thing in HTML. But as tools advanced, you could build a website with drag-and-drop tools and WYSIWYGs. However, none of these tools work quite right for the web designer who cares about his/her code. Most drag-and-drop tools leave the code on the backend messy, which isn’t good. Messy code slows down load time. Also, messy code usually means the website will not pass accessible standards because screen readers have trouble reading the code.
I just thought I’d mention that above paragraph as an example of technology that makes technical communication easier, but isn’t quite there yet.