Technical Communicators, Prepare for the Future(!)
Posted by srherbert
After several weeks of assigned readings, I think it is safe to say that technology changes and social media will continue to play an important role in pop culture, work life, and politics. The internet and social media are here to stay and will continue to affect our lives, but, just like Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, I don’t think anyone knows exactly what impact they will have in the long run. Although, how will technology changes and social media affect technical communicators, exactly?
- Digital and print texts. Due to increased digital literacy, technical communicators will continue to create texts designed especially for the internet. Technical communicators must be able to design texts for print and hypertexts as long as the internet continues growing in use and accessibility. In the future, technical communicators must master skills such as web design, in order to create effective documentation for users.
- Different product, same user manual. Technical communicators will need to be able to adapt their writings because “products being documented often differ from those that are mass produced” (Dicks, p. 58). With the ability to custom order products to fit the customer’s lifestyle and needs, technical communicators must be willing to adapt the way in which they create user manuals or make them universal without being too vague.
- Does this job come with benefits? Many technical communicators will be “officially unemployed but constantly working. (p. 59). Due to the changing needs of companies, technical communicators’ jobs will be contracted positions in the future. To save money and office space, technical communicators will frequently work from home in the future, and employers will hire them on a temporary basis for special projects so that the company can avoid paying for an employee’s insurance and benefits. Working from home can be a big benefit for employees. According to a USA Today article, employees who work from home tend to be more productive and have a better work and life balance.
- Social media. I knew social media would be important for technical communicators after several of the assigned readings dealt with this topic, but I was still unsure of why so I needed to do some research. Technical communicators will need to continue to embrace social media. An article on InformationWeek explains that social media tears down the wall between the technical communicator and the user. Furthermore, social media will encourage technical communicators to spend less time actually writing and more time curating the best wikis and videos to promote to users. This change will somewhat devalue the role of the technical communicator, but will promote the role of community.
I hope these “tips” help you – I know that I will keep them in mind as I start looking for technical communicator positions!
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