Author Archives: lihill630

My Final Blog Post – What I learned

The topic I choose for my final paper related to Objectives 1, 2 and 5. In this paper I examined the aspects of selecting, creating, and maintaining a Knowledge Management System. This relates to the course objectives 1, 2 and 5 in the following ways:

Objective 1 relates to the way new digital technologies affect writing, specifically technical and professional communication. Most writing being completed in the Knowledge Management System will be technical writing. It will be related to how to perform certain tasks and how specific pieces of functionality work.

Objective 2 relates to the way digital technologies will change the technical writing workplace. With the implementation of a new Knowledge Management System, this changes the way we write based on the types of text the new system can handle.

Objective 5 relates to the consequences of these new technologies for writing, managing and distributing information/knowledge to online audiences.  My experience with Knowledge Managements systems is that each has a customer facing option. We create content on our side and then it is available for our customers to use when and where they have the time.

Knowledge Management Systems are an important piece of a software knowledge transfer. A knowledge management systems allows software development/support staff to create content for dissemination to the internal customers and/or customer base. This report provides an overview of things to consider when looking at selecting, creating and maintaining a knowledge management system. Also included is a compare/contrast of Sansio’s current Knowledge Management System to Parature, the lead in what is being selected to replace it.

As could be seen throughout my blog posting, I had a hard time with this class. It took a while for me to get the AHA Moment that really connected it all for me. I think part of my issue was I was looking at this as a Social Media class and the more I thought about it, the more I knew Social Media was not going to be used in my job. It took a while for me to break out of the Social Media and think about it as Digital Communication, which includes a lot of what I do in my job.

I ended up really enjoying this class and can’t wait to find a way to apply what I learned to my job.

Privacy and the internet

Privacy in healthcare is very important. This is something that I have some experience with. This kind of privacy is a bit different than the kind discussed in the reading this week. This Health Care Privacy is more about preventing access to data that exists. Not allowing people who don’t need to access a specific patient, access to that patient. This relates to the reading this week in that privacy is really about what you want to show the outside world. I liked the description of the 3 types of privacy; Expressive, Informational, and Accessibility.

  • Expressive Privacy – The ability to choose what I say and do.
  • Informational Privacy – The ability to choose what information I share with others.
  • Accessibility Privacy – The ability to choose how (physically) close I get to others.

In addition to the three types of privacy described above there are also two forms of privacy; actual and perceived.

  • Actual Privacy – When people are around, my actual privacy is limited.
  • Perceived Privacy – When my family is around, my perceived privacy is high. I trust them to not divulge my personal information, to maintain my privacy.

There are a number of ways that people can protect their privacy online. Depending on the site you are using, for example eBay, you can turn yourself into a pseudonym. You can clear web history, deny cookies and other things. The image below is from a Pew Internet Privacy that was done that describes how much people understand about internet privacy.


Social Media sites also have specific settings in regards to privacy. According to Consumer Watchdog, Facebook and their ads track you even when you are not currently logged into Facebook.


After Privacy, comes trust. Once you look at the privacy settings of your web browser and or website you are looking at, you have to decide if you trust the web site you are visiting.


This image visibly describes what goes into a decision by a consumer to purchase from a specific site.  “A consumer’s intention to purchase products from Internet shopping malls is contingent on a consumer’s trust. Consumers are less likely to patronize stores that fail to create a sense of trustworthiness and an easily usable context. In the meantime, trust would also be influenced by e-commerce knowledge, perceived reputation, perceived risk, and perceived ease of use, all of which are set as independent variables in the model. Hence trust serves as a mediating variable while purchasing intention is a dependent variable.” (JISTEM, 2007)

I know that I have done research on products and found website that were offering them for less than Amazon or some other known online retailer. I do research not only on the product they are offering, but also the website before I decide to trust the retailer and purchase from their website.

What do you know about protecting your privacy on the internet, specifically the use of websites privacy policies? Does anyone read these before signing up for a new website?

Who is my audience?

Technical Writing is what I like to do. Many people do not understand what I do, but I found this really neat image describing it.

technical writer2

What does this image have to do with this weeks reading? Not much I just wanted to show this neat graphic.

This week the topic was audience. Who is our audience and how to we make sure that we are writing to this audience. I started my job at Sansio in 2002. In 2004 I started working in our Solution Center (Call Center), by 2005 I was working with the in house trainer and maintaining the training powerpoint. Throughout my use of the powerpoint and through my stint as Implementation Coordinator, this one powerpoint turned into 3 with an average of 300 slides a piece.In addition, the training manager had me create checklists to support the learning. The maintenance of these materials was very time consuming, but still was not the main portion of my job. When I was promoted to QA Specialist in 2007 training was changed to be online training and the Business Analysts who took over training no longer used the PowerPoint. At that time I no longer did technical writing. It wasn’t until I took my Technical Writing Practiuum in 2010 that I started writing. My supervisor found that I was good at it and I have been creating/updating User Guide Pages, creating Release Notes and updating other user materials.


Its always important to understand our audience. I have special knowledge of our audience because of my experience with our Solution Center and as Implementation Coordinator. I spent years talking to customers during and after their initial training of HomeSolutions. The image below gives a nice description of what I should be thinking about what I start my writing.


Analysis – HomeSolutions Users

Understanding – When I write, I assume the person has a basic knowledge of HomeSolutions and the terms that we use.

Demographics – Most HomeSolutions users are women around 40 and most do not have a formal degree. There is the occasional user who is a nurse with an advanced degree.

Interest – They are reading the document because they want to know how to use a specific piece of the product.

Environment – The document will be viewed in the users office, most likely online within the application.

Needs – They need to know how to use a piece of the application

Customization – Needs may be to provide an overall description of the page/features that they will be accessing.

Expectations – The ability to use the piece/feature in the future without having to reference the educational resource again.

When it comes to the other product I write for, RevNet, I take a little different approach. The RevNet product is new to everyone. The product has only been around for a little over a year, so everyone who uses this product is brand new. I spend more time on this product line documenting definitions of words and places within the application.

I sometimes worry that I am not writing to the exact needs of the audience. We do not get a lot of feedback on our writing, even by internal customers, and I have not been able to find the time to make sure I get usability testing done to make sure. One thing that would probably help would be creating a persona. A Persona is a very detailed description, including name, age and picture, of a person who will be using the resource being created. In Spilka’s book, Chapter 8 Addressing Audiences in a Digital Age by Ann M Blakeslee they also describe using the persona with the development staff so that they have a better understanding of who they are developing for. One reason I may not do a persona is that I feel I have a very good understanding of our audience because of my experience with our customers in the Solution Center.

How important are personas to writing for an audience? Do I really need to do them, since I have first hand experience with them in the past?

LinkedIn Culture and Community

Culture: “the ways in which people relate to each other within a particular social context – how their values, beliefs, assumptions, worldview, and so on are manifested through everyday actions and decisions.” Bernadette Longo – Where We Work (Spilka, 2010, pg 149)

Community: “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals:”  Oxford Dictionary

There are a number of different Social Media Communities and the way that people act within those communities is the culture that they participate in. I have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. The way I act within each of these communities is different. Facebook is more personal, I let people know about my feelings and what is going on with my family life. Twitter I am still figuring out, but use it more to find out what is happening in the world and with celebrities than with my family/friends/co-workers. LinkedIn is more professional. I connect with coworkers and other professional contacts there. The image below is a good description of where you would want to post specific items about your day depending on who you want to see and who you want to have to discuss this with.


While this does not have a very complementary view of  LinkedIn (Is it boring? LinkedIn). It does show seem to show that what people share on LinkedIn tends to be more professional. You are managing your brand on LinkedIn, you want to make sure that what is seen there is professional, and not a description of your wild Las Vegas vacation.

My LinkedIn community is comprised of coworkers and other business contacts. I am connected with a few friends and family, but for the most part it is all my business contacts. The June 2010 STC had an article about “Using LinkedIn to Get Work” This article had a section on Researching Companies that Interest You. This was related to researching companies that you may want to work for, but it could also work from a business perspective. The company could research the employees of a company they are considering doing business with. I could see this being used in my company a lot. We often times market to larger home care and EMS agencies. The could use LinkedIn to check out the resumes of the people who do currently work for us and for those that no longer do. This can give them an idea about how stable our workforce is and if there is a lot of turnover. If there is high turnover, it could imply that we are not a good company to work for and they could reconsider signing our agreement. In addition, we could do the same about companies that we may want to partner with to make our product better.

The culture of LinkedIn is unique. You connect with people and they are considered your 1st level connections. In addition, the connections of your connections are 2nd level. There is even 3rd level connections which are connected to your 2nd level connections at their 1st level (and they are not connected to you).


The question is what to do with these connections. There are a number of things to do with these connections, including looking for a new job, promote yourself and research companies.

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool that I am still learning. I did some looking before I started writing this blog and found 40 new connections. I’m sure I’ll find more, but since I am not actively looking for a new job, I have yet to see all the possibilities of this site.

Content Management Systems, I use those!

I like the definition of Content Management that Spilka provides in Chapter 5. Content Management is a set of practices for the handling of information, including how it is created, stored, retrieved, formatted and styled for delivery. It usually has the following four goals: Distribute tasks and responsibilities among members, Author and store content that enable multiple-audience adaptation, Author and store content to permit multiple output and Author and store content that allow for reuse by multiple organizations. Spilka also recommends creating CM as a separate discipline and teach to other technical communicators (Spilka, 2010, pgs 130-131). This definition really is what I do on a daily basis in my current position of QA Specialist, who is also responsible for the majority of customer educational resources for our Home Care product line.

Where I work currently, we use a few different content management systems, most of which were created by in-house staff for our use. The one that looks the most like this definition is our SIETE product. This is the product that we use to track the tasks being completed by the developers, that guide our release notes and user guides, as well as our Knowledge Base which houses the release notes, user guides and other customer-facing educational resources. I was not included in any of the design aspects of this product, it does work nicely for our customers.



The image above is an example of our customer facing portion of SIETE. This is accessed through the application and the content visible on the right-hand side is content specific based on the page the accessed the Help from. In addition, there are additional materials that the user may find useful based on this page. It would include FAQs, User Guide Pages and Videos that were created. This can be updated by our staff immediately if issus or corrections need to be made. This page really encompasses goals 2, 3, and 4. It allows for multiple audience adaptation, permit multiple outputs (html, videos) and reuse within and across organizations.

According to Chapter 4, we, as technical communicators, organize the written communication for future use (Spilka, 2010, pg 123). This SIETE product does assist with this. The search feature within the Customer Facing Knowledge Base will search content and tags that are added to each item. At this time tags need to be manually managed on each task, but helps with searching when the customer may not know the correct term. We can add additional terms that customer might use, even if it does not match the terminology that we use.

The image above shows that Goal 1 can also be used in our SIETE Application. There is a module called Project that has Projects, Outlines and Tasks. Each task can be assigned to a specific person and it can detail what needs to be done, when it should be done and what other assets are needed to complete the task. Often times I will spend a day or two reviewing the User Guide for changes that need to be made. Simple changes will be made immediately, but longer changes will get a task. Once all tasks are assigned I, or my supervisor, can set due dates, priorities and estimate the time to complete. As time allows, these are updated and immediately available for our customers.

Technology and Social Commerce

One of the common themes I saw through the readings this week was technology. When I first started reading Spilka, it challenged the way I thought about what technology was. I alway thought technology was just the devices and the physical things I could hold in my hand or touch. In reality, Technology is more than that. It is the methods and tools that a society has developed in order to facilitate th solution of its practical problems.

Technology Definition

The Digital Literacy book also defined Technology, but this definition was a bit clearer for me.

With this definition in my brain, it really helped my connect the readings from Spilka and Qualman. For the past few weeks I was having a hard time figuring out how these two books, written so different could be required for the same class and have readings assigned at the same time. I’m now starting to get it.

Spilka really laid the groundwork for the Qualman reading, specifically on Socialommerce. Dave Clark (who wrote the article in Spilka’s book), starts out by talking about Twitter and how it could be used. Qualman takes the concept of Twitter and other social media sites and expands on how people can use this technology for their purchases.

Socialommerce (as Qualman calls it) or Social Commerce is not new. Amazon and eBay are two examples of Social Commerce sites that have been around for a while. Both Amazon and eBay use your current browsing and search history to show you items that you might be interested in. That is the basic concept of Social Commerce. Social Commerce is really just allowing your friends/family/social media circles to help in purchasing items. Social Networks make it easier for people to provide information about what they purchased and why. This could be part of the reason Twitter could be so popular. 140 characters is easy to write about a purchase. That makes it really easy. In addition most online retailers allow you to share about what you bought and the savings you had. - I shop online to make it easier to brag about the savings on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook allows for applications to be created by third-party companies and integrated within Facebook. Companies will often time see a new idea from an exsting company or app and either try to purchase that app or create a new one that is better. TripAdvisor did that with their “Cities I’ve Visited.” They borrowed the idea from Where I’ve been, but allows for pinpointing cities that were visited instead of just countries. With the addition of “I’d like to visit” within the Cities Application, other companies can see where I want to go and advertise to me. Also, friends can see that and indicate if they’ve been there and if they would recommend going. This is also Social Commerce.


I used TripAdvisor (website, not application) for help in planning my trip to New Orleans/Alabama this week. It is good to see the reviews and itineraries of people who have been there about the things to do and things to avoid. I’m traveling with my mom who is still new to Facebook and social media, so she’s nervous about posting that we are taking this trip, so Social Media hasn’t helped.

Steve Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor has said “If you are not constantly evolving along with your customers you are doomed to fail.” Do you know any companies that need to follow that advice?

Social Media and Politics

When I first reviewed the books for the semester, I thought the book on Obama and Social Media in Qualman’s book would be a good read. I have never been interested in politics and was confused about the purpose of social media, but this looked like it might be a good introduction.

October 1st, 2013 I realized I need to pay closer attention to politics and who is being elected to represent our country. My husband was upset when Obama was elected in 2008 and down right pissed off when he was reelected in 2012. I was like, how bad can it really be? He can’t really bring down our country. Well, I think he has. To be fair, he didn’t do it by himself, he had help from Democrats and Republicans alike. On October 1st, 2013, my husband woke up for work, after just coming home from a 5 day deployment in South Carolina, got dressed and went to work at the 148th Fighter Wing, here in Duluth, MN. AT 730am i was getting my daughter on the bus and received a call. Because of what was happening in Washington DC, he was being furloughed for at least the next 4 days.

Over the next four days, I started using social media, I paid attention to a few reporters on twitter to help keep me up to date on what was happening. I had CNN and Fox News open on multiple tabs on my work computer. I was listening to the House of Representative and the Senate on-line as speeches were taking place. It got me thinking about how he was elected/re-elected. Reading this chapter helped me understand the importance of social media. This is really the chapter that helped it all sink in.

I found it really interesting the amount of twitter and Facebook followers that Obama had vs McCain and the way Obama used (and apparently) continues to use Social Media. They say Social Media is two way communication, but because I am still a newby with this, I am still using it as a One-Way communication. I get small bits of information given to me that I can read when it arrives. If I have to read an entire article to get the information, I have to take more time away from what I am doing to read the article.

One quote that sticks out to me in this chapter is “The key resides in the ability to identify and internalize issues that help precipitate change. Action earns support, not merely words”. To me this really personifies the two way communication. Social media allows the politicians to indicate what they are working on and for the followers to respond if they are in support or not. This can allow for the politicians to really understand what is concern of the people they represent.

As of this writing, my husband got the call to go back to work on Monday, thank goodness…he was driving me crazy sitting at home.

Social Media…. I just don’t get it….Part 2

While I appreciated the history of technical communication and technical communicators, I just didn’t connect to the reading as much as I did with the Socialnomics reading. I was reading while watching my daughters’ swim class and just went “Huh…That’s me in one sentence.”

It was specifically the comment: “Why do I care?” and the response because you don’t understand. I just don’t get it. (I admitted this last week, see my blog post here.)  I go on Facebook and look at twitter, but I don’t post or tweet anything…Well, not nothing, but rarely anything. The New York Time posted an article in Sept 2008 about this in an article called “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy”. This was reviewed in a blog by Lightspeed Venture Partners and describes the phenomenon of posting and reading and keeping up with status updates as “Ambient Awareness”.

“People are willing to keep open running diaries as a way to stay connected because their ultimate desire it to feel accepted.” This comment from Socialnomics really hit home with me. I was not part of the “popular” crowd in high school and didn’t really relate to anyone in my short after high-school career. I believe this leads me to want to be accepted by my peers, but not really willing to put myself out there.

This whole wanting to be accepted thing has even followed me to UW-Stout. I love online learning because I can do things at my own pace and, for the most part, in my own time, but when it comes to discussions (and now blogs), I always feel like what I am trying to relate is not getting through. This relates to the professor communications as well, specifically grades. I had a professor last semester that said “If you are a Grade-obsessed student…”, I replied that I was, but really I just wanted to make sure that my work was acceptable and what was expected.

This maybe another reason that I hesitate about being more active in Social Media is a little bit about privacy. When you are constantly posting about what you are doing, who you are with, how you are feeling, you are really letting down the wall of privacy. Everyone can read that and see into you and your soul (to a point). I’m going to really date myself here….When I was in high school, we had car phones, not cell phones. the phones were mounted inside the car and if you were lucky, it was a portable phone that came in a case larger than most women’s purses. We did have the money to afford one of those, so I got a pager. When I gave the number to my Grandma, she said she would never use it. “You shouldn’t have to be that accessible to anyone.” is what she told me. it kind of sticks to me it this day, even as I know have a cell phone that fits in my pocket. She never did make it to this era of technology, but wonder what she would think about it now.


If I embrace the concept of Ambient Awareness and make the assumption people do care and want to know what I am up to, maybe I need to start posting more updates about what I am doing and where I am going. I probably won’t post every day that I’m going to work or going home, but there are things that I think about sharing, but don’t because I feel that people just don’t care. But it turns out they probably do and I just don’t get it.

I must be missing something, I just don’t get it.

I have not really seen Social Media work for me or affect the way I work. My company has three Facebook pages and at least two twitter accounts, but they are not being used in anyway to assist in customer relationships. Our Marketing Department is in charge of these and they do not post very often and when they do, they post about tradeshows or regulatory changes. They don’t seem to post about new changes to the applications or asking questions of our customer and/or followers. This may be because as much as we work with individuals, we work with companies and I’m guessing most of these companies do not have Facebook or Twitter because of the age of the people they treat.

One of the key points of Socialnomics is that “Consumers want to take ownership of your brand and brag about your product; let them!”. I don’t really feel like we are really using that connection that we could have. We do have an online presence for our customers, but it entirely encompassed within our application. there is no real sounding board for our customers to get  together and discuss their experiences, good or bad, about us. We are not providing our customer away to brag about the good service they receive or for them to discuss the bad services and allow us a way to correct those services.

I am far from what one would call ‘Social Network Savvy’. Yes, I have a facebook page, twitter and instagram accounts, and use pinterest, but I just don’t get it. Even as I sit here typing this blog, i just don’t get what I am doing. I don’t understand what I’m doing or why I’m doing it (other than its required for the class). I did all the readings, I reflected on them and just have a hard time finding something to relate to within these readings. Hopefully next week it will get easier or there will be something that I feel something about that will start the words flowing.

I guess I’m just new to all of this blogging and really this assignment is really no different than any other class and i just have to get myself out of this “Blogging is so different” mindset and just think of it as writing a discussion post and work harder at understanding what I should be getting out of the weekly readings. I never though at age 33 I wouldn’t be embracing a new technology or a new way of doing things. I need to embrace blogging, and look more at what Social Network Site and Social Networking can do for me. Maybe its time to update my LinkedIn page?

Tried Blogging, but it never stuck…maybe now is time to try again.

Blogging is something I have a little bit of experience with. I started my own blog at the beginning of 2011 that was intended to chronicle my weight-loss journey. Each Monday and Thursday I had intended to post my progress along with my actual weight and BMI. After about what looks like two months I stopped posting. I only had one follower, my friend Jami, and I was talking to her on a consistent basis anyway. I may have to think about starting this up again, but its a bit depressing that I weigh more now than when I stopped blogging.

The only other experience I have with blogs is reading them. I don’t really have any blogs that I read on a consistent basis, but often times look at them for various things. I’ve looked up Gluten Free recipies, my step-mom has a gluten intolerance, and other recipes that I usually end up “pinning” to my Pinterest Page and then never actually using.

I’m not sure what would make me be a consistent, returning reader to a blog posting. With what I am doing now it is harder to make the time to do any pleasure reading. I am married, with one child in 3rd Grade, my husband is a part of the MN Air National Guard, working full-time up there and I have decided to return to school and get my Master’s Degree, all while working full-time.  A concern of mine is that writing these blog posts each week and the corresponding responses will take too much time. I say this now, because the 2nd class I am taking this semester has still not posted the syllabus, so I have no idea on the requirements for that class. This semester is starting off as a very stressful start to my Master’s Degree.

The only other experience I have that even resembles blogging is my past experience in the online learning at Lake Superior College and UW-Stout. Traditionally, my classes have required one discussion post and then post two responses to other classmates discussion postings. this is very similar to the requirements for this class.

As part of the learning for this class I hope that I can learn a lot about this emerging media and apply it to my current job and towards my newly refreshed weight-loss blog. I will need to concentrate on writing for the internet and make my posts interesting and make people want to come back and read more about my journey.