December 2, 2012 · Skills, Social media · Comments Off

Reading The Can’t-Miss Social Media Trends For 2013 reminds me how thoroughly behind I am on planning and implementing my personal use of social media for anything other than enjoyable goofing off. “Personal use” for me includes the groups for which I do volunteer work as well as things like this website.

7 Must Have Social Media Business Tools for Influence, Authority and Time Management is a related article. I am familiar with only one of the tools mentioned (Tweetdeck) although I may have heard of one or two of the others. I suspect this means I’m hopelessly behind the times.

July 23, 2010 · Skills · Comments Off

Paul Ford, in Real Editors Ship, says some things I’ve been trying to tell people for years. Other editors will understand what he’s talking about; many of the people who need us most won’t get it. Here’s a quote:

Editors are really valuable, and, the way things are going, undervalued. These are people who are good at process. They think about calendars, schedules, checklists, and get freaked out when schedules slip. Their jobs are to aggregate information, parse it, restructure it, and make sure it meets standards. They are basically QA for language and meaning.

July 19, 2010 · Skills · Comments Off

The Diagnosis-Resolution Structure in Troubleshooting Procedures, by David K. Farkas, on the WritersUA website.

In this paper, I define troubleshooting procedures and briefly sketch out how they are developed. Then I analyze the genre’s underlying architectural structure of diagnosis and resolution, showing both simple and complex configurations of symptoms and solution methods. These configurations are in part constrained by the nature of the technical problem; but they are also the consequence of design decisions. Understanding structure enables us to meaningfully classify the very diverse instances of this genre, reveals key design issues, and is apt to contribute to experimental research insofar as structure is central to many of the most useful research questions we can ask.

At the AODC 2010 conference, Sarah Maddox, who works for Atlassian, an agile development environment, spoke on engaging readers in the documentation and the concept of documentation as an emotional experience.

Sarah explained the advantages to both the customers and the company of involving readers (users) and discussed some of the techniques that Atlassian has been experimenting with. These include social media (blogs, a forum, and Twitter), a “doc sprint” (an intensive time spent producing documents such as tutorials), encouraging users to update community documentation on a wiki, links to readers’ blogs, and an interactive game that customers can use to help them through the complex installation and configuration of a product.
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April 19, 2010 · Books, Skills, Tools & technology · Comments Off

Geoff Hart’s Effective Onscreen Editing is an essential resource for anyone who edits onscreen, regardless of the word processor in use. Geoff’s examples are from Microsoft Word, but most of his recommendations can be translated readily to or other programs. The book is available in both PDF and printed forms, each optimised for its format: the PDF is in landscape format, while the printed book is in portrait format. See this page for details.
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February 9, 2010 · Careers, Skills · 2 comments

The best way to demonstrate your editorial abilities is to show examples of documents before and after you edited them, but often that’s not an option. The best way to expand your skills is to work in the areas you’re interested in, whether that’s expanding into comprehensive editing from copy-editing or working in different subjects, but you may get caught in the common bind of not getting work because you don’t have the relevant experience. How can you get the experience and be able to demonstrate your abilities to others?
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January 22, 2010 · Careers, Skills · Comments Off

My article Let’s change the career paths for technical editors was published in December 2009 in Volume 9, Number 3 of Corrigo, the STC’s Technical Editing SIG newsletter.