Posts with the Tag: Social Media
Writing is more complicated today, even though the grammar and spelling rules are the same. While it’s not new to have to talk to a particular audience, when you’re connecting in the landscape of the Internet, you have a few more people who might be looking at your words.
It’s not enough, it seems, to write something that’s interesting or true. Instead, writers have to focus on how they connect to the audience they target. You can’t just write an article anymore. You need to connect with your audience through Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets.
Once upon a time, James Erwin was writing software manuals in Des Moines, Iowa. An everyday technical writer, he spent his days trying to ensure that information could be easily used and digested by the reader. Until something happened. And that ‘something’ was social networking.
As James Erwin was commenting about a movie online, his comments received so many responses that he got noticed online. He was offered a job writing a screenplay and had to quit his technical writing job. So, the question becomes, can technical writing skills help to foster a career in another field of writing – like script writing?
Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.
by Nicky Bleiel
Software companies have been interacting with their users online for many years. It’s common to find forums where users can interact with one another AND the company, as well as with web sites that provide multiple forms of assistance. Since 2004, ComponentOne has maintained HelpCentral, a web site that includes forums, knowledgebase articles, FAQs, videos, documentation, access to tech support, and code samples. Search engines can easily locate the site and its content.
Except for the forums, none of this falls into the social-media category. However, HelpCentral is an example of a one-stop, user-assistance shop that includes user peer-to-peer conversations, with a large helping of self-help information. But, as described by supply-chain folks, HelpCentral is a “pull” system. You have to open the site and to see what it offers, or use a search engine and find it.
Back in late 2007, early 2008, we published an article by Rahel Anne Bailie, principal of Intentional Design Inc. in Vancouver, BC. In that excellent article, Rahel pointed out that “Internet 3.0” or Web 3.0 was just emerging.
The article took a look at how content was becoming considered a corporate asset and how technical content, such as technical manuals, would increasingly become valuable assets to corporations in the “new age of content”.
Without a doubt, much has happened since then. The Web has become a social “monster” of sorts. Sharing content has become commonplace. Cloud computing has evolved allowing for centralized Web access to both applications and content. The popularity of mobile devices has exploded. The phrase, “There’s an app for that.” has become ubiquitous.
Since WAI has recently joined Twitter, I really hadn’t had time to think much about how technical documentation professionals like technical writers and others could really make the most of having a Twitter presence.
This post by Anne Gentle published on Twittip certainly stirs the imagination. While her post applies mainly to staff tech writers, she first discusses how technical writers can get started with Twitter:
- Monitor and listen first
- Play your part
- Give more than you get
These steps apply to pretty much anyone who uses social media in general and Twitter specifically, but it’s the suggestions she has for how members of a company’s technical documentation team can help provide information on products and applications they document through Twitter that caught my eye, such as the idea of using Twitter as a medium for release notes.
I’m sure with the ingenuity and creativity many in the technical documentation community enjoy, it’s just a matter of time that this method of keeping customers advised really takes hold.
In what ways are your technical communications and tech support staff using Twitter or other forms of social media to get the word out about your products, latest releases, etc.? Have you given it consideration?
LinkedIn, like other forms of social media and social networking sites, is growing increasingly popular as an effective way to recruit employees.
While recruiters are still using big job board websites, like Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and CraigsList.com to find applicants to fill job vacancies, contacts from these “traditional” sources often include hundreds of resumes from unqualified applicants and plenty of spam.
In her article, Use LinkedIn for Recruiting Employees, Susan Heathfield, About.com Guide to Human Resources provides specific insight from several recruiters on how they are using LinkedIn to find qualified applicants for open positions. And, as she correctly points out:
“The potential for LinkedIn and other social networking sites to play a major role in your employee recruiting strategy increases as millions of potential employees profile themselves on these sites each year.”
Source: Use LinkedIn for Recruiting Employees
For Applicants: Social Media – Are You Missing Out?
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According to research from PJA Advertising + Marketing and community site Toolbox.com active use of social media has become a vital part of many HR professionals’ careers. This research shows that HR pros now spend more time interacting on social media sites than in reading editorial content.
About one-half of respondents said a social media presence helped build their personal brand and made them more valuable as a job candidate.
Professional networks, such as LinkedIn and Ryze were tops for HR pros followed by best practice social communities, like Toolbox.com and StackOverflow.
Results Summary and Charts on eMarketer