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From the Editor's Desk
2003, Q4 (July 10, 2007)

What Value Do You Put on Membership in STC?

By Michael Harvey

Value is the theme of this issue of the Carolina Communiqué. Meredith Blackwelder opens by summarizing the results of our chapter’s recent employment and salary survey, which is one way that our chapter tries to give you something of unique value. Another way is through compelling programs and fun activities at membership meetings. Charlie Gravel reports on a recent membership meeting where Terry Smith spoke about using Acrobat for collaborative document review. Some meetings are more informal, as a series of photos from our annual picnic shows.

During the coming year, the chapter will use web-based surveys to ask what value we can bring. Anjela Dukes describes the results of one recent web survey concerning a possible XML (eXtended Markup Language) SIG, and how the chapter intends to respond to those results. XML allows dissimilar computer systems to communicate with one another, and should be on every technical writer’s short list of topics for further study. Check out the following website for more information: http://www.xml.com/resourceguide/. Read Sarah O’Keefe’s article, the second installment of a series about XML and structured authoring.

Our Director-Sponsor, Vici Koster-Lenhardt, asks us to consider the value of STC membership and recounts recent activities that show how chapters in our region are striving to deliver it. Vici refers to the STC Transformation blog (web log), available at http://trans4mation.typepad.com/, and invites you to post there. Anneliese Kellner shares her thoughts on some of the commentary that she read on the blog.

Region 7’s Director-Sponsor, Rahel Anne Bailie, distinguishes between “commodity writing” and making a “strategic contribution,” and points out how we can become more valuable to our employers by focusing on the latter. Rahel refers to a classic book about evaluating your career, What Color is Your Parachute?, which is reviewed by David Dick, a member of STC Belgium. In evaluating your career, you may decide to pursue a degree in technical communication. If so, you may be eligible for a scholarship from STC. We provide details.

And what other chapter provides you the valuable services of someone like Viv, who unselfishly doles out advice for the discerning technical communicator?

After reading these contributions, ask yourself again, what value do you put on membership in STC? Do you find value in the opportunities to learn and to network? I, personally, have found the most value not from what I got from the chapter, but from what I gave. Volunteering my time, I gained valuable experience. Volunteering my knowledge, I gained insight. Volunteering my talents, I gained skill.

Still another way that our chapter tries to give you value is through this newsletter. We cannot give you all the value you expect without your telling us what you want. What would you like to see in this newsletter? Write me at mtharvey at yahoo dot com, and let me know. End of article.

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