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By Ciranna Bird, MS :::: Last month, I read a post by Lisa Formichelli that invited her readers to determine if their use of social media platforms was helping advance their writing businesses. Her post was named Why I killed my social media accounts (+ why you may want to too…and what to do instead). The response within my writers group, as well as feedback on Ms. Formichelli’s website indicated that many people feel uncomfortable using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and don’t see the benefits of using them for their career. Although I can relate to their discomfort, I find the free versions of LinkedIn and Twitter useful for marketing my freelance business. In a book I just read by Ali Berlow, she says, “Whether you’re into it or no... Read More

By Sheila Loring, STC Associate Fellow ::::Each year, the STC holds a documentation competition – the chance for writers to get feedback on their work and recognition from their peers. Judges volunteer to provide that feedback, working against a checklist of questions and deciding, with teams, which entries deserve awards. Entries that win one of the top two awards locally get to compete at the international level. The STC Carolina competition training was held November 12th at SAS Institute. We spent the morning learning how to give constructive criticism. For example, give specific examples of what the writer did well, down to the page number. Explain how the manual can be improved. Avoid just saying you don’t like the font. Be sure to ... Read More

By Sajdah Nubee, Duke Continuing Education Student The Darwin Information Technical Architecture (DITA) workshop, hosted by the STC Carolina Chapter on Saturday, October 17, taught me one fundamental thing about DITA – that audience is the focus of any good technical writer. Larry Kunz, the presenter, emphasized that structured authoring allows writers to focus on content rather than format, and content exists to serve the audience. As an inexperienced user of structured authoring, I discovered the features of DITA and its value to technical writing. DITA’s built-in structure guides the emphasis on content, as it frees the writer from making formatting decisions. It consists of a hierarchical structure of topics and those topics have sema... Read More

By Rachel Amity, NCSU Student ::::Technical writer, information developer, knowledge manager, information architect, documentation specialist, technical editor… With so many different titles, it’s no wonder so few people know what technical communicators actually do. In my second year of the Master’s of Science in Technical Communication program at North Carolina State University, I’ll admit that I still struggle to define our work, and find that I’m not alone. A favorite pastime of my classmates and mine is to swap stories about trying to explain our work to family and friends, who most often look at us quizzically and say something akin to, “So, you write instructions?” This description isn’t exactly wrong, but it isn’t exactly right, e... Read More

Profile By Lindsay Saunders, Managing Editor and Secretary 1. Who are you and who is your organization? What does it do, represent, etc.? ::::I'm Emily Toone and I'm the founder and owner of TPS, Inc. TPS is a Raleigh-based staffing agency (although we have employees and customers nation-wide) that focuses solely on content. We employ writers, editors, graphic designers, instructional designers, and project managers. I'm exceptionally proud of the reputation that TPS has in the tech comm community. What do I personally enjoy the most about TPS? I love how we provide advocacy to both our customers and our employees. 2. How did you come to build a relationship with STC? I was a member of STC before I founded TPS. Once I had my company it s... Read More

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