The technical communication generalist

I received this note from a friend of mine who works in the same industry as I do:

Dear DCMT,

The stereotypical technical writer sits in a cube all day and writes manuals, online help, or some combination thereof.

I work for a company that produces a complicated product everyone uses that  requires no user manual: electricity.

So why would they need me?

Because they need good technical communication for software implementations, for technical training, for employee communications, and for IT presentations to upper management.

As the STC continues its quest to “tell our powerful story” it’s worth looking at this role. I don’t think I’m unique, but this approach to the profession is not widely promoted. Can you discuss this topic and solicit feedback from your readers?

We might even consider presenting on it at the STC conference in Philadelphia.

Signed,
Tech Comm Generalist

Dear Tech Comm Generalist,

Thanks for your note. Your description of your work sounds familiar.
I bet there are a lot of technical communicators out there who play a similar role in their organizations.

We face some different challenges than others in our profession.

I will devote a few blog posts to this and maybe we can come up with a proposal.

–DCMT

PS. If a book written via a blog is a “blook,” is a proposal written via a blog a “bloprosal?”

Next: “Where do TCGs  draw the line?” or “I don’t do windows”

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3 Responses to The technical communication generalist

  1. gmclean says:

    I think the very nature of our profession is one drawback to easily promoting a greater understanding. I can’t remember who, but someone recently blogged about the role the Tech Comms team plays in a company and how, increasingly, producing a document/manual/help is becoming less and less a part of the job.

    How about those technical communicators who are doing all of that and more? My team and I produce help, electronic manuals, provide editing and proofreading services to the rest of the company, I’m currently writing a spec for the new corporate intranet, we are working with services to promote their use of a Wiki (which wiill benefit us), and thankfully the training team already know to just ask us to get the latest info.

    I’ve only been with my current company since January but very soon the team name will be changing from “Publications” to “Technical Communications” for the very reasons you state. We are so much more to the company than just “those wot write manuals” and I need to start promoting that.

  2. Kai Weber says:

    At the risk of near-total irrelevance: I think it would be “bloposal” or “problosal”, but not “bloprosal”. 🙂

    Kai.

  3. hharkness says:

    Gordon,
    Keep me posted on your job responsbilities.
    I’m compiling a list.

    Kai,
    Too funny!

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