Technical writers of the world unite – #twotwu

“If technical communicators ruled the world, I would take on…” A few weeks ago, I was given that sentence fragment and told to speak on the topic for five minutes. My audience was the group of technical communicators at TCANZ 2010.

What would you have said?

As far as I remember, I started by saying I would take on everyone in the world who does not know what technical communicators do. This rose from my heartfelt dismay when people ask, “What do you actually do all day?” 😉

I then wittered on about the opportunities that modern technology offers us to do just that. Blogging, Twitter, wikis, the technology that makes it possible to hold doc sprints… You know what I mean.

More recently at ASTC (NSW) 2010, Neil James proposed the idea that we may move towards a single, unified communication profession.

Owl, by Ryan MaddoxAnd now, in a sublime conjunction of those two trains of thought, TWOTWU is born. 🙂

This post is just for fun. It’s not a serious attempt to rule the world or to unite all technical communicators! I want to see what cool ideas and discussions this post may generate, bearing in mind that sometimes the most creative ideas arise from animated, casual discussion amongst friends with a common passion.

If you’d like to join in, add a comment to this post, or tweet on Twitter with tag #twotwu. I’ll collect the tweets and add them as comments to this post every now and then. If you like, you can subscribe to the comments on this post.

To wit, twotwu 😉

Ryan Maddox drew the owl, especially for this post. Thank you Ryan!

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 13 November 2010, in ASTC, humour, technical writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Here’s a link to the Twitter search results for #twotwu:

  2. Why not serious?

    There’s alot of extremely controlled passion that could fuel alot of business if tech writers would take their intensity and skills and push it out there one step further to make a difference.

    Alot do, alot more cower submissively even when they know the right answers – sometimes better than their reviewers.

    Tech writers handle the lion share of communications that MAKE a product marketable, and often a company too.

    Communications have NEVER been more important or in the limelight. The power be within the writers of knowledge – grab it tech writers, vs only letting it be grabbed.. and make a great difference.

    Yet always be good humble too! Confident, but humble. FTW!


    • Hallo Ellen

      Great comment. This bit is so very true: “Communications have NEVER been more important or in the limelight.”

      It’s also true that many of us tech writers tend to be quiet, introspective, and even unaware of the value of our skills. It’s when we start talking to other people and see how much they value, that we start to gain confidence.

      That struck me recently at a doc sprint we’ve just held. In this particular doc sprint, we had people from various roles as well as technical writers. In the feedback and during the sprint itself, we heard again and again how the other sprinters valued the help and skills of the tech writers on the sprint. People were finding trouble getting the words right and getting the structure right.

      People even suggested that the tech writers on the sprint should not write the docs themselves, but should spend time in turn with each of the other sprinters. “Pairing”, as it’s called in the agile environment.

      I personally found it very rewarding to hear others being so appreciative of our skills, and it brought home to me just how much of our own knowledge and craft we take for granted!


  3. Here are the tweets so far:

  4. Writers of the World You Write!

  5. Here are today’s tweets:

    And one more that’s not showing up on the search yet:

    LOL, I love @stitchyenta’s idea of children with context-sensitive help buttons.

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