Would you like to help write a guide to using Twitter, especially for technical writers? At the same time, you can try out Confluence wiki and learn from other tech comm Twitter experts.
An interesting fact: The top post on this blog is a technical guide to prepopulating tweets and embedding tweets in a document. (Here’s the post.) It has received more than 13 thousand visits to date. The next most popular post, about writing REST API documentation, has received 11 thousand visits and has been around for two years longer than the Twitter post.
People really want to know about this stuff. We can use Twitter in our documentation, in our careers, and in communication with our peers. How great would it be if we had a technical communicator’s guide to Twitter, written and regularly updated by us!
That idea came to me while I was writing my book, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. Then I took the idea a step further and made the writing of the guide a project that Ganache, the hero of the book, was tackling. Ganache wrote part of the guide. The screenshots are in the book. She also wrote some stubs for pages that she thought would be useful in the guide.
Now it’s up to us to complete the guide, and to keep it up to date.
How to contribute to the Twitter guide for technical communicators
Go to the wiki, at https://wikitechcomm.onconfluence.com/display/CHAT/About+this+site, and follow the instructions to get a username. It’s free, and you can choose any username that hasn’t yet been taken. You will need to give an email address, but the email address won’t be shown to other users (unless you make your username the same as your email address).
Read the Twitter guide, and fill in the missing details. All contributions welcome. You can edit the existing pages or add new ones. Other people will probably edit your pages too. It’s a wiki, and all logged-in users have permission to update the pages. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons copyright, as specified in the footer of each page.
Who else is on the wiki?
Your name will appear along with the others who are already there. I’m there, and so is Ganache. 🙂
I’ve just spent a couple of days on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii, on my way to and from the STC Summit 2012. I couldn’t resist taking this snap:
It’s recently struck me again: There is so much creativity, generosity and enthusiasm in the technical writing community! A while ago, I let people know that I was kicking off a project called Tips via Twitter. Many technical writers commented and tweeted their encouragement and ideas. Now we’ve just started a Twitter tips stream for another of our products, and designed badges that tweeters can display on their blogs.
To encourage users to tweet tips, I would consider giving them a badge of honour which they can proudly display on their blogs or any social networking site. A badge which says “I share my Tips via Twitter. Do you?” or something similar.
Thank you so much Jay! Here’s what the badges look like:
(If you want one for your blog, grab the HTML from my Atlassian blog post.)
Highlighting the fact that people can contribute to the documentation
Larry Kunz had another great idea, that we should make the community aspects of our documentation more visible. So I’ve been creating pages called “Contributing to the xxx documentation”, where “xxx” is the product name. For example, here’s the page for our JIRA bug tracker: Contributing to the JIRA documentation, and for the Confluence wiki: Contributing to the Confluence documentation.
The “Tips via Twitter” pages are now children of those pages, and so are the “Tips of the Trade” pages, where we link out to “how to” blog posts by our customers and community.
What’s more, we now have a shiny new button in the page footers, directing people to the page about contributing to the documentation:
Thank you to the technical writing community
Innovation, passion and generosity are alive and well amongst technical writers. Thank you everyone! I’ve also added a paragraph in the Atlassian blog post, letting people know that the technical writing community rocks!