Writers are insecure people, as a general rule. This is one of the reasons so many prizes and awards are handed out to writers in any given year.

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In the realm of technical communication, there really aren’t many ways to measure success. There are no Pulitzer or Nobel Prizes in our field. For those of us who write software manuals and other items, getting mentioned in a product review, or getting feedback from a user (or a bunch of users) is about the best thing we can hope for. The Society for Technical Communication annually bestows “Fellow” and “Associate Fellow” status on members who “contribute to the profession and the Society at the highest level, as indicated by their publications, presentations, awards, mentoring, leadership, and community service.”

Around this time last year, MindTouch, a startup that makes what they call a “social knowledge base,” pulled together a list of 25 influential technical communicators, based largely on their participation in the tech-comm community and their social media connections. This year, “by popular demand” MindTouch repeated the list, and expanded it tremendously—to 400 people influential in techcomm and content strategy! One of them (at #57, no less) was me. Thus you see the badge over in the sidebar over there.

I am humbled and honored to be part of this collection of fine communicators, and to share the honor with many folks I’ve met at conferences, trade shows, and the many more I know online. Even Scott Abel, who always belongs on lists like these (click the link to see how he accidentally fell off the big list!).

I pledge to use my influence for good, and the competitor in me will aim for the top 50 next year–it’s a much nicer badge!

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The California State Capitol building in Sacra...
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Getting ready to pack up the laptop and head west. I’m spending the next few days in Sacramento, California,  at the annual Technical Communication Summit. This three-day conference sponsored by the Society for Technical Communication is packed full of sessions that I hope will make me a better writer.

Among the topics I’ll be keen to track are trends toward collaborative user assistance and social media in tech comm, and how to provide help on mobile platforms. I’m also going to a session on making better presentations. I’m also excited to hear our keynote address from Tim O’Reilly. You can see me gush a little about that over at Notes from the Metaverse.

Watch my Twitter feed (@workingwriter) and the hashtag #stc11 for quick reports. With some good fortune, I’ll blog at the end of each day in the Technical Communication category.


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