Note: This is an historical post. I originally published this in 2009. I’ve pulled this from my archives and am sharing publicly again. – Julie 3/31/2020
Recently, I started working with WordPress. For those unfamiliar with WP, it’s an open-source platform used for blogging, websites, and the like. Development and maintenance is completed by a world-wide community. There’s an incredible energy and community that is part of it. Last month, I attended a WordCamp event. Along with the information I obtained, I came away with one main thought:
It’s time to apply this open-source model to technical writing.
Why? The reason is simple. As I noted in an earlier post about industry trends, it’s impossible to keep up with all the changes coming through. We are all going to have to collaborate like never before. Everyone should select at least one area of interest and specialize as best they can. Then we will need to start meeting and sharing information. Immediately.
There are several ways to do this, I believe.
Twitter is one example and is already well underway. If you’re looking for information about a topic, find some feeds to follow that are packed with good leads. There are many out there. I’ve been collecting some; take a look at the list referenced below.
The EServer Technical Communication Library (TCLibrary) is another great source. They’re collecting and cataloging an incredible amount of information related to the field, including the use of new technologies. Peruse the site, sign up for the RSS feed, and follow them on Twitter.
Blogs are another source of info. Alltop has a great list of blogs on their Technical Writing page; that’s a good starting point. They also have pages for topics I think are of interest for tech writers, such as Cloud Computing and Agile Programming. Review the topics on Alltop and I’m sure you’ll find something. Ivan Walsh has also compiled a list of 50 blogs to follow; it includes international writers.
Update 3/31/2020: The TC Library, Alltop page, and Ivan’s list are no longer available, so I removed the live links for those items.
Perhaps it’s time to start setting up Meetups to just start gathering and talking about all of this. Do we always need to have a planned meeting with a planned topic? Perhaps not. Let’s just start talking. Come up with a situation a person is having with a project and have people chime in with ideas/problems/fixes and whatever other thoughts they have. Then perhaps, along the line of WordCamps, someone could videotape and stream it, then poof! Face-to-face becomes virtual for anyone anywhere at anytime. Let’s toss our knowledge up to the cloud and see where it goes.
Looking for Contributors
With all this in mind, I’ve decided to expand my blog to include guest posts from contributors that have expertise in or have researched a particular area. If you would like to become a contributor and submit a post, please contact me or send a DM on Twitter. I wouldn’t be able to pay for any content, but would be interested in sharing information. I’m about to roll out my new design, and have a couple of contributors lined up, so let’s start collaborating!
Update 3/31/2020: I’m not currently looking for contributors to this site.