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Making a difference, forever | Leading Technical Communication

Be careful what you post on the internet, they say, because once you do it’s out there forever. I suppose that’s true. In fact, it’s been true since before we had an internet. In …

Source: Making a difference, forever | Leading Technical Communication

This is a great story from Larry Kunz.  I can relate to his story, although mine doesn’t go quite as far back as his does. I found that when I was working at a part-time position years ago, the system they used was what I call a Franken-system–something that had been built using several different method sewn together to work in its clunky way. As long as it functioned, that’s all that mattered. (I know the original developer of that system has since retired, and the webmaster I worked for has been slowly converting everything over to Drupal instead.)  But because there were so many quirks with this system, I found it necessary to write a lot of notes on how to use the system. I found the notes to be very helpful when I was initially using the system, especially if there were actions that weren’t done often and I needed reminders.  Flash forward to a few years later, and I’m hired back part-time temporarily to the same job.  My notes were still in the desk! I found that 98% of the information still applied, and I still understood what my notes meant, as they were clear and organized. It was a moment that I knew that I was cut out to be a technical communicator. I know that my notes also helped two other people learn the system as well, so I think that’s “mission accomplished”.

How many times have you tried to do a web search to find something about an old product to come up short? How often is older documentation on an old product worth its weight in gold when you find it? It’s amazing how much things that we think are minor or mundane now can make a difference later, and I’m sure that’s part of what Larry was experiencing as well. He helped many people with his co-written newsletter, and how do we not know that these notes helped people who could later build other things or understand other concepts better in later products?

Do you have a similar story? Include your comments below.




Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

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