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TechCommGeekMom’s TechComm Predictions for 2014

Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who is gazing into her crystal ball, trying to figure out why the 3rd Doctor and the Master aren’t going at it with more mobile tech.
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014!

I had set several goals for 2013, and for the most part, I achieved many of them.  Due to finally having a job this past year, I was able to pay for my new kitchen outright (okay, we saved on labor costs because my multi-talented husband installed everything–and I mean everything–except the Silestone countertops), so I have a new kitchen that I love.  I definitely travelled more, as I visited Atlanta for the first time in 21 years due to the STC Summit, and I got to visit Portland, Oregon again for Lavacon.  I didn’t get to go to the UK, however. And I still don’t look like a supermodel yet.

My 2014 goals are still fairly ambitious, I think. I would like to build upon my web publishing experiences at work, and figure out how to become a content engineer, rather than merely a content manager. I’m hoping that attending the Intelligent Content Conference in San Jose, CA this February and attending this year’s STC Summit in Phoenix, AZ will with help with that. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it to Lavacon again until later in the year. I still want to go to the UK, but I think I may have to wait a little longer for that. If there’s a way to combine a vacation and a conference there at the same time, perhaps I can pull it off later in the year instead of going to Lavacon (just to vary things up a bit).  I had hoped to become a certified Muse expert last year, and that didn’t happen. Perhaps I can try this year. I also got the “WordPress for Dummies” book this year, which has inspired me to become more expert at using WordPress. I currently use the version hosted by WordPress itself, but I think it might be helpful to understand how the independently managed version works, too. If I can achieve some weight loss in the process during all of this, I will consider 2014 a success. 😉

As for predictions for 2014 in tech comm, I decided that I would be a little more analytical about it. Two years ago, it seemed that the push in tech comm was that we needed to think more carefully about content management reuse of content, and think in terms of mobile content.  This past year, that was extended to translation and localization of content, taking it a step further. So with those concepts in mind, what’s the next step? In my mind, it’s implementation of all of these with more vigor. Some companies are on top of this, but it wouldn’t be surprising to me if many companies–even large, global companies–are not on top of any of this yet, or on top of it in an effective way. I think about companies that I’ve worked for in the past, and how, despite their size and availability of resources, these companies wouldn’t be cutting edge in distributing content for desktops or mobile, and regional sites were not as localized nor standardized as they should be. So, in my mind, this is the year of implementation.

googleglassAnother thing to consider is technology changes. Over the past few years, we’ve been adapting not only to desktop or laptop interfaces, but we’ve also been adapting to more mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.  Marta Rauch, a technical communicator friend of mine who is part of the Google Glass beta testing, pointed


out that 2014 is due to be a year in which even more portable, wearable mobile devices will become relevent. These devices would include something like Google Glass or similar products, but it also would include devices like Samsung’s wristband device or devices that are synchronized with car components. She’s got a point. Components are getting smaller, and technological portability is becoming more and more mainstream all the time. How do we decide what content is most user-friendly, reuseable, streamlined, and pertinent for these kinds of mobile devices? It’s something we need to start thinking about now.

“Riker to the Tech Comm community–are you there?”

So there you have it. At least in my mind, if we aren’t all wearing Comm Badges like in Star Trek by the end of the year, I don’t know what this world is coming to. 😉 But it’s hard for someone like me to figure out where the future is going. I’m grateful there are those who are on the cutting edge that can help me figure that sort of thing out, and can educate me on the latest and greatest so that I can bring it to my own workplace, as well as talk about it here on TechCommGeekMom.

I’m sure that there will be plenty of surprises coming up in 2014. As I said, I have three conferences that I’ll be attending in the first half of the year, and I know with the continuation of this great work contract I have, I will probably be learning a lot of new things through that opportunity, too. My philosophy is to never stop learning, and I plan to continue to learn a lot more going forward in the coming year.

What are you predictions for the coming year? Am I on target, or off-base? What did I forget to mention? Let me know in the comments.

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2013 in review, Part 2

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A TechCommGeekMom Milestone: A baby blog is now a toddler



I think my little blog just grew up a bit. I not only reached the 10,000 all-time hits mark, but even passed it. For a niche blog that’s 13.5 months old, I think that’s pretty amazing! I’m a proud TechCommGeekMom!

Thank you to every person who’s a regular reader, who just popped in once in a while, or who came only once for a visit. 10,000 all-time hits is a lot! Now, I know of blogs that have definitely had more traffic than me, mostly because they are much more hyper-focused on a particular segment of technical communications, like everything you want to know about a particular type of software, everything you want to know about a particular strategy, or else they’ve been around for a long time, so they’ve built up a following after a while. I do not begrudge these people, as they are my inspiration, and in some ways, they have contributed to this blog too through curated content now and then. TechCommGeekMom wants to be like those blogs as it grows up!

I trust that you enjoy what you read, and that you keep coming back for more. I’d like to think that the variety presented here, mixed with my own eccentric flair, brings about a lot of different perspectives of what technical communications is and what it can be. As I’ve said in the past, this blog started out very small, as a grad school project to build a community via social media, and I chose to work on building my tech comm/e-learning/m-learning community. I’m guessing that perhaps–just perhaps–I may have achieved my goal of creating a TechCommGeekMom community, and yet I hope the family will continue to grow. If you have any suggestions or ideas of things you’d like to see here, or if you’d like to contribute a guest post, please let me know!

Many thanks from the bottom of my heart for helping me reach this milestone! This blog is a labor of love, and it has opened so many doors for me, which I hope continue to open! I truly appreciate the support!

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10 plus best blog tips: Bloggers, just don’t do it…

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

Blogging is worth it. I love it, but I write from experience today, meaning that yes, I violated many of my own rules when I started blogging. Still, why do you need to blunder through when so many…

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

@DarinLHammond has written a fantastic article that is a appropriate follow-up to TechCommGeekMom’s Guide to How to Write a Blog Post. As I read it, I found that many of these things are steps that I did on my own, so it’s always great to have your own actions validated. There are even a few I need to follow-up on. This is definitely a must-read to any would-be bloggers.


See on

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TechCommGeekMom’s Guide on How to Write a Blog Post

MP910216414One of my former professors recently asked me for a small favor. Her first-year students are writing up blog posts after attending a plain language presentation, and she asked if I could provide some tips for how to write a great blog post, in light of the work I’ve done with this blog. Of course, I said I’d be happy to oblige.

Of course, that meant I actually had to come up with some actual tips! After some careful consideration, I think there are a few key elements I’ve found that make a blog posting successful.

First, it’s all about the mind set. I don’t think many people necessarily know what they want to say, or think of themselves as “bloggers.” So, the primary step is to have the right attitude. My blog post titled, “I’m not a writer. Wait…you say…I AM?” outlines this concept. As I said in that post, I never thought of myself as a writer until very recently, and in some instances, I still don’t. It’s all about the attitude and the right mind-set of having to write.

Second, I would simply say to write from the heart, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Use the blog post as if it’s a one-sided conversation with someone else out there on the Internet. You might not know who your audience is, but that audience is out there! I would know–this blog just passed the 9100 all-time hits mark at this writing, and it’s still counting towards that 10,000 hits mark! (Remember, this blog started out as a combination of a grad school project and a whim a year ago. I never expected anyone to read it at all!) It’s important to have an opinion when writing these posts. If you thought that the presentation was boring, you should say so, and say why. If you liked it, then say so, and why. People are attracted to blogs because of the opinions of the writer. It applies in social media too, if you think about it. Why do we follow certain people on Twitter, Facebook or Google+? Because there is something about the point of view of a particular person or group that you find interesting, entertaining, or informative. The same thing applies to blogs, which is really a long-form extension of Tweeting, if you ask me. 😉

Third, make sure that if you don’t have all the facts, admit to not having all the facts. It’s okay if you aren’t the world’s foremost authority on a topic, but supply support or backup for what you do know when you can. For example, if there’s a link to a recording of the presentation you saw,  include it in the blog post, so other people can listen, then read your interpretation. If possible, include a small image (like the one I have above) that helps to visually set the tone as well. I rarely leave out an image, and if I do, it’s because it’s related to curated content that doesn’t have an appropriate image to post.

Fourth, even though you have an opinion and you’ve presented your facts, don’t write unprofessionally. What I mean by that is don’t use profanity or be offensive, and make sure your grammar and formatting is as correct as you can make it. Your blog is just like a portfolio or the clothes you wear. It is a reflection of you, and you want to present yourself in the best light possible, even if you are speaking about something controversial. I know I’ve written about controversial topics in the past, but I would try to provide my point of view as clearly as possible, with as much supporting evidence as I could provide. You don’t need to be über formal, but you have to respect your reader’s intelligence. If you do this,  he or she will respect you in return, even if the reader has an opposing point of view, and will continue to visit your blog.

Lastly, edit, edit, edit!  Even as I’ve written this post, I’ve reviewed it, and proofread, and re-written several sections multiple times. It’s like any other writing process. Nobody nails the perfect post on the first try. There have even been times where I’ve written the post, saved the draft, and walked away for a while to come back with new insight or a fresh eye to tweak it some more.

I think this covers the basics of how to write a great blog post. Be yourself, present yourself in the best light as you write your words, and have fun with it! This is what has worked for me, and hopefully it can work for you, too. You might be surprised by the response you get as a result.

(Good luck, PTC 601 students!)