Introverted technical writers will not be writing help any more and will be replaced with experts moderating support forums. … Technical writers can no longer afford to hide in their cubes, they must go out and become experts and talk to the users.
I left a comment on her post that I see a similar future for our profession, although I do not have a value placed on introversion versus extroversion – likely introverts make perfectly good community managers and forum moderators since they can do that from their desks for the most part.
But, it does take some bravery to put your real personality online. I’ve found that a few of us are doing that – going from technical writer to blogger writing directly to customers.
While many of us blog to an audience of other professional writers, there are technical writers out there who are blogging to their end-user audience. Here are two examples:
- National Instruments here in Austin has a blog called “technically speaking” that they use not only to talk about their daily work but also to keep their end-users informed about documentation. For example, here’s a post about a wiki that LabVIEW users will find helpful.
- Another example is Dee Elling’s blog for CodeGear users. This entry offers a great example of a real conversation with customers. I applaud her bravery (and emailed her to tell her) in facing these sometimes abrasive responses with a sense of customer service and helpful attitude. She doesn’t always have a good message to bring (they are working furiously to give their customers more code examples which we all know is time-consuming and difficult). But she brings a message directly to customers anyway.
Is anyone else talking directly to their customer base with their blog? Consultants in technical writing and content management are definitely talking to current and potential clients – Palimpsest is Scriptorium’s blog, The Rockley Blog, The Content Wrangler, and DMN Communications to name a few. But what about conversations with end users? I’d love to see more examples.