The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation – or a relationship. – Deborah Tannen
There are new social media tools being invented all the time, and traditional websites are also finding ways to incorporate tagging, sharing, and other collaboration helpers in their content.
I believe that a conversation doesn’t have to be a direct connection between technical writer and customer. I want to also think about how you help customers connect with each other.
So, let’s discuss ideas for starting conversations. You probably want to study the categories of contributions that you want to ensure match up with your role in your company.
Matching up your strengths and experience to the conversations helps to avoid stepping on toes or stumbling into conversations where you do not have the tools, background, or correct messaging to know how to deal with the situation correctly.
There are plenty of skill sets that are valuable in traditional user assistance deliverables that are easily transferable to a movement towards social network integration for user assistance. These skills include:
- excellent communication
- clear writing
- good design
- up front planning
- keywords and indexing (tagging)
- understanding of semantic markup
What other skills do you think writers bring to the conversation buffet that is the social web?