I’d love to have you take a look at Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation available now from and

Published by XML Press, this book offers you hard-earned lessons learned from practicing documentation with wikis, blogs, forums, and other social media methods.

You can read the table of contents or download a free chapter to get a sense of what you can learn from this book. Here’s the text from the back cover:

Listen, the execute a successful social documentation strategy.

The technical communication world is on the brink of a major cultural shift from one-sided “documentation” towards user-generated content, collaborative communication, and the power of communities. This shift will change the way technical communicators work and will offer new opportunities to those who can seize them. If you are wondering where to start or what your future role may be, this book is for you.

Anne Gentle’s Conversation and Community brings social media alive through real examples and stories that will help you be a more successful technical communicator. It offers practical guidance and lessons learned from the author’s experience and that of other leaders in the field. It outlines the social techniques that have the greatest leverage and explains how they can help you start a conversation and build a community with your customers.

Here are a few quotes from reviewers. Links to the full reviews are available below.

“…the book has value to web workers of all stripes. The book is practical, up to date and isn’t just a “me too” social media tome.”
— Will Kelly, technical writer and contributor at

“The consistent, confident, professional tone kept me riveted…”
“I highly recommend this book to both technical communicators and those involved in social media and community. My copy is going straight to my boss’ desk.”
— Jeff Osier-Mixon, Community Admin, Developer Advocate, and Senior Technical Writer

“Could be best TC read of the decade”
— Michael Hughes, user experience architect at IBM

“If you think community participation in your documentation is coming soon, read this book immediately. If you think that it’s not coming, you’re wrong, and you especially need to read this book.”
— Sarah O’Keefe, President of Scriptorium

“The book is brim full of useful information and, even better, great ideas”
— Sarah Maddox, technical writer for the Confluence documentation at Atlassian

This sample chapter is available to start the conversation. I invite you to comment on this post, or on Scribd.
Free Chapter Conversation and Community

Documentation as Conversation

One draft title for my book was “Documentation as Conversation.” It seemed fitting when staring at the sharp turn towards a new way of looking at documentation. But what I found as I kept working in the wiki world and facing the struggles that accompany collaborative authoring is this truth: that community support and management was as much a part of the brave new world as having individual back-and-forth comments on blog posts or discussions in forums. To get the keys to your conversation, pick up a copy of the book at and start the conversation your audience has been waiting for.

Also for sale in Austin, Texas at bookstores such as BookWoman on North Lamar and the Lakeline Barnes and Noble store.


Jeff’s Open Source Resource: Book Review: Conversation and Community, by Anne Gentle from Jeff “Jefro” Osier-Mixon in his Open Source Resource blog

Palimpsest: Let the conversation begin from Sarah O’Keefe on the Palimpsest blog

Future Changes: Book Review: Conversation and Community by Anne Gentle from Stewart Mader on Future Changes

Review of Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation from Ellis Pratt on the Cherryleaf blog

Book review – Conversation and Community by Anne Gentle from Sarah Maddox on her ffeathers – a technical writer’s blog

Review of Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation from Tom Johnson on I’d Rather Be Writing

Book review: Conversation and Community from Rhonda Bracey in her CyberText newsletter

Conversation and Community: a review (of sorts) in about 1,700 words from Scott Nesbitt on the Communications from DMN blog

Review of Conversation and Community – The Social Web for Documentation by Anne Gentle by Craig Haiss on HelpScribe

Reading :: Conversation and Community by Clay Spinuzzi on his blog, Spinuzzi.

Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation by Will Kelly on Web Worker Daily

Conversation and Community in One Laptop per Child by Wayan Vota on OLPC News

Book Review: Conversation and Community by Anne Gentle by Peg Mulligan on her blog, Technical and Marketing Communication: Content for a Convergent World

A little something extra… by Red Monk analyst Michael Cote on his blog, People Over Process


All the footnotes referenced in the book are collected and tagged on



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