Four Journal Articles that Best Represent the Field of Technical Communication

I was asked to choose a set of four texts that best represent the field of technical communication. Choosing only four (or ten, or 50) is of course extremely reductive, but it allowed me to really focus on the aspects of technical communication that I think are most foundational.

The four texts I chose offer the broadest overview of the discipline while still addressing the specific components that represent the field of technical communication. I identify four primary topics that both build on each other and overlap, to give a representative view of which topics I see as important for technical communicators, in general.

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Filed under Rhetoric, Technical Writing

My WordPress 2014 in review

Due to my being a full time technical writer and PhD student, I didn’t have as much time as previous years to write blog posts. Additionally, I have found that the LinkedIn Pulse posts are more convenient for shorter, industry-related articles, but that is another discussion. prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power!

Click here to see the complete report.

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Warnings in Plain English—but if no one reads them, will they help?

This blog post is in reaction to the USENIX/Google research titled “Alice in Warningland: A Large-Scale Field Study of Browser Security Warning Effectiveness.”

The overarching questions I have are:

1) how and when should the notifications be displayed to users and
2) how should the notifications be written

For additional commentary on how Google Chrome is reacting to the findings from the research, see the WeLiveSecurity post Google Chrome security warnings – now in plain English.

It would be interesting to see the results of clickthrough rates with antivirus dialogs when combined with the browser dialogs. Users don’t purchase/use a web browser to have dialog warnings as a primary feature, but an argument can be made that by purchasing antivirus these users prefer an extra layer of security and additional warnings/notifications – this could inform whether this will impact if those users visit more malicious sites. As the study indicated as a limitation, we need to “consider user behaviors that are indicative of attention to warnings” (258). Continue reading

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Filed under Article Reviews, Technical Writing

Rhetorical & #TechComm Analysis of AT&T “CPNI” Opt-Out Email

As I have mentioned in previous posts (analysis of hacking responses and Kickstarter PR response), as more PR and marketing communications concern technical issues (either directly regarding a technology or technological information about a product or service) there is a need for writers who can write both technical and rhetorically — that is, knowing not just what to say but how and where.

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Filed under Rhetoric, Technical Writing, User experience

Rhetorical & #TechComm Analysis of Kickstarter “hacking” response

What happened?

“Important Kickstarter Security Notice”

What happened in summary?

  • Last week on Wednesday (this date is relevant) Kickstarter’s website was hacked and users’ personal data was stolen. Kickstarter released a PR statement regarding the security incident on Saturday (yes, 3 days later, on a holiday weekend) with recommended instructions that users should take.

Why am I writing about this?

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My digital workflow as a Master’s and PhD #Techcomm student

This post is a long time coming. I began compiling a list of the technologies I used and how I implemented them while in my Master’s of Technical Communications program last year.

First my thesis took all my time and I was unable to make many blog posts and then just as quick I was accepted into and began a PhD in Technical Communication & Rhetoric. I had planned to write a blog post about why I chose to pursue the PhD (and the end of the previous sentence is a perfect place to hyperlink to it). However, as the next semester begins for many (including me), I thought it would be more useful to post the digital workflow that helped me earn my Master’s with a 4.0, be accepted into a PhD program, and earn an A in my first PhD course.

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Filed under How-to, Social Media, Technical Writing

ferswriteshoe 2013 blog stats in review

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

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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