It’s time once again for the annual MindTouch list of top influencers in techcomm, customer service, customer experience, and knowledge management! As in years past, our goal is to give back to the community based on tools we use to make our business better. We used the nifty Twitter search and reporting service Little Bird to compile lists of the 100 most engaged and connected people in each of the four categories.
Our lists go beyond the influencers you might already know and direct you to the ones you should know. Little Bird calls these influencers the most emergent — they may not be on your radar screen yet, but they will be soon.
We’ll announce the top 100 influencers in customer service, customer experience, and knowledge management in the next few days but let’s get started right now with the top influencers in #techcomm. Here’s the first 25:
- Tom Johnson
- Sarah O’Keefe
- Scott Abel
- Bill Swallow
- Alan Houser
- Anne Gentle
- Ellis Pratt
- Catherine Hibbard
- David Farbey
- Thomas M. Aldous
- Char James-Tanny
- Sharon Burton
- Larry Kunz
- Matt Sullivan
- Arnold Burian
- Rahel Anne Bailie
- STC Summit
- Michelle Sander
- Jack Molisani
- Tech Comms
- Ivan Walsh
- Ben Woelk
- Ankur Jain
Now go check out the full list of the top 100 influencers in #techcomm. Because we want to make your life easier, we’ve also compiled a Twitter list so you can follow all of these amazing folks with one click.
Are you on our influencer list? Congratulations, here’s your badge! You’ve earned it for your work in pushing the edges of your field. You’re an innovator who’s elevating and promoting your field. Thank you. Grab the code below and display your badge with pride. You’re in excellent company.
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Check back to find out who made the list of top 100 influencers in content strategy, customer experience, and knowledge management, or follow us on Twitter to find out right away when we post the next list.
Unless you work for a technical communications boutique that specializes in providing technical information solutions to other companies, there’s a decent chance that your boss’s boss doesn’t really understand what you do.
I think that tech writers in most companies are kind of like the IT guy at the dentist’s office: the rest of the folks are smart and capable, but their expertise doesn’t even overlap. The dentists and dental hygienists think IT is probably necessary, but they’re content to just trust the IT guy to take care of it so long as nothing goes wrong.
Some technical writers like it this way. When people are willing to just let you take care of things, they just take your word for what needs to be done and don’t bug you. Plus, there’s the more nefarious notion that keeping your job and job skills a secret gives you job security because no one else will know how to do what you do.
But that only works for as long as people think that what you produce is necessary, which isn’t going to be as long if they don’t understand your contribution. Besides, when people don’t understand what you do, they can’t imagine new and creative ways to utilize your skills. If you can’t capture your boss’s boss’s imagination with all the cool things you have to offer the organization, then opportunities for exciting new projects can be few and far between.
I say it’s better for your career and esteem not to hoard your tech comm knowledge. Instead, you should share your knowledge freely so that people can have a deeper appreciation for why what you do is so difficult and special and ultimately beneficial to everyone. Here are some methods I use to try to make people around me understand the product documentation effort:
#1 – Internal marketing
Well this one’s obvious: if you want people to know what you do, tell them. We are, after all, professional communicators. This ought to be right up our alley.
Speaking for myself, I try to use lots of interesting channels to make people aware of what’s going on in the Doc team. Read more…
If you’re like me, you can’t hire as many people as you need to do the work. But I’ve just had a writer take another opportunity, and now I have to back fill for him. The good news is there are lots of qualified writers out there right now. The bad news is there are also a lot of people applying for just anything. It can be make the hiring situation kind of overwhelming, but I have some tips that I, unfortunately, learned the hard way.
Tip #1: Recognize your job is hard
The biggest mistake I made in my first couple hires was to think that my job was standard fare that anyone could handle. I felt like I was being overdramatic to spend too much time vetting the candidates, when it seemed like it just couldn’t be that hard. Anyone would do.
The tricky thing here is that technical communicators have a very wide variety of skills and a broad spectrum of capabilities. A person can have the title “Technical Writer” and have it mean anything from “I know the source code inside and out, help customers directly with technical issues, and consult with the product manager on the direction and design of the product” to “I get a rough draft from an SME and add page breaks in the right places.” Read more…
I’m excited to announce that MindTouch is being honored with a regular guest blog series here at the MindTouch blog titled “Let’s Talk Tech Comm.” Amanda Cross, the Documentation Manager at ExactTarget, will be writing a regular column bringing to us her wealth of experience and an admirable depth of knowledge in the space. She has twelve years of experience in technical communications, holds a BA in Technical Communications from Purdue University and an MBA from the Kelley School at Indiana University.
I met Amanda last year and she is my kind of person, which is to say that she is intensely passionate about her field and the end user. Also, I’ve been amazed by how bleeding edge her team is at ExactTarget in delivering automation and social interactions across their product documentation.