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Published on August 23rd, 2008 | by Rahel Bailie


Changing content paradigms include social media in technical communication contexts

In the world of personality profiling, the technical writing field is dominated by the Meyers Briggs type of Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving (INTP). It’s not surprising that INTPs are drawn to the profession of writing. After all, writing tends to be an inward-focused activity, carried out independently, and involved organization of conceptual material into logical topics.

Though social media uses the medium preferred by introverts – communication that can be prepared and posted, rather than real-time communication such as phone or meetings – it is, after all, an activity that doesn’t fit the profile of the average introvert. As a personal pursuit, it can be seen as a time sink. When asked to learn about this as a professional endeavour, it can be perceived as a world of hurt.

So what happens when social media meets technical communication? In what may be described as the next big shift for the technical communication workplace, where technical content converges with marketing communications, e-learning content, knowledge management, and user-generated content, the shift to a social media model in the coming decade may be as profound a shift as that to content management during this decade.

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

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