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Document 360: #1 Knowledge Base Software

Podcast -- Social Networking and the Value of User Communities for Technical Communicators

by Tom Johnson on Apr 12, 2008 •
categories: bloggingpodcasts

Download MP3 (right-click, select Save Target As)
Duration: 20 min.

In this podcast, I talk with Scott Abel about social networking, in particular The Content Wrangler community he started at Scott talks about this new social network specifically for technical communicators. But he also explains the value of social networks for your help deliverables. Social networks can help users connect with one another and also help technical communicators better understand their users.

Podcast Topics

Topics in this podcast include:

  • Reasons why Scott started The Content Wrangler social network community
  • What social networking is and how it contrasts with listservs, blogs, and podcasts
  • One advantage of social networks -- you can create subgroups based on more granular niches
  • What to do after joining a social network
  • The importance of member photos in social network interaction
  • Why social networking is not limited to MySpace and music videos
  • The ability for members to create blogs, post events, and do other innovative things
  • How the social network allows users to connect with other users, connect with jobs, and connect with events
  • General guidelines for using the social network: experiment and explore, you can't break it
  • Problems people encounter after joining the social network
  • The preoccupation with tools that technical writers have, and why "Ning" itself is irrelevant
  • Criticisms and questions Scott has received about the social network he created
  • How content is featured on the main page
  • What it means to be a group leader/moderator and participant
  • The mistake some technical writers make in thinking they can be Miss Cleo
  • What Scott has learned about his community of users, and how it influenced the content he publishes
  • The global community of technical communicators that is part of The Content Wrangler social network



To contact Scott, send an email to [email protected]. To contact me, send me an email at [email protected]. I love to hear from listeners, so if you have feedback about the podcast, let us know.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.