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Dita Von Teese to give keynote at DITA North America 2014 Conference

by Tom Johnson on Apr 1, 2014
categories: dita technical-writing

Note: This was an April Fool's Day post.
Dita Von Teese will be giving the keynote to DITA North America, The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) recently announced. DITA experts and other attendees are thrilled as they look forward to her keynote.

"I kind of always wanted to see her at the conference," said Don Day, father of DITA. "It's just a natural fit."

While some were surprised at the selection of a burlesque dancer as the keynote for the conference, others assumed DITA, an XML format for structuring technical content, was named after the keynote speaker. When asked about their feelings on the selection of the speaker, they responded with no surprise at all.

"It makes sense," one said. "I don't see why she wouldn't be there."

Dita herself is floored to be the speaker at a large professional conference. She confessed that while she doesn't know much about DITA, she'd always wanted to become a technical writer rather than a burlesque dancer, and this invitation to deliver the keynote might provide the perfect segue for an entry-level opportunity in the field.

Mansion Perrier Dita Von Teese

Other conference organizers provided a bit more detail on the keynote speaker. Michael Priestley, one of the lead DITA architects, said he knows Dita doesn't know anything about DITA, and that the tie-in is nothing more than a naming coincidence.

"But you see, she's more than just a burlesque dancer," Priestley explained. Anytime you start searching for DITA online, you almost always get Dita Von Teese in the results. For years I have encountered this, and so has nearly everyone else searching for DITA.

"In a way, our fates are tied. The more DITA grows in popularity, the more she rises in the search results. I mean, you've got to understand. You search for DITA. A pretty half-dressed burlesque dancer appears in the results. You're going to click it, because what if it really is related to DITA?"

As a result, Google's search algorithm has learned that results for Dita Von Teese are highly relevant to those searching for DITA.

"Much of her popularity is actually due to the rise of DITA," explained Geoffrey James, a Google search analyst. "It's one of those weird extra-dimensional phenomena where two terms will forever be equated on Google. Our search engine learns whether results are accurate by aligning keywords searched with results clicked, especially the time spent on each result. And let me tell you, people are spending a lot more than 5 seconds on Dita Von Teese pages."

Just as Dita's reputation has grown with the rise of DITA XML, so too has DITA's popularity increased with Dita Von Teese.

"We have finally found our icon," explained Priestley. "That traditional DITA bird pecking at the T in DITA has long been confused with a third-party Twitter app. We plan to replace the bird with a burlesque silhouette of Dita, wrapped around either the I or T."

The DITA North America conference will take place on April 28-30, 2014 in Seattle. Participants are encouraged to bring their DITA books for Dita to sign.

"Announcement of the keynote speaker has already boosted conference registrations," explained CIDM spokesperson Joann Hackos. "If all goes as expected, we plan to make her a yearly highlight, forever marrying her name to the DITA movement. This is just the momentum we need to finally get DITA off the ground and into mainstream adoption."

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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