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Combining Social Media with Help Authoring Tom Johnson
The Allure of Social Media
Advantages of Wikis Wisdom of users Group collaboration Easy updates Visible writing process SME contributions Transform the tech writer role Integrate user's perspective Simple tools
Drawbacks of Wikis Primitive formatting Simple website No single sourcing Printed manuals difficult Infrastructure limitations Marginal user contributions Requires a leader Inaccuracies problematic Resistant corporate culture
Advantages of Blogs Communication venue Convert users to power users Feature requests/bugs Connection with users SEO Power Personalized company face
Drawbacks of Blogs Not integrated with online help Requires a blogger RSS ignorance Comment spam Getting the right tone is tough
Advantages of Social Networks Visual pictures of users Niche conversations Another contact point
Drawbacks of Social Networks No one goes there Another login Only web-based
Advantages of Podcasts/Videocasts Engaging format Users have rich media devices Great blog content
Drawbacks of Podcasts/Videocasts Time consuming Lengthy to watch or listen to Equipment costs
Advantages of Forums Comfortable atmosphere Empowers enthusiastic users Increases your support resources One-to-many communication
Drawbacks of Forums Unanswered questions sour users Not integrated with online help Updating is a nightmare Gives voice to frustration Another hat to wear
Advantages of Interactive Help Another point of interactivity Topic ratings potentially useful
Drawbacks of Interactive Help No one uses it
Transformations for Tech Writers Less technical writing Multiple hats Expert knowledge about users Product leader and influencer
Tom Johnson www.idratherbewriting.com 801-822-2241 firstname.lastname@example.org
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