Part II: The Changing Role of Technical Communicators : Role in the End User Community
Role in the End User Community
As the Internet emerged as the dominant form of business communication; technical communicators were forced to recognize the trends of users in the publishing process. Printed help documentation quickly evolved to online help and browser-based platforms. But the respective rise of social media and internet-capable devices has presented companies and technical communicators with an even bigger challenge. The Internet is no longer a desktop collection of databases and brochure pages. It is a fast moving cloud of human interaction that floats seamlessly between desktop, laptop, smart phone or tablet. Regardless of where end users are accessing content, they are demanding the right to share their opinion and form a dialogue with the content author and others with whom they wish to share their insight. Technical communicators will increasingly be tasked with the role of community moderator.
Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Disqus allow end users to 1) share content 2) leave comments 3) follow topics of interest 4) express approval for content. Previously, technical communicators had no mechanism by which instant feedback on a mass scale could be attained. Today’s technical communicators, however, have the opportunity to regularly communicate with end users and bring valuable feedback to the documentation and product development process. Moreover, as companies deploy knowledge base platforms and other user-generated help strategies, technical communicators will be increasingly called to moderate the content for accuracy and seeding. As a frontline communicator, delivering fast and knowledgeable responses to user questions and maintaining rapid feedback loops is an essential tactic in the fight for customer retention and an explicit value to organizations.