The Twitter Book and tech comm  Clip to Evernote

Recently, O’Reilly Media released a new book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein: The Twitter Book. A review of the book will be coming in the next couple of weeks.

What’s interesting about the book isn’t its subject matter, but rather the way in which it was written. Believe it or not, the book was done in PowerPoint. Yes, PowerPoint. A piece of software that’s generally used to create presentation slides.

Shortly after the book’s release, Tim O’Reilly recently blogged about the book, the writing process, and how the approach to the The Twitter Book was an attempt to reinvent the concept of the book in the age of the Web. Read O’Reilly’s post for the details.

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This is shaping up to be a must-read book  Clip to Evernote

Art As I mentioned in a previous post, getting the community of users (yes, that word again) to participate in the documentation process is a tough task. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure how to do that. I’ve seen a lot of good suggestions about creating communities in general, but very little about sustaining the interest and enthusiasm of that community once the initial glow wears off.

Because of my curiosity about this, one book that I’ve been looking forward since he announced it on his blog is Jono Bacon’s The Art of Community. Bacon is the community manager for Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, and my distro of choice. And if you know anything about the Ubuntu community (and the Linux community in general), it’s passionate. So, there has to be some benefit to reading about how to engage and build a community from someone who manages one as passionate as this.

What does this have to do with documentation? A lot. As I wrote a couple of paragraphs ago, getting users to participate in the documentation process (and to keep them participating) is difficult. And I think that The Art of Community might just give me a few pointers on this. Especially these topics:

  • Building buzz – think outside the box and excite and enthuse potential community members to join your crusade, build capacity and keep the train running.
  • Measuring aspects of community success – understand, assess and measure your community, discover what can be measured and how to react to the results.

Yes, I am excited about this one. The Art of Community, and Anne Gentle’s upcoming book, sound like they’ll complement each other quite nicely. Get ready to learn …

Learning the UNIX or Linux command line, quickly  Clip to Evernote

UNIX and Linux. Believe it or not, they’re everywhere. And no where more so than in the software development world. If you haven’t already encountered either of them at work, chances are you will. And you’ll probably need to document something (or several somethings) at the command line.

I can’t think of a technical communicator who isn’t comfortable working within a GUI. But not everyone is comfortable, or even has any experience, at the command line. The command line isn’t as daunting as some people think it is. In fact, you can get up to speed quite quickly. It’s just a matter of how.

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