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Open letter to all technical communicators out there

Are you a technical communicator?

If you are not sure, here are some examples of people within the technical communication field:

Accessibility analysts, content developers, documentation specialists, indexers, information architects, information designers, instructional designers, localization specialists, policies and procedures specialists, researchers, teachers, technical illustrators, technical writers, technical editors, translators, usability and human factors professionals, visual designers, and Web designers and developers. The list goes on.

Why I am writing to technical communicators? There has never been a more important time for us to stay connected and work together to advance our careers and profession.

One valuable way to stay connected is through an organization like STC, the Society for Technical Communication.

As I state on my site, I belong to STC, and I am quite active in STC. I feel that my STC membership has been a real boost to my career, and I would like to see more technical communciators experience the same great benefits.

  • I have gained a network of colleagues and experts that I can call upon for advice or feedback.
  • The continuing education at the annual conference and the live Web seminars increase my professional knowledge and skills, and continue to strengthen my value to my employer. (My membership played a positive role in getting me my current job!)
  • Participation in the virtual communities of STC fosters that network and keeps me abreast of job opportunities near and far, as well as continually exposing me to new ideas and thoughts, which helps me to grow as a professional technical communicator and as a person.
  • I know I can count on the members of my SIGs (special interest groups) for their knowledge and opinion on changing technologies, techniques, and tools. There are 21 SIGs in STC and I belong to 6 of them.
  • I can develop skills of leadership, management, strategy, and planning – to name just a few – through participation in STC leadership, whether it be as webmaster, manager, treasurer, and so on. Currently, I am a co-manager of the AccessAbility SIG, webmaster for the Europe SIG, as well as the STC Advocate. Maybe that sounds like a lot? That is why I am encouraging you to join in the fun and share the experience!

STC is conducting a membership drive right now. You can join for the year 2009 and get the final two months of 2008 for free!

Do you still want to hear more about STC? Read our powerful story. Browse through the benefits of membership. Call the STC Member Services staff at +1 (703) 522-4114 with any questions you may have. Ask me questions in the comments field here on the blog.

When you sign up for your membership, and you are a brand-new, never-before-an-STC-member, put my name in the box that asks who referred you, as well as the SIG that will receive credit. I don’t really care whether you put my name in the box, but do add the name of a SIG that you will join so that they can benefit from our current membership campaign. I love my SIGs so I feel a bit torn in my loyalties. The AccessAbility SIG and the Europe SIG are the tiniest of these groups (but they have dreams and ambitions to share with you!), so I would encourage support for them. Seriously, investigate the SIGs and find the ones that suit your needs; then give them your support immediately by naming them on your membership form.

For me, paying dues is one of the best investments I make each year for my professional development. I do not use my blog for advertising, but I feel justified in helping others discover the value of a professional society that can support them throughout their career.

I hope that you will join us very soon.