Technical Communication (10th Edition)
The role of social media continues to expand in the world of technical communication. Virtually every news outlet has stories about how new electronic tools are being used in business, engineering, the health sciences, politics, and government or about how large organizations are using Twitter and Facebook to connect with their customers.
This development shows how far people in the working world have come in their thinking about how to relate to their customers. Only a decade ago, the relationship was essentially one-way: although an organization might have done some test marketing of a new product or service, customers and other stakeholders did not play a large role in research and development.
Today, by contrast, almost everyone in the working world understands that customers and other stakeholders — including the general public, government regulators, and suppliers — play an enormous role in shaping organizations, their products, and their services. Through social media, organizations seek to form relationships with their stakeholders, drawing customers into a community that helps set the values of the organization.
Social-media tools also shape the professional identities and roles of technical communicators. Within individual organizations, technical professionals are no longer merely members of one or two project groups. Rather, they contribute ideas, comments, and insights to many other people in the organization, thus enlarging the talent pool that contributes to every project.
I have revised this new edition of Technical Communication to reflect the many exciting developments that have occurred in technical communication — and in ways to teach it — in the past few years. However, the principles of good technical communication on which this book is based have not changed. For a description of the organization and enduring features of this book, see the Introduction for Writers on page xiii.
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