By Sean Stevenson
I am excited to return to Atlanta where I attended my first STC Summit. I do not like to traffic in hyperbole, but it really did change my life. I made friendships there that continue to this day and brought back a wealth of information to share with my job and push my career forward. As a member of the STC Summit Committee, I can say that this Summit’s sessions exceed my already high expectations, and are aimed at addressing the diverse, broad needs of today’s technical communicator.
To my mind, the annual STC Summit has always delivered the best opportunities to learn at any conference. I have walked away from other conferences feeling like I had not learned a thing, but every STC session I have been to has given me at least one, and often many, interesting takeaways. It makes sense – a technical communicator is judged according to their ability to deliver important concepts clearly, and Summit is everyone’s opportunity to show off the best of what they have been working on this year. Everyone brings their A-game and the excellence on display is very inspiring.
This year’s Summit, as always, covers the gamut from foundational best practices in technical communication to more specialized deep dives into emerging areas. And there are some that may be specialized now and foundational in the not-too-distant future. One that I believe falls into this last category and that I am personally excited to catch is “From Google to TikTok: Rationalizing the Digital Tutorial” by Liping Yang on Monday at 9 AM. Regardless of your views on TikTok (I am a fan) a wealth of technical communication is happening there (and on YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.). I personally just checked my feed and saw explainer videos on the Standard Model of Particle Physics and Indonesian population distribution.
More and more, people go to YouTube and TikTok first when they want to know how to do something. The digital tutorial is becoming an inevitable trend. My dad, for example, went to YouTube to learn how to tile his bathroom floor (it looks nice). And young people often go to these places first. Mastering these media is important to pushing technical communication forward. For me, this session should prove a good first step down this path, explaining the various kinds of digital tutorials, their rhetorical strengths, and how to apply design principles to effectively match a tutorial style to a specific context (education, corporate training, entertainment, general explainers, etc.). Sounds like fun to me!
While I’ve got you, here are a couple of others not to miss. Alan Houser never lets you down; check out his session on the “DITA Open Toolkit” Monday at 10 AM. The same with Leah Guren – see “What TechComm Professionals Can Learn from Museum Curators” Tuesday at 3 PM. Lastly, I am incredibly happy to see multiple technical editing (my first job in technical communication and near and dear to my heart) presentations. Choose one here – General Schedule – Technical Communication Summit.
Looking forward to meeting you, so register for the Summit now!
Are you ready to change your life? Go to the STC Summit website now to register for the conference, get your discounted hotel room reservation, and sign up for several pre-conference workshops, including CPTC prep courses.