Call for Proposals

There are currently Calls for Proposals open for August and February 2019 special issues. The first topic is Transmedia, Participatory Culture, and Digital Creation; the second is Content Strategy. See below for both CFPs.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Special Issue of Technical Communication:

Transmedia, Participatory Culture, and Digital Creation

In recent years, digital creation has become a more participatory process. As media companies struggle to maintain control over their own products, consumers continually demand more access to the creative process and more input on the final results. While this may seem on the surface to be a simple matter of intellectual property, a closer examination of trends reveals that both consumers and media companies have much to gain (and lose) from this debate.

These stakes form in the postmodern arena of virtual environments, which are negotiated and reorganized as transmedia experiences.  Henry Jenkins (2006) refers to transmedia as “the art of world-making” and “the process of designing a fictional universe that will sustain franchise development, one that is sufficiently detailed to enable many different stories to emerge but coherent enough so that each story feels like it fits with the others” (p. 294).

In this sense, digital games, books, movies, comics, and a host of other media have begun to intersect, as media and software companies strive to create alternate worlds for our entertainment, work, and social lives, thereby providing themselves with worlds for transmedia franchises. A single corporate entity may, in this sense, extrapolate multiple products from a single “world.” As consumers, we may read stories, watch movies, play digital games, or communicate online with others, all while inhabiting the same virtual world.

In our work lives, companies such as Microsoft and Adobe seek to create another kind of virtual world—one with cross-functional product platforms. Technical communicators, for example, may create various forms of media for a single franchise without ever leaving the Adobe Technical Communication Suite world, or develop résumés and conduct job searches solely from the LinkedIn world.

Regardless of its purpose, each of these digital worlds relies on the triad of digital creation, transmedia, and participatory culture. The latter is defined by Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, and Weigel (2006) as

a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another. (p. 3)

As these worlds successfully become the center of our virtual lives, we seek to exert the same type of control over them that we do over our “real lives,” often resulting in conflict. The resulting participatory culture between media companies and consumers takes various forms and widely varying degrees of success.  In transmedia environments, the stakes in this participatory culture are under constant negotiation, as distinctions between user and developer, client and company, and reader and writer, destabilize traditional theories of transactional communication.

Please submit a proposal of 350-750 words and a C.V. to the editors by 15 January, 2018. Your proposal should clearly identify your topic and research methods as well as your topic’s connection to technical communication, transmedia, digital creation, and participatory culture. Completed manuscripts will be subject to double-blind peer review.  Here is an example of how one topic might be connected to the theme of the special issue:

topic tech com example transmedia digital creation participatory culture
adaptive content doctors using mobile technology to interact with patient records instantly database pulls in EKGs, X-rays, blood tests, health history, insurance information; puts out content components for various types of digital and print documents the database of content components; the templates on various devices that structure and format the content components patients being able to update and correct their own medical information and histories; doctors being able to add information, personalize the presentation, etc.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • personalization
  • user-generated help
  • user interface design
  • usability testing
  • technical editing for virtual environments
  • counterfactual analysis in engineering (e.g., examining rejected space shuttle designs in light of the history of the space shuttle program)
  • modding
  • SlideShare
  • internet of things
  • social media
  • artificial intelligence
  • gamification in the workplace
  • open-source software
  • beta testing
  • comics
  • online gaming and delivery modes
  • co-creation and crowdsourcing
  • new media literacy
  • user agency
  • 3-D printing

 

Special Issue Editors:

David Wright (wrightmd@mst.edu), Associate Professor of Technical Communication

Ed Malone (malonee@mst.edu), Professor of Technical Communication

Daniel Reardon (reardond@mst.edu), Associate Professor of English

Timeline

Date Action
15 January, 2018 Potential authors submit proposals.
1 September, 2018 Authors submit first draft of manuscripts.
August, 2019 TC publishes special issue.

 

References

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. The MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.macfound.org/media/article_pdfs/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New    York University Press.


Call for Proposals: Special Issue of Technical Communication on Content Strategy

Technical Communication, the peer-reviewed publication of the Society for Technical Communication, is soliciting article proposals for an upcoming special issue that examines the field of practice of content strategy.

Guest Editor: Rahel Anne Bailie, FH-Joanneum University, Austria

Special Issue Description

Content strategy sits in the intersection between communication, user experience, and content management. The first book on content strategy, published in 2003 by Ann Rockley, favored techniques to manage product content, while digital agencies focused on the creation and management of content for websites. Since then, the breadth of content strategy has broadened to encompass content across a number of audiences, channels, and media.

The field of content strategy has undergone significant changes. The emergence eerily parallels the nascent field of usability (and later, UX) in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when passionate practitioners began to determine best practices, processes, and naming conventions. The field of content strategy is undergoing those same growing pains. Without a professional organisation specifically dedicated to furthering and codifying the body of knowledge, content strategy has largely remained a community of practice. Several initiatives are being undertaken to further the practices and ensure that the framework is robust enough to ensure the rapid changes in the demands on content.

The aim of the issue is to place content strategy within the larger grid of professions that collaborate and sometimes overlap. In content strategy, the common denominator is the systematization of content. The specialties may range from marketing to product to social to entertainment content; creating a plan to ensure that the right content gets to the right audiences in the right context is what separates a content strategist from a technical communicator, content designer, copywriter, UX writer, and so on.

The scope of the issue would cover the basic theory behind content strategy and its connection to the adjacent professions such as management consulting, business analysis, user experience, content development, content management, omnichannel marketing, and global content. The issue would cover core processes and extended processes, both on the editorial and technical sides of content, as well as looking at issues such as governance and change management. The issue would also explore some of the ways that content strategy has evolved to encompass new additions to the multiple channels, such as strategies to accommodate semantic content, artificial intelligence, and Information 4.0 – a response to the demands on content from Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative. A look at how content strategy is being taught would round out the issue, as the breadth and depth of learning varies, from independent workshops to content strategy courses within other academic programs, to a full-fledged Content Strategy Master’s degree program.

Proposals

This call asks respondents to address some of the following topics or other substantive areas related to content strategy:

  • A theoretical framework for content strategy
  • Defining and describing content strategy as the emergent field that it is
  • Content strategy practices and processes
  • Content strategy as an umbrella practice area, and its relationship to typical sub-strategies
  • Skill sets and overlap: content development, content design, content engineering, and content strategy
  • Developing a content strategy curriculum
  • Components of a CS-BOK and its use in the field
  • Scaling content strategy – comparative case study on content strategy for a small business vs. a large enterprise

Submission Guidelines

Send 250-300 word proposals by 15 February, 2018 to Rahel Anne Bailie (rahel.bailie@gmail.com).

All proposals should include

  • The submitter’s name, affiliation, and email address
  • A provisional, descriptive title for the proposed article
  • A summary of the topic/focus of the proposed article
  • An explanation of how the proposed topic/focus connects to the theme of the issue
  • An overview of the structure/organization of the proposed article (i.e. how the author will address the topic within the context of the proposed article)

Estimated Production Schedule

15 February, 2018 – Proposals due
15 April, 2018 – Decision on proposals sent to submitters
30 June, 2018 – Initial manuscripts due
30 October, 2018 – Manuscripts finalised
February 2019 – Publication