Words Are Important

Back in the 80s, when I worked in radio, I remember very vividly the words of Andre Codrescu, a writer and commentator on NPR, the U.S. national public radio network. Codrescu came to the U.S. escaping Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania. In one commentary, he was recalling some event involving either protest, writing, or both. I no longer recall what the event was, but I remember this sentence:

In Romania, words have power. You can go to jail for them.

Continue reading “Words Are Important”

Advertisements

Who Has a License to Drive the Information Superhighways? – part 2

Quite a while ago, I promised a second part to my critique of the analogy of Internet with Superhighways. As usual, sloth, and other pressing emergencies made it fade into the background. But with the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) ruling on Net Neutrality still fresh and shiny, this seems like the moment to make good on that promise.

Before Internet of Things – Internet of Ideas

The phenomenon known as Internet of Things – where intelligent, connected objects communicate and take decisions without human intervention – could not exist if we didn’t already have an internet where the majority of communication remains textual (like this blog, for instance). We tend to prefer familiar models, and the model of written communication is one that is deeply embedded in Western cultures.

But the Internet is also a natural transmedia vector, and we already see stories being told by parallel text, video, audio, fixed image, and other kinds of content, on multiple screens. To get the whole story, you have to engage with all the different media that are used to tell it, and none of them has the complete lowdown. We use very different perceptual equipment to understand each of these media, and they happen simultaneously. This is so far away from any kind of superhighway analogy – we are, in fact, in the realm of parallel universes!

Continue reading “Who Has a License to Drive the Information Superhighways? – part 2”

Transformation Society Collaborations with Adobe: Comprehensive Links

Update, 17 September 2015: Adobe has a new platform for its recorded webinars. Links to the recordings are now updated and will work correctly.

It is important to follow the Instructions for viewing them, which is also updated.

————————————–

As Promised, here is a full set of links to the materials for two series of collaborations between The Transformation Society and Adobe Technical Communications Division. Enjoy!Logo_transformationSociety_Small

  • 2013: Crossing Boundaries: Implications for the Content Industries
  • 2014: Tech Challenges: Surfing and Diving Deeplogo_unit_1.5x1.5

Continue reading “Transformation Society Collaborations with Adobe: Comprehensive Links”

The Transformation Society

The Transformation Society LogoFor some time now, some of you have heard me speak of The Transformation Society. The idea came when we were talking about The Information Society, and realized that what was needed was not more information, but transformation! Transformation of information into useful knowledge, transformation from aggregation (a collector’s mentality) to diffusion (a community sharing mentality). Transformation from immobility to dynamic flexibility; from habit to exploration; from fixed diplomas to lifelong learning.

Continue reading “The Transformation Society”

The Importance of Labels

Those who work in certain regulated industries, most especially the pharmaceutical field, know that labels are important. In fact, companies have people who do nothing but manage the labels of their products, and the language on them. This is because a change of even the positioning of a comma can require going through a regulatory re-approval process.

While this might seem like a lot of bureaucratic hassle to some, the reasoning is that a minor typographical error on a label can cost lives.

There are many aspects of life other than technical communication where this is true, and I have recently had the sad occasion to experience one case.

Continue reading “The Importance of Labels”

An Open Letter to my STC Colleagues

Update: Most of you will already know that I was re-elected with a nice proportion of the vote. Unfortunately, participation in this year’s STC election was slightly down from last year, at 14.98%. I had really hoped that more STC members would vote.

 

Dear Fellow STC Members,

As you know, voting began today for the STC Elections. Most of you know I’m a candidate for re-election, but this is not about my candidacy. This is a plea for you to cast your vote – for whomever you think is the best candidate.

Last year, only 16% of our members voted. This is more or less average for association elections these days, but I wonder if we can’t do better.

I remember before I became involved in Society governance, that the elections seemed distant to me. I didn’t recognize candidates’ names, they were folks across the ocean. I knew little or nothing about society affairs, and it all seemed unimportant to me. Then I began reading the candidates’ statements. Honestly, that only brought society matters a little closer to me. There was no grand ephiphany. But just reading the candidates’ positions on issues that maybe I only partly understood helped me to get a sense of who they were. And once I did that, I started to make choices about which of them I wanted to see on the board of directors.

Today, STC faces many difficult issues, and though we have made progress, we are not out of the woods. Fortunately, all the candidates are dedicated people who care deeply about STC and its future. Each has a slightly different vision of what that might be and how to get there – and your selection will determine the course that STC takes in the next year or two.

I urge you, then, to please take the time to read all the candidate statements, make your own independent choice, and cast your ballot. If we can raise the number of voters, we automatically raise the strength of the mandate our winning candidates receive.

Like any candidate, I hope folks vote for me – but I prefer for you to vote for another candidate than to abstain from voting. Please don’t wait – take some time to learn about each of us, and add your voice. You, as an STC member, will be the beneficiary.