Getting Started with the Digital Era

I have had experience interacting with digitalized technical writing for many years now. I used technical manuals to operate military aircraft and fix electrical problems in my previous career in the military. Our manuals were digitized and provided to us using an online platform via a laptop. My understanding of technical writing in the digital age is minute in the grand scheme of things because I only know the receiving end of the digital media. The readings altered my perspective and now I know there are particular ways to present information in the digital space for a specific audience.

So, at this point, I understand that technical writing in the digital age is user centered and designed to prioritize the audience’s experience with the material. It seems similar to academic writing. However, the difference lies in the delivery of the information. In academic writing, I do write for the audience, stake a claim, and support my claims with factual evidence. I could argue this is still opiniated writing though. My opinion is at the forefront of my information and I am attempting to persuade the reader to align with my thoughts. In technical writing, we should remove opinions from the information and use factual material to help the user on the receiving end achieve their goals. Contrary to academic writing, technical writing elevates the user experience using a variety of digital media to present the research, facts, analytical information, etc.

The Gleaning

From the readings, I gleaned technical writing in the digital age is accessibility. Writers utilize digital formats to present their information and disseminate it globally. The digital platforms allow more access to information and make hard-to-understand information digestible for a wider audience.

I also learned technical writing is used to help readers accomplish their goals and solve their problems. Technical writers bridge the gap between subject matter experts and their audiences. As master communicators, the writers interpret the information from the experts and can translate the information for someone who may be learning the information for the first time. These writers must be flexible, adaptive, and user oriented. The information processed should maintain objectivity and stick with factual information. The user does not need the opinion of the writer in this case. The end user just needs the necessary information that aids them in their decision making or problem solving or on the job performance. The technical writer sticks to the facts but must remember they are talking to real people and should deliver the information with that in mind.

Along with the practical aspects of what technical writing is and what it means to the user, technical writing is an evolving field. Reading about adaptation to technological advancements made it clear to me that if a writer wants to maintain a career in digital media, they must stay current on the evolution of technology, and technology advances daily. It is safe to say most people interact with a multi-media device on a daily basis, so learning about what’s new and available will keep a writer’s skills current and usable in today’s career field. Their mastery is dependent on their ability to stay current and convey information accurately and effectively.

The Discovery

I discovered that I did not know what all entails technical writing in the digital age. I did not consider the act of presenting information on multi-media platforms as technical writing or rather, applications of technical writing in digital formats. I guess when I think about technical writing in the digital age, I simply imagine manuals or instructions uploaded online. In the readings, I discovered a podcast that analyzes literature or a scientific tutorial video is considered an application of technical writing. The information is the same, the difference is the delivery and end user experience. So, when learning the “what” of technical writing the skills can translate into many forms within the field.

 I also discovered what a discourse community is. I know discourse to mean opposition or debating. But in the case of a discourse community, it means a group of like-minded people that use specialized language and conventions related to their specific fields of study. That concept is new to me.

My Interest

I would like to pursue a career writing technical manuals for the military as a government contractor. I want to work for companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Knowing my job does not stop at interpreting the data from an expert, I want to master the user experience. I think I already write for the reader who does not know the information I am delivering, but having to explain something to ensure understanding differs from just spouting off bits of information. So far in the readings, I think delivering information that is user focused is applicable to my interests as a digital writer and staying abreast of new and improved technology.







Jessica Steverson

I am a retired Air Force veteran. I have a bachelor's degree in Sociology and I received my master's in English. I love to read and watch movies. My professional goal is to become a technical writer.
Ludowici, GA