Technical Writing and the Digital Age Eras Tour

Technical Writing and the Digital Age Eras Tour

Technical writing in the digital age was an entity that I was vaguely familiar with throughout my undergraduate degree, but undoubtedly would not be able to describe on a quiz short answer. I majored in English literature so nothing mattered more to me than arguing with my professors on whether the Oxford comma is canon. I barely gave a thought to other kinds writing are out there in the world when I was ferociously writing analytical essays on how Pride and Prejudice is not a true romance novel. When analyzing the readings for this first week, I realized how much technical writing content I consume in a day without even processing what it is.

Synergy Almost as Good as Hamilton

One thing that surprised me was the very definitions given between technical writing and digital writing. They are familial but distant enough to understand the importance of mastering each in this graduate program. Technical writing in the digital age has a major focus on the audience: understanding their needs, their knowledge level, and evolving to the technology landscape. This is important when information consumption is increasingly digital and interactive.

As a news writer for UGA, my typical writing style is to give information in a factual and precise way; however, we usually give as much information as possible considering our audience is everyone. We want as many people to read our articles as possible. Whereas in technical writing, you must understand your audience well and know that it is specifically geared towards them. When you add the digital age into the mix, you get more than manuals and instruction panels, you creative writing for websites, applications, and email marketing that provide concise information to the audience.

Digital platforms allow diverse ways for technical writers to push their content in a robust and engaging way. When understanding that the way one processes information is just as important of the way it is constructed, many opportunities for advancement are made.

Jay David Bolter poses a thought that new mediums are inspired by the media of the past. This really resonated with me as someone who grew up with Vine and now sees the raging success of TikTok all over the world. In another example more writing based, MySpace forums and Tumblr blogs have transitioned to Twitter posts or even Instagram stories.

The Realization of Time

My chosen reading for this week was Because Digital Writing Matters by DeVoss, Eidman-Aadahl, and Hicks. This chapter really helped me understand that while computers made the literal task of writing easier by typing, saving progress, and so forth, writing also became a much more complex space with the various avenues of writing as well. Such as email, cloud computing, instant messenger, etc.

This isn't the first time at age of 28 that I've already felt old, but reading about the first integration of computers in classrooms from a book published in 2010 was a whirlwind of emotions. The challenges outlined in the chapter with integrating new technology, finding a balance of equality between schools, and teachers struggling to keep up was something I witnessed first-hand. Meanwhile, my six-year-old sister has a school-assigned iPad since kindergarten that she did not even need to be taught how to use.  This highlights an important aspect of how quickly technology in changing and with that, how fast the industry of technical writing is as well. This helps me understand Dr. Lucas' philosophy on using these platforms rather than D2L. While this is uncomfortable for me and scary because I'm not 100% sure how to work everything, it provides challenges that we will all continue to face in this industry.

The most profound thing in this chapter was the fact that students disassociate their digital communications separately from their school writing. This was something that I continue to struggle with on a daily basis. The strict guidelines of what is considered "academic" or "educational" prevented me from fully understanding my potential as a writer. Breaking down that stigma or barrier from students I believe will allow them to realize their potential as writers, or at the very least, communicators.

My high school English teacher always told me that language is organic, and I believe that includes technical writing as well. As said in the readings, one must continually attend workshops and collaborate with others in their field to keep up with the latest technology and methodologies for technical writing in the digital age. ‌‌

Resonating with this Era

As I completed the first week of 5106, I wish it had been my first class of the program. The readings have provided thought-provoking concepts of technical writing in the digital age that I hadn't fully considered. Similar to Generation Z who only know technology in their lives for the most part, I always accepted technical writing for instructions and manuals rather than their significance in society.

This is evidence for me to be more inquisitive in my day-to-day digital interactions and with the type of media I consume, rather than being passively engaged.

Cheers to week one.

Jewel Caruso

Jewel Caruso

Jewel is a higher education professional, freelance editor, writer, and avid reader.
Athens, Georgia