Technical Writing in the Digital Age

Definition

The basic definition I understand of "technical writing in the digital age" from our readings is professional literature that is communicated in a digital format. While this definition includes materials such as user manual saved in PDF, my understanding is that there is an advanced form that includes materials that are digital that provides discourse and training within the community to which the writing applies. An advanced example would be Professor Lucas's website that provides detailed research and instruction on technical writing. This research is carefully curated and tailored specifically to a graduate student audience so that they are able to develop their knowledge in technical writing. The goal of technical writing is to communicate knowledge as accurately as possible with an emphasize of "utility and practicality over aesthetic expression".

Glean

Through my readings, I've gleaned a deeper comprehension of technical writing in the digital age. These texts showed how society has transitioned toward a user-centric approach to writing, primarily attributable to the transition to digital platforms. In this digital landscape, the act of writing has become more "crowdsourced," with numerous websites adopting a Wikipedia-style model that allows anyone to actively participate and contribute to the discourse on a given topic. This evolution highlights the dynamic nature of digital platforms offer that traditional methods of publication could not provide. These digital platforms provide a community to learn from so that knowledge is not only expanded but a variety of perspectives can provide a deeper understanding on the topic.

There are many considerations when producing a technical writing that occurs no matter what format that writing is in. Things to consider include usability, ethics, clarity, legal compliance, cultural awareness, and design.  Technical writing in the digital landscape has a design aspect that has more adaptability that can have a major effect of how the writing is perceived. There is such a wide range of applications and responsibilities for the writer that are effected because of the digital landscape.

Discovery

While the readings were interesting, the most important part to me was not gaining new knowledge but rather a change in perspective.  Information consumption is very high, especially for anyone who has access to a computer and as someone who grew up during the development of the internet,I had never reflected on the changes in my own information consumption.  In 2001, during fourth grade, I wrote a report on volcanoes, where my only research was done through books. However,by the time I wrote a report on European countries in seventh grade all my research was online, showing a rapid transition in how I was consuming information in period of just three years.  Reflecting on those two reports showed the transformation in accessibility of information that society has undergone.  A user-centric approach becomes most sensible when the information evolves from being solely a printed resource to becoming a communication channel that invites people from all over the world to learn and access knowledge.

Application

As a technical writer my main focus has always been creating basic user manuals for my job position.  I have never focused on the design it has always been a dry piece of writing with only screenshots to show steps to ensure that the writing is as clear and concise as possible saved PDF form. I have never considered how I would write outside of the company position where everyone would potentially have access to my writing as I am very single minded in that regard. I am not an authority in any field, however the thought that I could have a digital work that would bring someone a change in perspective really interests me.  However to be able to accomplish that goal I must have a through understanding of my audience and what means to write in this digital landscape. I would need to be able to capture my audience's attention through the design and writing instead of relying on the fact that in order to know about my job and train they have the manual, which is my current place in the digital age of technical writing.

Weekly Reflection

This is one of my first courses in this graduate program so other than the thought that this can help me with my job, I have not thought of taking on a technical writer persona. I am just a life long learner, who believes that if you do not keep upgrading your abilities you will become obsolete so thought that this was a good degree to expand my basic skills. My goal for the coming week in this course is to reflect on my place as a technical writer and where I want to develop.  I have mainly focused on creative writing in my free time and only utilize technical writing for my job if necessary.  My job deals with numbers not writing generally so I need to reflect in how I will develop beyond the current boundaries I am used to working in.

Theresa Baraga

I am working toward a Master of Arts in Technical and Professional Writing from MGA. Currently I am working as a tax accountant and am exploring 3D printing as a hobby.
Las Vegas, NV