Category Archives: social

Year Two: Master of Science Program

I’ve been hiding a bit from the larger world of technical communication because I have been quite busy plugging away at work and continuing my master of science program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend the 2018 Society for Technical Communication Summit. This was purely my own decision.

Photo of Roger

What have I been working on?

In 2017, I had quite a year of fun projects at work, hobby, and school which I am continuing to improve my craft as a technical communicator. Here’s a rundown of what I have done:

Website Usability Study (Masters Program)

  • Conducted a usability study for a website
  • Understood various usability study methods

Possible Thesis Study (Masters Program)

  • Developed a prospectus to investigate and define the field of content strategy
  • Studied how technical communication and content strategy are intertwined co-fields Website Team Project

  • Contributed to the UI/UX initial discovery phase
  • Performed card sorting exercises for a specific navigation function
  • Conducted back-end testing on a new template
  • Documented new processes for content contributors

Social Media Promotions

  • Ran regular advertisements for enrollment
  • Created different ad sets based on target audiences
  • Analyzed advertisement results to find a baseline
  • Improved consistency of posting for various social media channels I manage

WordPress Maintenance + Improvements

  • Reverse-engineered a few websites
  • Migrated websites from HTTP to HTTPS
  • Automated certain processes to simplify WordPress maintenance

Wait…what else?

Glad you asked! (Instead, I asked myself this question). I’ve been doing some awesome new marketing tactics as my work is moving toward the world of social media. But that doesn’t mean I’m losing my roots in technical communication. I know that the social world is a fun new role which I get to practice writing FAR more efficient than normal.

Instead of writing in long swooping sentences. How can I edit and distill information in a way that is high-impact, relevant, punchy, and still maintain that voice. It is a completely different animal and I’m gonna begin learning and honing that craft. I know that social media was my first foray in the professional world of technical communication (I co-presented in 2008 in Atlanta about social media). This time, after ten years, there is so much more to learn from social media since it is becoming something we see more often instead of traditional media.

Is Traditional Media Dead?

I am not sure traditional medias are out, but they are being transformed into their digital cousins. I can’t necessarily rule out traditional media. We still have paper and it’s being duplicated by digital. Rather than dying out, there is movement to make smaller productions and reset the expectations traditional media had. Most of this happens to be the shift to mobile devices. We are having to do more with fewer resources (primarily stretching our money further) and shift to trends. The data proves it. Google it. The library did a similar transformation years ago and the places that did so are thriving in a surprisingly positive way.

MSTPC - Communication Strategies for Emerging Media

Musings on Communication Strategies for Emerging Media

Last fall, I participated in the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication (MSTPC) program class on communication strategies for emerging media.

During the class, our assignment was to write blog articles about the assigned readings and discuss with the class about our take on this field. Below are my blog posts. Feel free to read them as I make my journey to become a master in the field of technical communication.

Each of these posts I wrote has a compelling story as well as a fresh perspective on the field. My approach in this class was to write in a casual and professional mode. My intent was to write to a wide audience who would enjoy reading about technical communication, communication strategies, and emerging media. Let me know in the comments what you think and maybe point to any topic I should cover next on my own blog!

I’ll be back regularly posting about my experience with usability testing, user experience studies, and content strategy soon. There has been a lot I have been working on in the last few years that I want to share with you.

Photographs Example

Photo Tips to Increase Your Social Media Impact

When you browse social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, what attracts you to a post? Is it the neat picture, the impressive thought of the day, or someone else’s shared post?

For me, it’s usually interesting topics and neat pictures. Pictures are liked twice as many (or more) times than text posts.

It’s true. I first experimented with posting more photos in March 2014 when I went to Washington DC and New York City. I did the same when I went to Rochester, Toronto, and Chicago on separate instances.

Lately my photos have been fairly well-received from my social media network. Even Klout notices my social media impact.

Klout Social Media Engagement Impact Score

Klout shows how much of an impact I have on my Facebook network.
The more filled in dots, the greater the social media engagement I have on my posts.

What prompted me to take more pictures is to share my world with my network and elevate the experience people get when browsing sites like Facebook. I also want to set the standard for showing what you can do with a smart phone, great timing, and a few photo processing steps.

The first time I heard about using graphics to increase social media engagement wasn’t from my experience, but from Viqui Dill, who mentioned posting graphics and images on social media during our co-presentation at the STC 2013 Summit Leadership Day pre-conference seminar. She is absolutely right that photos will increase the chances people will engage more often, such as sharing or liking your photo.

My Simple Guide for Using Photos in Social Media

Having quality content is key to increasing social media interaction. For example, I think about the following actions when taking a great photo on my smart phone to get the most social media attention.

Take multiple photos

Take half a dozen or more shots. You can delete unwanted ones later. It just takes a few more seconds, but you’ll have more chances to get the right photo.

Multiple Shots

I took multiple shots of my subject matter. Mostly because she couldn’t stay still for the shot that I eventually wanted. One shot is never enough and I can always delete the ones I don’t like (especially the blurry ones).

Compose your shot

Adjust your photos for lighting, focus, and composition (tap your smart phone to adjust for lighting and focus; zoom in or get a closeup for great compositions). For more composition techniques, read up on how to use your camera phone for taking great photos.

Adjusting Composition

Adjust the composition, such as zooming in or tapping the screen to adjust the focus or brightness.

Choose your photo

Pick one that looks great out of your smart phone shoot.

Adjusting Composition Better

After tapping the screen to focus the lens, the picture turned out better. It’s not perfect for this example, but you clearly see the idea in action.

Enhance your photos

Use the built-in photo app to add filters, crop, or rotate (or use another app like Adobe PS Express for finer tuning)

Adjust Filters

The basic Facebook app is pretty nice to make quick adjustments before uploading your photos.

Use Other Apps

Other apps like Adobe PS Express gives you basic to advanced tools to adjust your photos.

Up, Up, Upload away

Upload the great photo to social media and watch social media engagement increase!

Experiment with your posts

Experiment with a variety of filters and adjustments. It really depends on what your audience likes, but now you can take better photos on your smart phone and post them to increase your social media engagement!

Photographs Example

Here are some examples of what you can post on Facebook using your smart phone. I simply adjust the colors to emphasize the photo.

Share your life

These techniques work for personal and business social media interactions. Plus people will always love a great photo of what you do in life.

Fun With Friends

Yep. You can get a lot of social media engagement just by having fun and posting great photos.