Category Archives: STC

  • 11

Why I Value STC Rochester

Category:Infosec Communicator,Leadchange,STC,STC Rochester,Uncategorized Tags : 

If you’ve been following this blog over the last month (Thank you!), you know I’ve been writing about how our local STC chapter is redefining its value proposition and rethinking how we engage our membership and the community. This blog entry provides a personal view of how STC Rochester is valuable to ME.

Benefits–Why I’m in STC Rochester

  1. The opportunity to network globally with leading technical communications practitioners.
  2. The opportunity to network face-to-face with the local chapter.
  3. Engagement with high level and challenging thinkers in the technical communications profession helps me sharpen my own thinking. Iron sharpens iron.
  4. Opportunities for recognition through tech pubs competitions at local and international levels.
  5. The opportunity to be a change agent, to impact a close circle of fellow practitioners in a positive manner.
  6. The opportunity to help an organization reinvent itself to keep pace with a changing profession and society.
  7. The opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to mentor others and help them advance in the profession.
  8. The opportunity to forge friendships with a great group of people who face similar challenges.
  9. The opportunity to participate in regional and international conferences.
  10. The opportunity to learn.
  11. The joys and challenges of casting a shared vision.
  12. The opportunity to learn and practice servant leadership.

Cost–The flip side

  1. $240 in direct costs for international and chapter membership (subsidized by my employer)
  2. Another $80-100 for different meeting fees, tech comms publication entries, etc.
  3. One evening each month for our admin council
  4. One evening each month for meetings, programs, etc.
  5. One full day for Spectrum, our regional conference
  6. Ten-twenty hours to prepare a presentation at spectrum
  7. Many “spare” moments thinking about what we can achieve this year as a chapter. (I’m not sure if this is a cost or a benefit.)
  8. Countless hours at the keyboard communicating with chapter leadership and the chapter as a whole.

Your turn

Why are YOU active in your organization?

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  • 4

Value Proposition or Vision Statement?

Category:Infosec Communicator,Leadchange,STC,STC Rochester,Summit,Uncategorized Tags : 

Our STC Rochester Council is working with Neil Hair‘s Marketing Concepts class at the Rochester Institute of Technology to develop a marketing strategy as we seek to redefine our value proposition as an STC chapter. Some members of the council had a status meeting with the Marketing Concepts class team earlier this week. The team is analyzing similar organizations in our area (ASTD, ISPI, IEEE, etc.) to determine how we compare on key activities and services.

The Marketing Concepts team’s initial slide was:

Value proposition

STC is the best network for excellence in technical communications

In our discussion at council and in following correspondence, we’ve had an extended discussion of what constitutes a Value Proposition. Although there’s been some confusion, including “what is networking,” I think we’ve decided that this is more of a Vision Statement than a Value Proposition.

Value propositions can be expressed in different ways. One way of looking at them is

Value = BenefitsCost

When STC raised its dues for 2010 to $240 per year for International +  Chapter membership, membership renewals plummeted.  For many of the members, the perceived Benefits were outweighed by the Cost.

According to Rackham (stolen from wikipedia), a Value Proposition should include the following:

  • Capability – what it is you do and how you do it
  • Impact – what benefits or difference your capability will make
  • Proof – what evidence substantiates your impact
  • Cost – the cost (or risk) of your capability and impact

If our Value Proposition includes these elements, it’s obviously a bit more complicated. We would have different value propositions for members, employers in our community, etc.

What about Personas?

Usability practitioners use Personas to help programmers visualize the different users of the software they’re creating.  A Persona is a fictional person whose “attributes” are based on different types of users and the business processes for which they might use the software. (This is obviously highly simplified.)

Could we use the concept of a Persona to help develop and articulate value propositions? Would it make sense to start with testimonials of specific members? Can I articulate the Value Proposition of STC Rochester for myself?

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  • 4

Determining our Value Proposition

Category:Infosec Communicator,STC,STC Rochester,Summit Tags : 

All of us wear a number of hats. One of my hats is president of the Rochester Chapter of STC (Society for Technical Communication), a professional organization of ~70 members locally. STC has struggled in recent years, with membership declining from ~20,000 worldwide a couple of years ago to ~8000 members today. The decline has been due to a number of factors–questions of relevancy, maybe the bad economy, rising dues, aging membership, etc.

The decline in both local and international membership is causing us to reexamine who we are and what value we bring. In other words, what’s our value proposition?

Our STC Rochester leadership council is working on this issue. What value do we provide to our local members? What value do we provide to our community, especially to local employers?

A key input for redefining our value proposition is understanding who our membership is.

Technical communicators work in a number of fields. We’re not all technical writers. Some of us write marketing materials. Some of us design training. Some of us may be grant writers. Others may work in usability. As the business base in Rochester has changed from large manufacturing companies–Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, AC-Delco, etc.–to a number of small companies, the number of straight “technical writer” jobs available has decreased significantly. In other words, our membership is heterogeneous and requires a wider breadth of programs/activities addressing their needs and interests.

This week we started defining goals for our chapter. We’ll see where that takes us.

Open Mike: Blogging with Mike Hughes

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  • 8

Twitter Use at #STC10 Summit

Category:Infosec Communicator,STC,Summit

One of the more surprising things to me at the STC Summit conference this year was the frequent use of Twitter. It was used for arranging informal and “official” Tweetups and for summarizing the content of various sessions. It seemed like there were a lot of different people tweeting, but I wasn’t sure how many people were involved and exactly what they were tweeting about. Although I didn’t conduct a rigorous analysis, I think the results are interesting.

Methodology and results

I set up an RSS feed in Google Reader prior to the conference so I wouldn’t “miss anything.”  Google Reader provided the following Twitter frequency graph. (The orange bar is the number of tweets I had read.)

summit 10 twitters

Graph of Twitter use during and immediately after Summit STC10

After manually exporting the tweets from the Google Reader RSS feed to a notepad file and removing the hash tags “#stc10” and “#stc11,” I produced the Wordle below. (And yes, I’m sure there was a better way to do this!)

Summit STC10 Tweets

Wordle of the tweets containing #stc10 or #stc11 from 4/30 through 5/6/10

Using the online word frequency analyzer and phrase analyzer at https://www.writewords.org.uk, I was able to get a sense of whose Twitter handles appeared most frequently at Summit.

Top Ten Eleven Twitter Handles (Occurrences)

125 techcom
108 afox98
85 bwoelk
83 whitneyhess
80 willsansbury
79 techcommdood
68 suredoc
65 stc_org
63 debdebtig
63 sushiblu + jgillenwater87
58 ninety7

Selected Keywords (Occurrences)

434 stc
339 rt
121 great
106 sig
95 dallas
89 summit
69 content
67 session
67 good
64 conference
43 tweetup
41 community
31 dinner

Negative Words (Occurrences)

10 bad
3 terrible
1 sucks
1 suffering

Contrary to some expectations, “beer” was not the most commonly used word in the tweets appearing only 13 times. (I’m not sure if there’s any correlation, but “karaoke” also appeared 13 times.)

Conclusions

In my opinion, Twitter provided a sense of community and a “conference within a conference.” Most tweets were positive, implying that many of the Twitter users enjoyed the conference. Very few of the tweets were negative, and usually referred to specific sessions or problems with the site for the Tweetup. Personally, I found that using Twitter enabled me to make connections that I never would have attempted had they started face to face.

Prior to Summit, I had not been a heavy Twitter user, although I had tied postings from two Facebook Pages I administer,  RIT Information Security and STC Rochester,  to Twitter accounts.  I look forward to using it at future conferences and seeing what new connections it enables.

The “raw” data is available upon request.


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