Category Archives: STC

Posts related to Society for Technical Communication

I’m Back (again)!

Wasn’t I just in the States? Yeah, this is the busy conference season!  This time it was the Summit, STC’s big annual conference. This year STC returned to Dallas for what, IMO, was the best conference yet. Venue, speakers, sessions, attendees… everything was brilliant. The Summit also marked the end of my three-year term on the Board of Directors, and it was with a feeling of accomplishment (and a sign of relief) that I handed the reigns over to the new directors. Once off the Board, I actually had time to attend some sessions, and didn’t hit a single dud. From the latest usability data to Don Moyer’s hysterical napkin doodles, each session I attended was professionally delivered and rich in content. (Well, I can’t speak for my own sessions, but…)

While in Dallas, I paid homage to the infamous grassy knoll and visited the memorial.  Cheek and jowl with Dealy Plaza and the Book Depository is a small cry for tolerance: the Holocaust Museum. Yes, Dallas has one. It is small but very well done, and, I’m happy to report, well-attended.

In addition to the conference itself and seeing friends and colleagues from all over, one Dallas highlight was Bruce, the manager of Wild Bill’s.  Bruce spent close to two hour fitting me in the perfect boots for my oh-so-troublesome feet. Complete with boots and a hat, I got in touch with my Inner Cowgirl.   

Then it was on to Seattle for some quality time with my folks. Once again, I brought the good weather to Seattle, and we made the most of it. As usual, I stuffed myself on all the local goodies. In addition to family, I got to see a few friends from high school (yes, I had friends in high school), visit the zoo (Seattle’s Woodland Park is one of the best zoos in the country), walk around Seward Park, visit the International District (aka Chinatown) with my cousin, who introduced me to boba tea (aka bubble tea).

It’s that time again: Yes, Eurovision is almost upon us! Check out the update.

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Walking with Cows

Close encounters of the bovine kind: From this morning.

Dallas, here I come: Heading off to the STC Summit tomorrow.  Yee-haw!  I guess the cows were appropriate…

Rock Star

J’lem and back in a day: I survived the big shlepp down to Jerusalem for the Technical Communicators Conference sponsored jointly by Techshoret and STC Israel.  Turns out that about 20% of the attendees were former students, and it was really fun catching up with people. My keynote didn’t ruffle any feathers and, hopefully, made a few people think a bit more about professional development. Saw an excellent panel discussion on professional accountability in TC, chaired by a local Microsoft tech pubs manager (and client).

The trip down and back is long and exhausting, and the spring allergy season meant that I was on antihistimines. Wanted to sleep the whole next day!

Best joke of the day:

An American kid attends a Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem, where he is clearly the least religious person present. “You’re not very observant!” says his host.

“Why do you say that?” asks the kid. “Is it because I’m not wearing a kipa?”

“No,” replies his host, “it’s because your tie is in the soup.”

The Dues Debate

Time to renew your STC membership:  Here we are in December, and I have not yet renewed my STC membership.  Don’t get me wrong — I don’t intend for one moment to let it lapse.  I consider STC the key player in the development of our profession, and I’m in this for the long haul.  The only thing that has kept me from renewing is that I’m still debating: do I go for the less expensive, no-frills membership, or do I pay a bit more and get a lot more with a Gold membership?  The truth is, I function at a different economic scale than many of my North American colleagues.  I make a lot less, and my expenses can be a lot more.  We pay higher taxes.  Durable goods are waaaay more expensive.  Gas?  Last time I crunched the numbers and converted liters to gallons and shekels to dollars, it came out to about $6.80 a gallon.  (But don’t feel too sorry for me — we have medical care!)  And while I dearly wish that I could echo Hedke’s “I’ve made a million through STC” claim, I can’t.  But I have made substantial business contacts and can directly attribute at least 20% of my annual income to STC-related activities. And that certainly makes the difference between a basic “no frills” membership and the Gold membership seem like chicken feed.  STC members now get so much information and enjoy so much input compared to the “old” STC; go back even six years ago and you’ll see an astonishing difference.  The current office had inherited a real mess; they’ve spent the last few years overhalling infrastructure, getting us kosher with legal issues, and generally, well, running things like a real NPO.  Unfortunately, the economic crisis has many members blindsided, and they don’t understand why they can’t get the same stuff at the same price.  To them, I say:

  • This office and this board have done everything possible to cut expenses to the bone, while still providing quality services.
  • The Society is now being run at a more professional level (issues of legal compliance, necessary computer systems and software, and quality of staff).
  • The webinars and certificate courses are new. 
  • STC Notebook is new.
  • The diverse use of social media is new.
  • The complete overhaul of the conference is new.

The decisions about dues were made with much thought and research.  Splitting chapter dues out made sense based on the number of members who are not able to participate in a geographical chapter.  We knew we would get backlash, but we knew that this was the right thing to do.  It boils down to this: are you serious enough about your profession to invest?  To support the single most significant organization that is working to educate the world about the role and value of TC, while helping define our profession and train the next generation?  To take advantage of top-notch publications, webinars, courses, conferences? 

And, Hedke, from your mouth to God’s ears, make a million bucks?

OK.  Gold it is.

Too Close to Home

Farewell, Derek:  STC colleague Derek Torres of Paris passed away this week from the H1N1 virus. Derek was very active in STC, helping to form the Europe SIG. I met Derek at several European conferences and I had a lot of respect for him, both as a technical communicator and as an all-around nice guy.

I know several other people who have had the virus, but recovered. It makes every cough and minor symptom seem that much scarier.

A Post-conference Pause

Seattle sunshine: It is a weak and watery sunlight compared to the dazzle of home, but it is sun, and I’ll take it.  After the horrible heat and humidity of Atlanta, the cool air here feels lovely.

The conference was great, but intense.  Meetings, meetings, receptions, more meetings, conference sessions, more meetings.  There were several days in a row where I never stepped foot outside the hotel.  Stay tuned for conference pics!

Going, Going, Gone

stc-seeme-195x85One foot out the door:  Bags are packed and I’m outa here.  Catch y’all Stateside!