Social Networking for The Technical Writer
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Social Networking for The Technical Writer Document Transcript

  • 1. Social Networking for the Technical Writer using and together for networking, professional development and employment. By Mitch Willis www.twitter.com/mitch_willis www.linkedin.com/in/mitchwillis
  • 2. Table of Contents INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................ 3 Who should read this?.................................................................................................................................. 3 What is Twitter? ........................................................................................................................................... 4 Benefits of Using Twitter ............................................................................................................................. 4 USING TWITTER ....................................................................................................................................... 5 How to create a Twitter account: ................................................................................................................ 5 How to personalize your Twitter account .................................................................................................. 7 Access your Twitter account while away from your computer .............................................................. 10 Start acquiring followers ........................................................................................................................... 11 How to send a tweet.................................................................................................................................... 15 How to “Retweet” ....................................................................................................................................... 16 Benefits of retweeting:................................................................................................................................ 16 How do I retweet something? .................................................................................................................... 16 What is LinkedIn?...................................................................................................................................... 17 History of LinkedIn:................................................................................................................................... 17 Benefits ........................................................................................................................................................ 18 USING LINKEDIN:................................................................................................................................... 19 Contacts....................................................................................................................................................... 23 Recommendations ...................................................................................................................................... 24 Groups ......................................................................................................................................................... 24 CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................................... 26 2 Version 1.1
  • 3. Introduction “Communication--the human connection--is the key to personal and career success.” Paul J. Meyer - American Businessman In the last three years, social networking1 has become integrated into virtually all aspects of personal and professional communication. Each day, millions of people around the world use social networking tools like Twitter and LinkedIn to help them learn, network, grow professionally, make money and find employment by exchanging information and opportunities. The purpose of this document is to introduce technical writers with no social media experience to the benefits of using Twitter and LinkedIn together in a professional context. Who should read this? Technical Writing Students: You’re graduating in the spring. You want to get a job and get on with life. I’ll show you how you can use a Twitter account and LinkedIn account together to begin building an online presence for yourself. Freelance Technical Writers: You’re a hired gun, working alone from your home office. Before this current contract is done, you’re already accessing your network for any leads that will hopefully generate more work. I’ll show you how to use these applications to link up with new or existing clients that may already be online. Employed Technical Writers: You want to make sure you’re not the first to walk the plank when layoffs happen. So your interest is in using social media from a networking and professional development perspective. 1 http://jobsearch.about.com/od/networking/g/socialmedia.htm 3 Version 1.1
  • 4. What is Twitter? Twitter is a free, web-based, social networking and microblogging2 application. Twitter allows users to send text-based messages of up to 140 characters. Each message a person sends is called a “tweet.” Twitter Facts  93.6% of users have less than 100 followers, while 92.4% follow less than 100 people.  There are more women on Twitter (53%) than men (47%)  More than 50% of all updates are published using tools, mobile and Web-based, other than Twitter.com. TweetDeck is the most popular non-Twitter.com tool with 19.7% market share. -Source: http://cloudcomputing.sys- con.com/node/1026329 Benefits of Using Twitter You can use Twitter to:  Direct traffic to your LinkedIn profile.  Follow established players in the technical writing profession like Alan Pringle and Sarah O’Keefe of http://www.scriptorium.com/.  Companies like Adobe and MadCap that make software many technical writers use each day, like Framemaker and Flare.  Grow their professional knowledge by reading blogs3 and newsletters from organizations like The Society for Technical Communication.  Research a particular topic.  Pose questions and get rapid feedback.  Establish, reinforce and expand your personal brand.  Collaborate with another technical writer on a project. 2 Microblog: A mini blog. See Blog. 3 Blog: A web based journal. 4 Version 1.1
  • 5. Using Twitter How to create a Twitter account: 1. From your browser, go to www.twitter.com 2. If you’re signing up for the first time, left-click on the Sign up now option. 5 Version 1.1
  • 6. 3. You will be required to enter your full name, a username, a password and your email address. 4. Next, you’ll be prompted to enter two distorted words. This helps avoid allowing people to computer programs to automatically sign up for large numbers of Twitter accounts. 5. Click on Create my account. Now you have a Twitter account! The next step is to personalize it. 6 Version 1.1
  • 7. How to personalize your Twitter account While still logged in, left-click on Settings: This will take you to the Settings page, where you can personalize your Twitter account. While here, you may wish to set the following: 1. Time Zone – If you’re in Alberta, select Mountain Time. 2. More Info URL - Add the url4 of your blog or LinkedIn page. I recommend LinkedIn. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile yet, then leave this field blank for now and return to it after we’ve created your LinkedIn profile below. 3. One Line Bio - Try something along the lines of “Recent graduate seeking first technical writing job.” 4. Location - Add your city and province. 4 URL: Uniform Resource Locator. Your website address. 7 Version 1.1
  • 8. 5. Language - To reach the greatest number of people, I’d recommend leaving it on English. 7. Left-click on the Save button. TIP: Don’t protect your tweets if you want others to see them in the public time line. If you chose to protect your tweets, people might be less inclined to follow you and that defeats the purpose of using Twitter. The next step is to upload a professional photo of yourself. It adds a genuine element to your account and allows people to see that your tweets are coming from a real human being. Don’t worry much about the background. When you upload your photo, the picture will be tightly cropped. 1. Left-click on Browse. 2. Navigate to the location of the picture on your computer. 3. Select the photo and then left-click on Open. 4. Left-click on Save, wait a moment as your picture is uploaded. 5. If you don’t like the photo you’ve uploaded, you can left-click on the Delete current button and that will delete your photo from Twitter. Next, select a background. Twitter comes with a choice of customizable backgrounds. Avoid pre-fabricated backgrounds. Remember you’re trying to separate yourself from the hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter and build a personal brand. For those reasons, use a customized background. Here are some examples of people who “get it” and have created their own backgrounds: http://bit.ly/G3pBz Check out some of these sites for instructions / guidelines on how to create an image: http://bit.ly/Rj3M http://bit.ly/8JwlHc http://bit.ly/cZQa 8 Version 1.1
  • 9. Once you’ve created a background, the next step is to upload it. Assuming you are still logged into Twitter: 1. Left-click on Settings 2. Left-click on Design 3. Left-click on Change Background Image 4. Left-click on Browse and then navigate to the image 5. Left-click on open 6. Left-click on save changes 7. You’ll receive a message that says your profile customization has been saved. Now you should notice that you’re background has been changed. 9 Version 1.1
  • 10. Now you have a personalized Twitter account. Access your Twitter account while away from your computer If you have a smart phone, you can use it to access your Twitter account, send tweets or review other’s tweets you’re away from your computer. Follow the instructions below to use Twitter from your smart phone: Should you experience problems, check out the following link for more information: http://bit.ly/37Bh 10 Version 1.1
  • 11. Start acquiring followers Now that your account has been set up, you can start acquiring followers. 1. Left-click on Find People, you’ll see the following screen: 11 Version 1.1
  • 12. 2. Search for STCEdmonton Now that you’ve found it, you need to follow it. 12 Version 1.1
  • 13. 3. To do so, left-click on the grey button on the left that has the little silhouette on it. You’ll know you’ve done it correctly when you see the following: 13 Version 1.1
  • 14. Now, check who STCEdmonton is following, so you can start following those contacts. 1. Left-click on STCEdmonton. You will see the following: 2. Left-click on followers: You’ll be presented with a list of STCEdmonton’s followers. 3. Your next step is to left-click on the grey button with the little silhouette as you did previously and select all the people you want to follow. 14 Version 1.1
  • 15. Once this is done, you will have a list of people you’re following, but no followers. You will need to be patient here. The person you’re following will receive an email stating that you have decided to follow them. They then have the option to follow you or not. Some will follow and some won’t. Factors influencing this decision are:  A picture of yourself  Whether there is a bio of you  How many followers you have  How many tweets you have posted In most cases, if you chose to follow someone on Twitter, they will follow you soon after. Once you start to build some followers, I recommend being picky. You want this Twitter account to be a professional tool to open doors to valuable contacts and information. How to send a tweet You have everything set up and ready to go. Now for your first tweet! Short tweets are easy to post. Type in something you want others to know. This could be a link that you found on how to index or your thoughts on a particular technical writing subject and then left-click on update. Once the tweet is posted, you have the option of deleting it. If you are trying to post a link with a very large url, you’re going to want to shorten the url. Otherwise you run the risk of exceeding the 140 character limit. To shorten the url, follow these steps: 1. Go to http://bit.ly 2. Paste in the url you want to shorten. 3. Left-click on shorten and you will have a much shorter, but fully functional url to add to your tweets. 4. Left-click on copy and paste it into the tweet that you were composing. 15 Version 1.1
  • 16. How to “Retweet” Retweeting is the act of tweeting content posted by another user. “The format is RT @username where username is the Twitter name of the person you are retweeting.”5 Retweeting can occur in two ways: 1. You retweet something that a follower has posted. 2. A follower retweets something you’ve posted. Benefits of retweeting: Retweeting is a way to provide value to your followers, which in turn helps to build the number of legitimate followers you have. It’s also a way to endear you to others as retweets are viewed favourably by most people. How do I retweet something? Once you’ve found something you want to retweet: 1. Hold the mouse over the tweet, the entry will be highlighted in grey. Then you will see two options, reply and retweet. 2. To retweet, left-click on retweet. You’re presented with a message asking you if you want to post this to all of your followers. 3. Left-click on yes and then their tweet is retweeted on your profile for your followers to see. They will also see a message on their Twitter profile that you retweeted a particular post. TIP: If you want to get something retweeted: Don’t max out the 140 character limit when you’re typing something that you hope to have retweeted. You need to have at least two characters left so you can type in RT for retweet. 5 http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/R/Retweet.html 16 Version 1.1
  • 17. What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a web-based networking site for experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. It enables you “to find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals.”6 Latest LinkedIn Facts  LinkedIn has over 55 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world.  A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.  Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members. -Source : http://press.linkedin.com/about History of LinkedIn:  Founded on May 5th 2003 in Mountain View California, by Reid Hoffman and five others.  After one month in operation, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 members in the network.7 Some people will maintain that there’s no need to use LinkedIn, when they are already on facebook. I see facebook and LinkedIn as two separate entities, one dedicated to the “social” side of social networking and the other dedicated to the professional side. Another objection is that it takes too long to create a LinkedIn profile. While it’s true that it takes longer to create your LinkedIn profile than facebook or Twitter, it is well worth the effort. 6 http://press.linkedin.com/about 7 http://press.linkedin.com/history 17 Version 1.1
  • 18. Benefits: By using LinkedIn, you can:  Have access to potentially millions of professionals across the world:  Increase your visibility.  Generate leads.  Connect with new customers.  Keep your self up-to-date with the latest developments in the technical. writing field, like DITA8 and Topic-Based Authoring9.  Give and receive online references.  Discover local events and post information about your own events.  View company profiles.  Integrate into a new job.  Research your competition.  Gauge the health of a company or industry. 8 http://dita.xml.org/node/1178 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topic-based_authoring 18 Version 1.1
  • 19. Using LinkedIn: 1. From your browser, type in www.linkedin.com. You will arrive at this page: 2. Fill out the requested information. Then left-click on the Join Now button. 19 Version 1.1
  • 20. 3. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll need to begin work on your profile. 3. Once that’s done, left-click on the Continue button. 20 Version 1.1
  • 21. 4. Next, begin searching for contacts via email. Select your email provider and then follow the instructions. For this example, we’ll choose Windows Live Hotmail. The next step would be to log in and select from all of the available email contacts. They would then receive a notice asking them to connect with you via LinkedIn. You also have the option of skipping this step and returning to it later. 5. Once this is done, you’ll have to go to your email and confirm your address by left-clicking on a confirmation link that LinkedIn will provide you. 21 Version 1.1
  • 22. 6. After confirming your email address, you’ll also have the option of manually adding the email addresses of people you want to connect with. You also have the option of skipping this section and adding contacts at a later date. 7. Your 25% complete at this point. Next you will need to start fleshing out your profile. It’s important that you complete your profile. According to LinkedIn, people with completed profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Even though you’re offered the choice of importing your resume, I find that when you import a resume from your word processor into a web-based application like this, the formatting on your resume gets messed up and you spend more time fixing the problems than if you had added the entries manually. 22 Version 1.1
  • 23. When adding a picture, make sure it’s the same picture you used for your Twitter profile. In the website section, you have room for links to three websites. These are just suggestions: 1. Your online portfolio. 2. The STC website 3. A definition of technical writing. LinkedIn offers you the ability to link your Twitter account. Take advantage of this. Add your Twitter user name which links the two applications. When you add a tweet in Twitter, your LinkedIn status will be updated, saving you from having to log into multiple applications. Underneath the Twitter heading is Public Profile. You want to customize the url for your LinkedIn profile, ex www.linkedin.com/in/mitchwillis. It takes less space on a business card, or in an email signature. This is more user friendly than http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/mitchwillis/19/69a/83a Don’t worry about recommendations for now. Those will come once you’ve added some contacts. Make sure to fill the Honors and Awards section. If you’re an honor roll student, mention it here. If you’re a member of the STC and receive an award be certain to add it. Now that the basics are covered, we can concentrate on the most important aspects of LinkedIn:  Contacts  Recommendations  Groups. Contacts: Contacts are vital. A healthy, established network adds immeasurable value to your personal and professional life, helping you advance in your career and acting as a safety net when needed. Building a professional network takes time, so start today. 1. Begin with people you already know, the people you email and text each day. Use the import function in LinkedIn to import your desktop email contacts. If they’re eager about networking and professional development, they’re probably already on LinkedIn. If they are then invite them to connect with you. 2. Once you’re connected to them, you can view their profiles and see their contacts. Chances are that while reviewing their contacts, you’ll come across someone you both know and then you can add them as well, further increasing the size of your network. 23 Version 1.1
  • 24. Recommendations: Recommendations are online references. You can get them from previous or current employers you’re connected with on LinkedIn. LinkedIn advocates that you write a recommendation for someone and then they will reciprocate by writing one for you. Once you get that recommendation, you will have a chance to preview it, and then you have the option of allowing it to be posted. Student Technical Writers – Make use of teachers and classmates to get started with LinkedIn recommendations. If you did an internship as part of your education, ask your supervisor to provide one, provided they’re on LinkedIn. Freelance Technical Writers – Chances are good one of your previous employers is on LinkedIn. Look them up. Write them a recommendation. Employed Technical Writers – This is similar to the freelancers. Find people you’ve worked with, or currently work with and ask for recommendations. Follow up by writing recommendations of their work. Groups: Groups are another way you can get real value out of LinkedIn. There are hundreds of LinkedIn groups dedicated to every profession and topic. LinkedIn allows you to subscribe to a maximum of 50 groups. Some of them are hot beds of discussion and some are completely dead. So you’ll have to do some searching and experimenting to see what groups work for you. Groups are also an excellent method of cultivating more professional contacts. If you follow someone in a group and then end up corresponding with them, they are usually quite open to you adding them. But since this is a professional site, always ask them first via email. The majority of users are usually quite flattered that you’d want to follow them. 24 Version 1.1
  • 25. Join the following LinkedIn groups to start: Society for Technical Communications: Mainly focused on the US, but a great source of news, trends and discussion about the technical writing field. The job postings are almost entirely US in focus. This is a great place to familiarize yourself with the major issues and big names in the profession. ***Recommended Your Alumni Association: Whether it was Grant MacEwan or the University of Alberta, or another institution, be certain to join it. Technical Writer of Writers: A weird title, but they have some interesting articles and discussions. Twitter Strategies: Information on how to get the most out of your Twitter experience. ***Recommended Writing Mafia: A group devoted to all aspects of writing. Linked Strategies: Information on how to fully leverage LinkedIn. ***Recommended Users of MadCap Flare: Tips, tricks and general usage information on how to get the most out of MadCap Flare. Friends of Framemaker: Tips, tricks and general usage information on how to get the most out of Adobe Framemaker. Once you’ve filled out the LinkedIn profile, have someone you trust proofread your profile. Make sure it’s free of spelling mistakes and an accurate representation of who you are. 25 Version 1.1
  • 26. Conclusion Let’s review the strategy: 1. Get a Twitter account. Use it only for professional purposes. Add your photo and a customized background. Tweet something of value at least once a day. Follow leaders in the technical writing field. Put your Twitter address on a business card and in your email signature ex. www.twitter.com/mitch_willis. Follow local people of interest. Answer questions, provide a link or a referral - anything you feel will be helpful to someone. Build a reputation as someone who is knowledgeable and provides value with each post. 2. Get a LinkedIn account: Complete the profile. Add applications that reflect your personality, i.e. Books you’ve read, WordPress blog, etc. Import contacts from your desktop email. Search for people you know, currently work with or have worked with in the past. Add them. Write recommendations for people you feel deserve it. Join groups relevant to your profession. Link Twitter to your LinkedIn account. Add your LinkedIn url to your Twitter account. Using these applications together better positions you to market yourself and to take advantage of opportunities to educate, to network, to grow professionally and to hopefully find and maintain employment as a technical writer. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, or add me as a contact on LinkedIn www.twitter.com/mitch_willis www.linkedin.com/in/mitchwillis 26 Version 1.1