Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Yesterday was the 4th and, as usual, my wife and I went to watch fireworks. It was great!

We went to the Marietta Square where they had cordoned off the entire square area downtown and turned it into a party! There were numerous activities for the kids (the is the first year we didn't have at least one of our grandsons with us), food, ice cream, entertainment (Carolina Rain was the band, if you know anything about country music!), and then the fireworks. It was a great time! We really enjoyed the fireworks. And, when it was over, we hustled back to my new truck to get out of there, but that wasn't happening! The entire city of Marietta and surrounding areas had descended on Marietta and we couldn't even get into the street from our parking lot.

So we locked up the truck right there and went back to the square to watch the winding down of the celebration. There were garbage trucks picking up the tons of garbage, the slides and jumping enclosures were being deflated and removed, people were looking for something to eat (but all the venues had closed), and the people were milling around waiting to be able to leave. There had been three trains during the evening right by the square. One more passed as we tried to get to the Krystal restaurant so we could get something to drink! These trains are long and some of the cars are painted with graffiti. They looked like gang painting or what I have always thought of as gang painting.

During this long evening, I thought about the celebration and how it relates to technical communication. There were Police Explorer units that had to receive training on crowd control. (Written by a TC!). There were the fireworks crews who had to have some training on how to run a fireworks display. The personnel running the trains had to have some instruction on how to run a train. The warning lights and cross arm for the trains had to have instructions in how to put them up and how they work.

And on and on and on! We must realize that our profession touches the lives of many, many people. Even the new driver golf club I purchased the day before had technical specifications on the shaft, the flex, the head, the grip, and more. I had to read through all of the specs on all of the drivers to help me decide which one to buy! There is nothing we don't touch. So when people say the technical writing profession is dying, I just wonder where they are coming from. I suppose our profession is becoming more and more specialized. We have user experience gurus and many other specialists, but, when you look really close, aren't they all technical communicators?

Hope you had a great 4th as we did!


Milan said...

"So when people say the technical writing profession is dying, I just wonder where they are coming from."

Not so much dying, I think, as having to share the stage with a growing array of other skills in areas such as graphic design, publishing, archiving, and so on.

See this discussion on the STC Forum.

Al Hood said...

I agree to a point. I just feel that technical writing is the core that is always there! No mater if you are working in graphic design, publishing, archiving, and on and on, you must be able to translate technical informaiton into a usable form. That is the essence of technical writing. It will never die as long as there are technical things that need to be interpreted. My opinion, for what it's worth!

Anonymous said...

Nicely written, insightful 4th of July piece. We do all forget that the more technology and rules of all sorts are out there, the more text someone is writing to try to bring users and practitioners up to speed. We will never be born with innate knowledge of these things. Even if everything goes to spoken video instruction and/or interactive learning, someone will still need to document the item in a million ways, make the instructions for users, and write the scripts. It sure is nice to know that technical communicators are essential.

Al Hood said...

Yes, we are essential. I just wish the "powers that be" realized it!