Content For A Convergent World
About This Blog
Starting in 2009, this blog covered a variety of topics related to Peg Mulligan's interests as a Content Developer, who had worked in high technology settings for the last ten years. Previous to that, she was an instructor in secondary, university, and government settings, with a focus on teaching writing, literature, and history. The continuity in her different roles had been her love of learning and sharing content with others, whether it was through written instructions, explaining in person, or interacting through a variety of online and offline media.
I applied for and to my amazement received a grant to restore this website in an effort to preserve Peg's legacy a bit. The Web Archive Project recommended I use TNG Earthling, Inc. to handle the preservation and archiving of the original content. Principals Bob Sakayama and Rev Sale are active supporters of the WAP and have resuscitated many historically important sites for use by schools and agencies. Most are used as part of course material and accompany lectures and seminars on various topics of interest. Many have historic significance and this site appears to fit that category from a cultural snapshot perspective.
The title of this blog, “Content for a Convergent World,” refers to the intersection of technology with communications. It also refers to different types of content, as so well-described in Vince Giorgi ‘s post, “Is It Content? Software? Let’s Call It a Branded Experience.” For Giorgi, a good working definition of content is as follows:
“Value-adding information, interactions, and experiences by which brands engage and build affinity with the audiences vital to their business success.”
In this view, content encompasses, but is ultimately “so much more than words.” Giorgi describes content as “not only white papers and webinars” but also “widgets, generators, configurators, and calculators that let customers, prospects, or stakeholders accomplish real work, or real lifestyle fulfillment.”
Giorgi draws inspiration for his post, from Hillel Cooperman, who formerly directed the Windows user interface team at Microsoft, and is the more recent founder of Jackson Fish Market. At a recent conference, Hillel proposed that “software and content are becoming so intertwined, there’s no longer much point in drawing any distinction.
Exploring this “content-software convergence,” or in broader terms, this communications-technology convergence, is the purpose of this blog.
In addition to technical communication (my primary area of expertise) and technology, I examine related disciplines, topics, and trends, including content marketing, user experience, instructional design, and most recently (and very enthusiastically)—social media.
About once a month, I write about using social media for good in my ongoing Live with Abundance series, which celebrates the human spirit, provides stories of inspiration, and highlights various causes and nonprofessional interests. (I welcome guest bloggers in general, but most especially for this ongoing series.)
Through my posts, I hope to engage other technical communicators, content & social media marketers, user experience specialists, instructional designers, product managers, customer experience specialists, and the many other technical colleagues who make my line of work such a rich, cross-disciplinary experience.
I welcome your comments and participation in helping to shape this blog, especially as the convergence of communications with technology touches every professional discipline. As Content Wrangler Scott Abel notes (as @scottabel, on Twitter):
“Digital acumen is no longer a niche capability; it’s part of the central and requisite skill set for all knowledge workers.”
Thanks for joining me here, as through my posts, I explore the digital acumen, so necessary for all knowledge workers to remain competitive in today’s global workforce.
About Peg Mulligan
Hello, and welcome to Content for a Convergent World. I'm Peg Mulligan, a technical writer, who has worked in the Boston area for more than ten years, in both permanent and contract roles.
Curently, I also contribute to MarketingProfs Get to the Po!nt newsletters on search engine marketing and was included in C.B. Whittemore's e-book, Social Media's Collective Wisdom: Simplifying Marketing With Social Media.
My experience includes writing from scratch, or updating in maintenance mode, a wide variety of technical documents, including administration guides, installation guides, user guides (including online help), and release notes.
I've also written web page content, product descriptions, white papers, style guides, and online marketing newsletters.
As Lead Writer or the lone Technical Writer, I often participate on Program Management teams.
I have a Masters in Technical and Professional Writing from Northeastern University, in Boston, MA, with a concentration in Writing for the Computer Industry.
Additional coursework includes Human Factors, Usability Testing, and User Interface Design from the Information Design Certificate program (now known as the User Experience Design Certificate program), offered by Bentley University.
Two summers ago, I completed Inbound Marketing Certification through HubSpot's inaugural Inbound Marketing University, with a focus on blogging, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis.
I am passionate about the social web, and especially interested in best practices for technical communication in a social media world, inbound marketing, and search engine optimization.
I write and host posts on using social media for good in the ongoing Live with Abundance series.
When I'm not blogging, I enjoy spending time with the family, hanging out with my labrador retrievers, cooking, camping, and listening to my iPod. I've been known to squeeze in a tap dancing class.
Multiple endorsements of my work are available on my LinkedIn profile. I'm also active on several Twitter accounts (@ConvergentWorld, @socsearchnews, and @techcommnews).
To engage with like-minded content developers, see Content for a Convergent World on Facebook.
For more information about my availability for permanent or contract roles, or to ask general questions about this blog, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog is published for information purposes only, and the author is not responsible for any consequences that might arise due to use or misuse of any information herein.
The views expressed here are the author's alone, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's employers (past, present, or future), or other organizations.
Odds and Ends: Week of 1/2 – 1/8
Greetings from Boston
Happy New Year. How was your first week of 2011?
The main challenge for me, was getting back into a routine, settling the kids in school again. You never saw a sorrier bunch, as reluctant to get out of bed last Monday, as the three kids I had on my hands, trying to get off to school this week.
…but the transition is complete! We're all back into our groove now, after a really nice week off together.
Highlights from the last week:
- I was super charged this week to see a number of new technical writing jobs posted. I spent a lot of time customizing cover letters and sending out resumes, as is my habit these days. Nice to see the pick-up and to have already received some encouraging responses.
- Wearing my marketer's hat, I submitted my latest newsletter on search marketing for MarketingProfs. I was also psyched about the launch of MarketingProfs new daily newsletter. Have you signed up for it? (Did I mention it's for free, and that I'm a Contributing Writer?) :-)
- On Tuesdays at 2:00, I've been attending Chris Brogan's Kitchen Tables Talks with Joe Sorge, available for small businesses, via the Pulse Network. This week, on Episode 5, I enjoyed the discussion with Bob Burg co-author of the book The Go-Giver. I found this cool, related article, "What is a go-giver?"
- On Wednesday, I attended MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World. For anyone running a small business, full-time, or on the side as I'm in the process of launching here, Digital Marketing World is a great free virtual conference, offered monthly on a range of topics, including demand generation, social media, e-mail marketing, and lead management.
- This week, I subscribed to and started receiving Chris Brogan's Blog Topics. For $10.00 per month, Chris offers weekly writing prompts, which you can customize to your own blog's themes, as well as tips to help jump-start your writing, in the new year.
On the agenda this weekend:
…making a double-decker chocolate cake (my family's version of a Three Kings cake), in honor of Epiphany, which was Jan. 6th, earlier in the week. Each year, we make this cake, as the finale of our Christmas celebration.
I'm also attending a Twelth Night celebration, accompanying my widowed Dad, a retired park ranger historian for many years at Minuteman National Historical Park, to a holiday celebration, at his old stomping ground, in Concord, MA. (I have many happy memories there, especially as a teen, giving tours as a volunteer, at the Old North Bridge and at The Wayside: Home of Authors.)
A look at the week ahead:
- Tues. at 2PM Eastern (1/11/11): I'll be joining Awareness Inc.'s webinar, Get Content, Get Customers with Joe Pulizzi, which will take a look at content, as the future of marketing.
- Tue. Night (1/11/11): It will be great connecting with fellow Boston Linchpins, at our Meetup, in Burlington, MA.
- Wednesday (1/12/11), 12 pm or 9 pm Eastern: I'll be attending #tcchat, a weekly online Twitter discussion, specifically for technical communication. This week's topic: HTML5.
- Thursday (1/13/11), 12 pm Eastern: As a Linchpin and a MarketingProfs Pro member, I'm also really looking forward to the online seminar, "Kick Off the New Year With Seth Godin: 57 Ways to Connect With Customers and Get Them to Spread Your Ideas for You."
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I still have a weekend at home with Kevin and the kids…and a chocolate, double-layered cake to make, with the assistance of some small helpers—one of my favoritest things to do, this yule-tide season. And a special Sat. night date, with my Dad, no less.
So, that's a bit about me. How about you? Is your new year off to a good start? Do you have any resources to share? Or interesting projects, this coming week? Are you a small business owner or consultant? If so, here's another great resource: Small Business Conferences, Events, and Webinars for the New Year.
Have a great week…If you enjoyed this post, or have suggestions about future topics, please consider leaving a comment.
Photo Credit, Briles Takes Pictures
Introducing the Odd and Ends Series
Introducing the "Odds and Ends" Series
Keep In Touch
I used to be a prolific letter writer, as a kid. I had a few pen pals, usually friends who had moved away, or others whom I had met through pen pal organizations, as far away as China. Even as an adult, I wrote to relatives in Scotland for years, after a trip I took there with Kevin (now otherwise known as hubby), some eighteen years ago.
At the time, my pen pal exchanges were such rewarding experiences, which really opened up my view of the world, and vicariously connected me to others in such rich, and often unexpected ways.
That pen-pal tone is what I'm aiming for in this new series–"Odds and Ends" posts–in between the more resource-driven posts, which are a major part of my own professional development, and possibly useful to others, who share similar interests in content strategy, development, or management.
But in the spirit of making this blog more of a two-way conversation, I'm hopeful these "Odd and Ends" posts will let you, my readers (there are a few of you still lurking out there…thank-you!) in more on my little world, as well as provide a better way for me to get to know you, too.
Perhaps in the process, the resources I provide here, will better meet your long-term needs.
I'd also like to learn from you and understand what questions you have about this blog's themes. Or whatever else is on your mind. I may not know the answers, but whatever you're thinking, some other reader is likely thinking as well, and it would be nice to tackle these topics together.
I'm not sure how this hybrid approach is going to work, or how often I'm going to write these more personal "Odds and Ends" posts, in what I still intend mainly as a professional blog. But let's give it a try, shall we? (For starters, I'll let you know how I'm spending this weekend. Stay tuned.)
In the meanwhile, what do you think about this new approach? Are there any topics you'd like to see covered, in the new year? What is your major reason for returning, if you've been here before?
If this is your first visit, a warm welcome. How can I help you?
New Year, New Direction (in Three Words)
I'm usually the least contrarian person there is, except when it comes to making New Year's Resolutions. There's something I annually resist about setting resolutions on a day I'm supposed to, just because everyone else is doing it.
The only analogy I can think to explain it are my in-laws–Depression-era and very frugal–married for more than fifty years, and the strongest example I know, of a couple who demonstrate what marriage is really all about.
It always still amuses me a bit each year, when they refuse to buy each other Valentines. According to them, the whole holiday is a lot of nonsense that the stores made up, just to make money. Instead of cards or extravagant gifts, they usually just write an affectionate or humorous note to each other, and leave it somewhere, for the other to find, unexpected.
Actions not words.
So, that's why I resist annual New Year's resolutions. And also probably because of what my friend Marie mentions in her post, "How to Keep New Year's Resolutions,"—that being how many of us set resolutions based on a negative, which almost always sets us up for failure. For according to Marie, we often set the wrong resolutions:
Perhaps the reason we stumble and fall short of the ideals to which we aspire, is often because we make the wrong resolutions, resolutions focused on what we don't like about ourselves. Instead, why not think about bringing alive something in you that wants to express itself?
Invest. Reimagine. Connect.
I like Marie's approach of building on positives that we're already working on or good at, as well as the approach a lot of Boston bloggers take, inspired by Chris Brogan's example of choosing three words to define your direction in the new year. This approach projects us forward into a new year, without saddling us with last year's negatives.
So here are my three words, for 2011. I provide examples mainly from my online networking and blogging effort here, but the spirit of these actions apply to my broader professional and personal goals as well.
Invest. For example, on Twitter, I'm finding I get the most ROI for my time, in both a networking and professional development sense, by participating in more pre-defined chats, as opposed to random tweeting. In a similar way, I can think of at least a half dozen people online, whom I've already identified as more relevant to my blogging goals and immediate professional interests than others, and have started a dialogue, which I should cultivate. Or existing professional development memberships or networks (most especially my LinkedIn contacts) that I'm not making the most of, in my job-search, or small business initiative. That's where I should concentrate my efforts. Both online and off, I must make a conscious choice to narrow down my options and invest more in the opportunities, people, and repeated actions that are most likely to yield results.
Repurpose|Reimagine. On its most basic level, this applies to using the same source material in different ways, what the authors from Content Rules suggest as repackaging and reimagining content. I've built up a good body of work here, and I want to start leveraging that content on more platforms. For example, I intend on building up a much better presence on SlideShare, which would help launch more speaking opportunities, a direction I've probably always (at least unconsciously) intended, as a former teacher. 2011 is also the year I'd like to publish my own e-book.
In a broader sense, reimagining is such a wonderful metaphor for anyone looking for that next opportunity…what's transferable from our experiences, skills, and other life assets, that can carry over into that next big step?
Connect. For me, connect means continuing to make connections between different disciplines and seemingly unrelated ideas, including ways we can learn from each other. This applies to Web 2.0, reimagining content, and inter-connected uses for technology. It also means connecting more directly, whether that means attending more events in person, picking up the phone, or commenting on others' blogs. And helping others feel more connected here, by exploring different types of writing & topics, offering more video/audio, or asking more questions.
How About You?
Do you make resolutions? Do you keep them? What do you think about Marie's approach, of focusing more on bringing out something alive in us, as opposed to focusing on something we don't like about ourselves? What are your three words? How do we ensure these intentions become goals?