In the National Spotlight

12 09 2010

by Kit Kittrell
Newsletter Editor

STC’s Live Web Seminars Give Members a Chance to Share their Strengths

Every member to STC has knowledge to share – Roger Renteria and Greg Koch, two STC members of the local Albuquerque, NM chapter recently reinvented their presentation from the 2009 Altanta National Conference on September 8, 2010 with a nationally advertised STC Live Web Seminar, Revisiting the Benefits and Pitfalls of Social Networking Sites.

We spoke with the presenters about their experiences during this process. Both Roger and Greg have long been users of social networking sites, including Facebook, and over the years each has “cultivated an online presence… that included friends in my age group.”  So, when it became time to consider how they could contribute to the STC body of knowledge, their intimate understanding of social networking was a natural choice.

The presentation came about because “many businesses and organizations were turning to social networking sites as a new place for marketing to a large audience.” Greg and Roger realized their experiences with social networking could help professionals in the field out there, who  “have had bad luck using these sites because they weren’t aware of the potential downfalls associated with them. Yet, as Roger notes, “the next greatest push for professionals in our field is to fully embrace computer communications as an extension of their desk and office environment.” So an idea was born to give an in-depth primer to success in social networking; “we think that the benefits outweigh the risks, only if people are aware and take better care of their online presence.”

Because of the relevance of the topic, Greg and Roger were invited to present an online STC Live Seminar, with updated content for the year 2010. “We had to update our slides to reflect the most current information that is out there about social networking sites. A lot has changed since we presented in 2009, but the core functions of social networking sites haven’t changed. Most of the changes were privacy features and new features that were not there a year ago.”

Roger and Greg, having presented at both the National Conference and, using InterCall, the current STC Webinar, felt there were some key differences to the formats which STC members may consider when preparing to share their knowledge across the professional association. Roger mentioned that with a larger group of 60 attendees, “it was clearly harder to stay focused …because I had to pay attention to my body language, eye contact, and voice. During the webinar, I had the comfort of …my notes and [could] send chat messages to the attendees via the program we presented in. Greg and I also had the ability to send instant messages between our speaking turns to discuss some of the questions that were asked by the attendees in the chat window. We wouldn’t have that ability to converse if we were presenting at the conference.”

Yet, presenting via a webinar is clearly a more technically complicated task, especially with these presenters being located nearly across the country from one another. “We had to work between two time zones and several thousand miles apart.” Using all aspects of current web communication technology, including instant messaging, video/voice chat, texting, email, and PowerPoint, the web seminar required much preparation; “we rehearsed our presentation three times using Skype. It was the closest that we could mimic the software that the webinar was being hosted on.”

Ultimately, the presentation was a marked success for both STC professionals, and Roger added “this experience has brought me some great opportunities in the profession of technical communication. I believe that getting out there is the best step to make stronger professional connections with others.”

If you missed Greg and Roger’s presentation, check out our online Archive for currently available presentations from Live Seminars and our 2010 National Conference.

Roger Renteria recently graduated from New Mexico Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication. His interests are in visual design and rhetoric. He was the editor-in-chief of the college student newspaper for two years prior to interning at the university’s Public Information Office. He is currently the Secretary for the New Mexico Kachina STC Chapter and is looking forward to the next opportunity to share his skills and talent.

Greg Koch is currently attending Rochester Institute of Technology pursuing a masters degree in information technology. He graduated from New Mexico Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication in May 2009. He presented on twitter aggregators at the STC Annual Summit in 2010. He served as the president of the STC Trinitite Student Chapter and was the lead web developer and designer for New Mexico Tech. He currently works for MS Networks in Rochester.

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