September 2011

15 09 2011

Inside this issue:


From the Editor’s Desk

15 09 2011
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Chapter STC!

Welcome to another jam-packed issue of Memo to Members!

Besides our usual columns (“President’s Corner,” “A View From Number Two,” and “If You Missed Last Meeting…”), W.C. Wiese has an update on how you can earn a coveted Orlando Chapter STC Active Member Shirt. Also, Dan Voss brings you an update from the front lines of a very successful Washlines XVII Mini Conference. Finally, you’ll get a glimpse at the international Society’s upcoming webinars.

Are you on Facebook? “Like” the Orlando Chapter STC at: Orlando Chapter STC on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: STCOrlando on Twitter

Do YOU have an article you’d like to submit for Memo to Members? Don’t be shy… email me at You will get an Active Member point for your submission.

Until next time,

Alex Garcia
Orlando Chapter STC Memo to Members

President’s Corner

15 09 2011

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Chapter STC

According to the calendar, we’re heading into autumn. Traditionally this is the time of year we send children (and teachers!) back to school, think ahead to holidays, and plan our productivity schedules. Well, our student members are back in school, we are planning holiday events for the chapter, and your Administrative Council is putting together programs of interest for the year—some more traditional and some more innovative. So Orlando Chapter is right on track.

Our August Washlines meeting was a huge success, offering a broad selection of sessions gleaned from the STC Summit held last spring in Sacramento. It was the next best thing to being there. Our Vice President, Debra Johnson, will be telling you about future programs that will be as good or even better.

In addition to our meetings, the chapter runs several very successful programs that may be of interest to you. The 2011–2012 mentoring program is getting ready to launch, with mentors and mentees waiting to be assigned to one another. But it is not too late to be “in the wings” as a possible mentor, should the need arise. If you have an interest in participating in the professional growth of the next generation of technical communicators, this opportunity is one you will not want to pass up. Dan Voss and Bethany Bowles are heading up that initiative. You may contact them directly at and, respectively.

The Orlando Chapter is committed to making our meetings more available to our distant members, particularly to accommodate busy schedules and out-of-city, out-of-county, and even out-of-state members. We will keep you posted as this plan evolves.

And since our Web site is our public face to the world, we have embarked on an overhaul of both the appearance and functionality of We anticipate having a new site to show you before the end of the year. I would like to thank those who volunteered to work on our Web Redesign Committee: Erika Higgins, Debra Johnson, Michelle Llamas, and Mike Murray. The committee has been hard at work reviewing the sites of other STC communities and making suggestions to be considered for implementation. As always, Jon Kessler, webmaster extraordinaire, will be the technical advisor.

We hope to see everyone at the next chapter meeting on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, and I look forward to greeting you there and hearing your ideas. I can always be reached by e-mail as well:

A View From Number Two

15 09 2011


Debra Johnson

by Debra Johnson
Vice President
Orlando Chapter STC

Debra is currently the Lead Documentation Specialist at Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Orlando, FL where she is responsible for setting up and leading the Technical Communications discipline within Wyndham’s Information Technology department.





Hi all…it’s September! School is back in session…hopefully the temperatures will start to drop…and wasn’t Washlines XVI amazing last month???…. We had eight amazing presentations that summarized our experiences from the annual STC Summit held in May. We shared food and drink and networked with some regular members, as well as, some new folks that joined us. We had a great turnout.

Ok, so now it’s time to announce our first chapter meeting program of the year.  It’s happening on Tuesday Sept 20, 2011. Hey that’s my birthday… that means we get CAKE!!!! Whoo Hooo!

We will be welcoming Tracy Rud, Senior Technical Writer, fiction author, my teacher and mentor, as well as, friend.  She is coming all the way from Atlanta, GA to share her story about her career path, what it’s like to write fiction, plus much more.  So please join us.
It will be a great evening.

Winter Park Civic Center

1050 Morse Blvd

Winter Park, FL 32839

Refreshments 6:30pm – Program 7:00pm

Remember…I am always looking for interesting speakers and topics if you have ideas.

So we’ll see you there….

Please RSVP  so we know you are coming and bring someone with you!!!

If You Missed Last Meeting…

15 09 2011

Michele Damron

By Michele Damron
Orlando Chapter STC

. . . you missed our annual Washlines celebration in which 2011 STC Summit attendees shared with us what they gleaned from conference sessions they attended. Washlines XVII: California, There We Went, featured 8 venues, 9 presenters, and a total of 18 mini-presentations. Venues included the Sierra Nevada Brewery, The Gold Rush, and the Blue Diamond Almond Factory, to name a few. Our presenters included Karen Lane, Debra Johnson, W.C. Wiese, Jim Clark, Patricia Cruz, Sarah Baca and Dan Voss, Paula Toth, and Dawnell Claeson. Attendees had a large selection of topics and interests from which to choose, and each of the 3 sessions provided a whole 25 minutes at a particular venue. Here’s a sample of some of the topics:

  • HTML 5: The Next Internet Gold Rush
  • TechComm2020: Get Vision Be Ready
  • Digital Self-Defense
  • Why Social Networking Matters
  • We Are All Content Strategists Now
  • Gaining, Sustaining, & Retaining Student Members: An STC Imperative
  • Change, Trust, Collaboration: Adapting to New Technologies
  • Forty-Nine Nuggets from the Conference

So if you didn’t make it to our August meeting, why not come on out and join us for our September 20 meeting? We promise you will learn a lot about Technical Communication and have an enjoyable time as well.

Washlines XVII Adds Luster To a Long, Golden Tradition

15 09 2011

Dan Voss

by Dan Voss
Washlines XVII Mini-Conference

Billed as a “gold mine” of information, Washlines XVII more than lived up to its billing as the Orlando chapter got the year off to a rousing start with nine attendees of the 58th international STC conference last May in Sacramento sharing information from sessions they attended and, in some cases, presented at the conference.

With topics ranging widely, from social media to certification to radically open documentation, and with a strong attendance that included several welcome new faces we hope to see back in September, it was an evening filled not only with information but also with fun.

Jim Clark entertains one of the two large and enthusiastic crowds that stormed his NorCal Sports venue.

W.C. Wiese, perhaps the only chapter member who has attended all 17 “Washlines” meetings (yours truly missed one due to surgery), said he felt this may have been the best ever.  “Participation was just outstanding,” W.C. said.  “Every table had at least a few participants in every rotation.  People were scribbling notes, asking questions, and enthusiastically discussing the topics.”

A measure of the success of the event was the fact that three of the eight “venues” didn’t close down even when the meeting was adjourned; animated discussion at those tables continued for at least 15 minutes into the after-meeting networking and clean-up time.  Indeed, at least half of the attendees stuck around for a half hour of additional information exchange and socializing.

We anticipate another terrific meeting on Tuesday evening, September 20th, featuring Tracy Rud, Senior Technical Writer and fiction author.  Post time, as usual, is 6:30 for refreshments and networking, 7:00 for the meeting.

With seven experienced chapter officers, twice that number of dedicated committee managers and “specialists,” and bolstered with an exceptionally enthusiastic crop of technical communications students from UCF, our Chapter of Excellence—and five-time Chapter of Distinction—is off to one of the best starts on a chapter year that we have ever had.  Don’t miss the information, the professional growth, the friendship, and the fun.  Come on down … we’ll keep a light on for you.  🙂

More Pictures After the Jump

September/October 2011 STC Webinars

15 09 2011 offers live webinars to expand your Technical Communication knowledge. Gather all your coworkers and tune in: pay per site, not per person.

Cost: Members $79 each; Not Yet Members $149 each, Student Member $29 each. All payments done through PayPal.

Note: Cost is transferable but is not refundable.

Note: The webinar platform does not support Voice Over IP (VOIP) for Apple Macintosh system. Participants using Macintosh computers can access all other functions of the platform and use the 800 dial-in number instead of VOIP.

Here is the exciting lineup for September and October 2011 (click on the titles to register):

Knowledge Transfer: New Opportunities for Technical Communicators

James Conklin

Wednesday, 21 September | 1:00–2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

What is knowledge transfer? Who is involved? What roles and activities are currently prominent in the field? What theories and research findings are currently dominating the field? How might technical communicators become involved and make a contribution? What roles might they fill and what activities might they engage in? Find out the answers to these and other questions with James Conklin, an STC Fellow.

Strategic, Competitive Professional Development

Andrea Ames

Thursday, 22 September | 4:00–5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

Are you developing professionally, every day, and in every way? If not, you risk more than you think. We often relegate professional development to the land of “nice to have.” In today’s challenging economy and business environment, you can’t afford to not continually add to your own professional value.

Google Analytics: Measuring Content Use and Engagement

Patricia Boswell

Wednesday, 28 September | 1:00–2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

If you have ever used a Web analytics tool to measure the traffic to your online documentation, you might have asked yourself, “I see these pageview numbers, but what more can I learn about my users and docs?” Given that Web analytics solutions are generally designed to measure online advertising and ecommerce strategies, your questions are understandable.

Metrics that Demonstrate the Value of Technical Communication

Vic Passion

Wednesday, 12 October | 1:00–2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

We often hear that it is critical that we speak the language of our executives, focusing on the dollars and cents of the projects that we engage in. Pair that goal with the fact that technical communication is often under-valued in organizations that focus more on R&D and technology. Learning how to plan for and measure against metrics will help technical communicators at all levels to demonstrate the value of their contributions to senior management and executives.

Change, Trust, Collaboration: Adapting to Single Source Technologies

Paula Toth

Wednesday, 19 October | 1:00–2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

From our early childhood play, we learned trust and collaboration skills. Projects, such as single-source, content sharing, and XML authoring, require broad departmental process changes and stretch these skills. How much we’re willing to explore new ways of establishing trust and collaboration, as well as our openness to learning new software and processes, are the biggest contributing factors to the success of a these projects.