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Subject:Why this list? From:Mike Hamity <mhamity -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 15 Feb 1994 16:25:33 MST
In no particular order:
1. To find out what's going on out there. After twelve years at
IBM, I'm about to hit the real world (or, so the passivists may be
appeased, the real world is about to be hit by me.) TECHWR-L gives me
some insight into what it's going to be like. For example, I've kind
of figured out that barring a miraculous industry-wide migration
towards the mainframe environment in the next few weeks, I'm not
going to get much more mileage out of the mainframe tools I've known
and loved for the last twelve years.
2. To make friends and contacts in other places. As someone pointed
out several appends back, the technical communicators, information
developers, and just plain writers at IBM have had their own
electronic universe for years with dozens of lists. More than
a few people consider it one of the best aspects of the job
and more than a few people have made some long-lasting friendships
and business relationships as a direct result of the lists.
There's even a list called TEXTMOOT FORUM where travelers can say
where and when they'll be somewhere and someone on the other end will
set up a dinner or party for them. (The big game is to see if
people look anything like you thought they would based
on their writing.)
3. To get answers to questions about products and processes and
virtually anything else relating to technical communication work.
I've easily saved months of labor by using the information resources
available to me through the internal IBM lists.
4. To read and occasionally take part in the various debates,
and to use those debates to sharpen my writing. It really takes a
lot of skill and precision to successfully communicate complex ideas
and arguments to an online list. It's also real easy to sound stuffy
instead of sincere, whiny instead of apologetic, and mean-spirited
and cynical instead of witty or clever. Compared to writing a clean
note with the right tone, writing user's guides is easy.