We would like to congratulate the Rocky Mountain Chapter as the winner in the Communities Recruitment Race that ended on 6 May.  The Chapter members recruited a total of seven members. During the entire campaign, 25 Chapters participated, for a grand total of 48 members recruited.

Because of their outstanding efforts, the prizes below will be distributed to the winning Chapter:

  • One upgrade from 2016 Classic to Gold Value Package membership
  • 50% off one 2016 online course
  • A copy of WordPress in Depth (1st Edition) by Michael McCallister
  • One free 2016 print subscription to Intercom magazine
  • One free 2016 print subscription to Technical Communication journal
  • Two complete Salary Database kits (including the Excel workbooks)
  • Two $50 Amazon gift cards
  • One “Community Spotlight” post on STC’s Notebook blog

Please continue to spread the word about STC!

Congratulations again,

Cheryl Miller
Member Services Manager
Society for Technical Communication



Energized by the Summit? Consider TCUK 2016

by STC Staff on 25 May 2016

STC just wrapped up another great Summit in Anaheim, CA. It was a great week of networking, education, phenomenal speakers, and fun!

However, if you haven’t had your fill of great networking and education, Technical Communication UK is offering its member discount to STC members for its annual conference, TCUK 2016, 13-15 September. Bookings are open now! While the full program isn’t available yet, but it’s sure to be excellent. Early Bird prices are currently available! Click here for details, or email

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The STC CAC invites all leaders past, present and future to join us for a morning of connecting and learning. Please join us for the #STC16 Leadership Program on Sunday May 15, 2016 from 8:00 am – 12:30 pm PDT at the Anaheim Marriott Platinum 3 & 4.


The Leadership Program agenda has time set aside for one-on-one networking and ice-breaker activities. During the breakout sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to chat with your group about their superpowers and kryptonite. Come armed with a pile of business cards and swap contact information with the crew.


At the Leadership Program, you’ll pick up a pile of handouts and collect an assortment of Web links. Each of the presenters at the breakout sessions will bring their supporting material to share with attendees. The Community Affairs Committee (CAC) will give you a tour of our online resources, webinars, email lists, outreach team, and Body of Knowledge. Leave room in your suitcase for resources and swag.


Hearing your fellow professionals talk about the great things happening in their communities will inspire and energize you. You’ll be surrounded by some of the brightest and best innovators in the #TechComm profession. As we announce award winners, you’ll catch some of the excitement and pride of a job well done. Come out and celebrate the accomplishments of a great 2014-2015 with us as we gear up for more success in 2016.

Want to know more?

See the growing list of attendees and watch for updates on the STC Summit schedule and then make plans to join us.

The program handout is now available in pdf format. STC16 Leadership Program Trifold

Did we mention that it’s free?


The STC Academic SIG invited STC student members to demonstrate their ability to clarify complex data sets and exercise their creative talents by entering a Student Infographic Competition at the 2016 Summit. This year, the Academic SIG changed its annual poster competition to an infographic competition. The challenge was to present either of two important aspects of the STC Salary Database as an infographic. Two winners were chosen. They will each have their work published in Intercom magazine as well as win a cash prize. The two winners will be highlighted during the Honors Reception. The Student Infographic Committee consisted of Lisa Meloncon (Chair), Phylise Banner, Eva Brumberger, and William Horton.

Tina M. Kister won for her online infographic Technical Writer Employment Statistics. A link to the infographic can be found here: Her citation reads: For the creative and interactive interpretation of the salary data that illustrates an excellent example of using technology to enhance the user experience.


Tina Kister infographic


















Jonah Schwartz won for his PDF infographic Does it Pay to be a Technical Communicator? His citation reads: For an excellent interpretation of the contest prompts and analysis of the salary data and for displaying the data in a creative and user-friendly way. The full PDF can be found here:

Jonah Scwartz infographic













Congratulations to our winners!




The STC CAC invites all leaders past, present and future to join us for a morning of connecting and learning. Please join us for the #STC16 Leadership Program on Sunday May 15, 2016 from 8:00 am – 12:30 pm PDT at the Anaheim Marriott Platinum 3 & 4.

Open and free to all STC members

Don’t let the fancy name fool you. The Leadership Program is free and open to all STC members, whether they are officially in community leadership or not. So whether you just signed up yesterday, or are an elected officer in several communities, the Leadership Program is for you. And it’s free.


STC community leaders are invited to come share stories about communities with superpowers. We will have presentations aimed at leaders who are just getting started, and we will have presentations for experienced leaders, too.

Not yet leaders

If you’re not yet a community leader, but you’re thinking about becoming one, we want you to come the the Leadership Program to find out what our leaders do. You’ll hear stories about how great things can be. And frankly, you’ll hear some stories about our struggles and frustrations. Get the straight truth from leaders on the front lines and we’ll help you take a step closer to getting involved.

Followers and supporters

All STC members are invited to attend the Leadership Program to get a behind-the-scenes look at STC. We’ll hear from staff, board members, as well as community leaders. Come to the program and help us celebrate the staff and volunteers that keep our profession running.

Want to know more?

See the growing list of attendees and watch for updates on the STC Summit schedule and then make plans to join us.

The program handout is now available in pdf format. STC16 Leadership Program Trifold

Did we mention that it’s free?


The Dude abides…at Bowlmor on Tuesday night May 17th.  Come to bowl or come to watch, but don’t miss the Big Lebowlski Tournament of Tech Writers, hosted by the Orange County STC chapter.  Sign–ups are at the Summit 2016 welcome table.  A limited number of slots are available, so make sure you register early.  Have a player name in mind too, like Crouching Bowler, HIdden Typo.

Less alley and more lounge, Bowlmor is located at the Anaheim Garden Walk.  Check out the cushy digs at .  Enjoy dinner before the tournament at one of the many restaurants, including Roy’s (Hawaiian fusion), Bubba Gump (get your Cajun fix), Fire+Ice (Mongolian BBQ), Cheesecake Factory (naughty desserts), and McFadden’s (Irish pub grub).  For an overview of dining choices and menus, go to

This event is intended to be part friendly competition and mostly friendly conversation.  Pre-gaming starts at 8:00 PM PDT in Bowlmor’s lounge with the lane event starting at 9:00 PM.  The tournament winner earns bragging rights and an interesting trophy.

So Summiteers, make this event your lucky strike!

Art Hoffmann

Programs Chair, OCSTC


Using Meetup With Your Community

by Timothy Esposito on 4 May 2016

If you are looking to expand the reach of your community’s activities, consider trying Meetup is a website where members create profiles listing their interests. Based on their listed interests, various meetup groups are suggested. A Meetup Group is an organization that hosts get-together events on a certain topic. Meetup Groups range from backpacking clubs, to knitting circles, to technical communication groups. If your community creates a Meetup Group, you can potentially draw from a wider audience for your events.

Joining Meetup

Meetup requires that you create a profile. When you define your profile, you can add a photo of yourself, a bio, your location, and list of interests. All of that information is processed so Meetup can recommend groups in your local area, and in your area of interest. It is free to create a Meetup profile, but some groups may have dues if you join them. Consider creating both a personal profile for you and your interests, and a general profile for your community.

A meetup profile.

Your Meetup profile defines who and where you are, along with your interests.
Creating a Meetup Group

Once you have a profile for you or your community, you need to create a Meetup Group to host events. The group should match your STC community’s name so members can easily find it.

Meetup Group Settings


Meetup Group Settings
Your meetup group must contain useful information to help people find your group, and to personalize it.

You have a lot of control over how the group will appear in Meetup, ranging from colors to logos, and photo albums to leader titles. You can even enter a default welcome message that is automatically sent to new group members.

Meetup Group Topics
Your group can have up to 15 topics associated with it, to help draw new members.

One important aspect of your group is to define the thematic topics for it. These topics match the areas of interest you defined in your profile. If Meetup members have the same topics in their profile, then this group will be a recommended match for them. Topics to consider for an STC Meetup Group are:

  • Information Technology
  • Mobile Technology
  • Writing
  • Writing Workshops
  • Documentation
  • eLearning
  • Technology Professionals
  • Writers Group
  • Technical Writing
  • Instructional Design
  • Technical Communicators
  • API Documentation
  • DITA Documentation

Web-based Training

Sample Meetup Group
A sample meetup group.
Cost of

While having a Meetup profile is free, running a group is not free. The cost of running a group scales with the number of members in the group. In many cases, it is $10 a month for groups of less than 50 members. For more than 50 members, it is $15 a month. Meetup did not offer a nonprofit discount at the time of writing. With the higher rate, your group can have more administrators, however. To offset this cost, many Meetup groups require members to pay dues. That might not be a good model for an STC group, however, so if you create a meetup group, be prepared to pay for it, and budget accordingly. One option to offset the group cost is to get a sponsor that will help pay for it.

Using Meetup

Meetup offers meeting planning tools, much like Eventbrite. You can track meeting registrations through Meetup, and you can you charge and collect fees when people register. Alternatively, if you are already using Eventbrite to track your registrations, you can send people to that site to complete the registration process.

Schedule a Meetup
Creating a Meetup is as easy as filling out a form.


So is Meetup for your community? That depends on your community budget and the activities you are planning. If you are an active community with many events, and you are in an area where many STC-outsiders might be attracted to your group, it may be worth your while to create a meetup group, especially if your community has the budget for it. Track and see how many people register for an event because of the exposure on Meetup. If you find you are adding to your community as a result of Meetup, then it will be a good ROI for your group. If you are spending $180 a year on the group and have attracted no new attendees, you may want to reconsider using Meetup, especially if your community budget is small.

However, don’t let this deter you from creating a free Meetup profile and joining non-STC groups. You might just find new friends who share your hobby enthusiasm!

This blog was based on a webinar presented by Timothy Esposito and the STC Community Affairs Committee. You can see the slides for the webinar and a recording of the webinar in the links below.

adobe-connect-bwThe recording of the webinar is available now at

SlideShareSlides from the presentation are available at


STCLogo-OnlyAlso see the Best Practice blog post written by Timothy Esposito


STC and Adobe Want You!

by STC Staff on 1 May 2016


Adobe Summit workshop

Come early to the Summit and join Adobe and fellow technical communicators at the Adobe Tech Comm Tools Certificate Workshop on Sunday, 15 May, Noon – 5:00 PM.

Get live training, pick up tips and tricks, do hands-on exercises, and learn from industry experts including Bernard Aschwanden, John Daigle, Stefan Gentz, and Rick Stone. Additionally, on successful completion of the workshop you’ll receive an official certificate from Adobe and the STC!

So what are you waiting for? Make the most of this exciting opportunity to learn from sought-after trainers, connect with peers, grow your professional network, and acquire a professional certificate – all while you enjoy Adobe’s hospitality with lunch and refreshments!

The event is open to all attendees, and there is no registration fee, but seats are limited. Register today!

To find out more about the Summit, visit


Sharing Community Files in Google Drive

by STC Staff on 27 April 2016

Note: This post originally appeared on the Community Affairs Committee website:

In an earlier post, I suggested creating Google accounts for each of the executive roles in your community. One of the base concepts was creating an Admin Google account that would act as the fallback for all the subsequent chapter accounts. Another service that Admin account can have is to own the rights to the community’s Google Drive.

Why Google Drive?

Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage for the account owner. That 15 GB is shared with Gmail and non-compressed Google Photos. If you only use your Admin account for admin purposes, that 15 GB will not be consumed by email attachments. Sure, there are other Cloud storage sites such as DropBox and OneDrive, but they only offer 2 GB and now 5 GB, respectively. Plus you’ve already created a host of Gmail accounts for your community, and Google Drive was built to integrate with Gmail accounts.

Google Drive has sharing features, so you can give people access to view or edit individual folders and files as needed. Always leave the Admin account with Edit rights to everything! When you apply for a Community Achievement Award, you can create a folder and share that (read-only) with the CAA judges so they can access all of your documentation.

Standard Word and Excel documents take up storage space on the Cloud. But with Google Drive, you have the option of transforming MS documents into Google Docs when you upload them via the web. Google offers Docs (Word), Sheets (Excel), and Slides (PowerPoint) as storage options on Google Drive. For the rest of this article I will refer to them collectively as Google Docs. When you convert a MS document to a Google Doc, it is stored on your Google Drive, but consumes no space. Your 15 GB quota will not be consumed by a Google Doc, regardless of the original size of the document in Word or PowerPoint. That being said, a Google Doc does not possess the same level of sophistication as a MS document, but for most chapter correspondence, it should suffice.

Google Docs on your Google drive are collaborative. Whenever an approved editor works on a document, a file history is listed for each document. Additionally, multiple people can edit a Google Doc at the same time. As a result of the joint-editing feature, multiple people in your group can be signed into the same document, such a the minutes for an admin council meeting, and watch the document be written in real time.

Using Google Drive

To set up a communal Google Drive for your community, sign into Google using your Admin account that I suggested you create here. Open the web version of Google Drive, and create a new folder named for your community, e.g. STCCAC for the Community Affairs Committee.

A sample Google Drive folder from the CAC.
A sample Google Drive folder from the CAC.







After you create the root folder for your community Google Drive, right-click on the folder and choose the Share option. Enter all the Gmail accounts you created for your community leaders, and give them Edit access. Now whenever you create a sub-folder, it will inherit the share settings from the parent folder.

Each of the people with which you shared the folder will get get an email telling them of the share. If they follow the link, it will show them the shared folder. They will have the option of adding the folder to their Google Drive, and it is recommended that they do so.

You can manually add folders and files to Google Drive via the web interface, or by downloading and installing a client app on your computer. If you use the web interface, look in your setting (gear icon in upper-right). It has a check box to automatically convert uploaded documents into Google Docs format.

Settings for Google Drive
Settings for Google Drive












So if you upload a whole directory of your legacy community documents and that check box is set, then they will all be converted to Google Docs. That may or may not be what you want, so be careful when setting that option.

Note: If you choose to convert your documents to the Google Doc format, you have the option of exporting them in a preferred file format, such as Word or PDF.

Folder Upload
How to upload the contents of an entire folder.

If you installed the app, you can upload files even more quickly. However the files will NOT be converted to Google Docs during an upload via the app. When using the app, it integrates with your Windows file manager and you can drag and drop files to the folder.

Note: If you do not have edit privileges on a folder, you can still drag and drop files to it, but it won’t sync with the rest of your collaborators.

Note: Be aware that when you upload a non-Google Doc, such as a PDF, the quota that is consumed is that of the uploader’s account, not of the host Google drive. So if you are going to import many files tied to a personal account, it may be best to switch to the Admin account before uploading the files.


Google Drive is not perfect. As noted above, quota consumption is based on the user’s account, not the base account. A user could revoke privileges for other users, locking them out completely. You can only be signed into one Google Drive account at a time. That means that if you are using a personal Google drive, you must be completely signed out of that account when uploading via the web. If you have a personal account defined in the app, then you cannot easily change that account setting.


Due to the ability to collaborate on files, Google Drive and Google Docs may be a great choice for your community’s legacy files. Be certain to designate a well-organized person to maintain the Admin account and file structure for the Google Drive so all collaborators can easily find their files. If you need to save space, you can convert MS files to Google Docs. Additionally, you can install an app to integrate Google Drive with your native file manager. You can then use your Google drive to automatically sync other community files, such as your passwords (in an encrypted tool such as KeePass) and your Quicken data files. Also, any community member who installs the app will automatically sync files when connected to the internet. Google Drive has some powerful tools and it integrates well with Gmail accounts.


Introducing the Frank R. Smith Award Winners

by STC Staff on 25 April 2016

Frank R. Smith Award

Each year, the editor of Technical Communication appoints a judging committee to select the outstanding article from the previous year’s issues. Judges base their decisions on article content and form. The award honors the memory of Frank R. Smith, during whose 18-year tenure as editor Technical Communication became established as the flagship publication of STC and the profession. This year’s judging team for the Frank R. Smith competition consisted of Leah Guren (chair), Ramesh Aiyyangar, and Sally Henschel.

The judges are pleased to announce that the Frank R. Smith Outstanding Article Award goes to  Petra ten Hove and Hans van der Meij for their article, “Like It or Not: What Characterizes YouTube’s More Popular Instructional Videos?” in the February 2015 issue of Technical Communication.

The citation reads:

For the authors’ thorough statistical analysis of quantifiable characteristics present in popular YouTube instructional videos, and for the clear and useful presentation of the results. Their methodology has immediate applications in technical communication while providing a solid foundation for future research.

Congratulations to the honorees.