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May 18, 2010

The Ideal Tech Comm Association?

There’s been a ton of discussion about the various organizations, especially STC, recently. With established associations, it can be difficult to take a completely fresh look because of the constraints of structure, organization, and tradition.

So, I thought I’d ask this question: What does your ideal association for technical communicators look like?

My priorities:

  • Diverse membership across the globe. I want a place to meet other tech comm professionals from all around the world because that’s what our customer base looks like. I need to understand how tech comm in Korea is different from tech comm in Germany.
  • An annual conference that moves around the world. The geographical location of a conference affects the mix of attendees—you get increased attendance from the region in which the conference is held. This helps me with the previous item.
  • A strong online community that offers members (and nonmembers) an opportunity to engage. Probably multilingual.
  • Discovery of new, interesting, and provocative points of view. I’m envisioning free webcasts from interesting people, but this could be done in lots of ways. Provides a connection point for people with similar interests or issues, and strengthens connections outside the face-to-face conference environment.
  • Support for global projects. A way to find resources (contractors, employees, consutants) for tech comm projects worldwide.
  • Industry research. What tools and technologies are being used in tech comm? How does this vary by locale? Company size? Other factors?

What are your thoughts? What does your Ideal Tech Comm Association look like?