chapter 5: conversation and community bob furu genevieve jungers michelle baldwin

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Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

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Page 1: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Chapter 5: Conversation and CommunityBOB FURUGENEVIEVE JUNGERSMICHELLE BALDWIN

Page 2: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Overview

•Blogs provide a way to link to customers, and they also provide a way for customers to link back to you.

•This chapter discusses ideas for starting conversations and building on the stages of listening, participating, and offering a platform.

•This chapter seems to be a do-it-yourself guide for learning to moderate a blog.

Page 3: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Listening and monitoring conversations•This section describes several ways to

learn to moderate or participate in a blog. ▫Writers often make good blog moderators

because they read and collect information quickly.

▫Commenting on other people’s blogs is a good way to establish a presence.

▫Joining or moderating customer forums or boards, or reviewing products are good ways to start blogging.

Page 4: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Reading and commentating on blogs

•Gentle believes that reading blogs is the best starting point for blogging. This gives you a sense of the community, how often people post, how long it takes to answer questions, and the key contributors to the site.

•Tips▫Read blogs often before writing one yourself. ▫After you gain a feel for the site, start by

answering questions. ▫Be sure to disclose your employer.

Page 5: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Writing reviews• Gentle is referring to product reviews. She

defines social shopping as researching reviews and community member recommendations before purchasing something.

• To encourage social shopping, read a book that is related to the problems customers solve with your product. Then go to amazon.com and write a book review related to your product. ▫You could also conduct a search on amazon.com

to see who else is reading and reviewing the books and what problems they are solving.

Page 6: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Starting and maintaining a blog•Starting a blog is daunting. You need to

choose a tool and platform, and then write and maintain regular posts.

•Groundswell suggests writing 5 entries just to see if you have the stamina to keep up with the needs of a blog.

Page 7: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Choosing a blog platform• Readers' basic expectations for a blog include

comments, subscription, and easy linking. • A website must have a subscription system like an

RSS or Atom feed. Weblogmatrix.org provides information to compare products.

• Trackbacks typically work within the same blogging system. Therefore the intended trackback doesn’t appear near the comments in the entry.

• If you need to design a theme to match your company’s brand, ease of creating or modifying graphics and templates is important.

Page 8: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Continuity of posts• Gentle became verbose in this section. • She went into minute detail about how she

started her blog. Basically, she proposes that blogs be updated at predictable intervals like every Monday and Wednesday. She mentioned that she started with an internal blog before going public. This gave her a chance to learn about post and commenting frequency, where comments originated, how to respond, and how to grow readership.

Page 9: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Continuity of posts (continued)• Again, Gentle seemed to state the obvious in this

section by telling you to write posts ahead of time or recruit guest bloggers if you were going to be away for awhile. She did this while on maternity leave, and did not lose readership during that time.

Page 10: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Blog examples• Technically Speaking

A blog written by technical writers at National Instruments to offer a view of the daily life of a writer.

• Embarcadero: “Code Gear Information Development”Direct blogging between online help writers and their audience.

• Atlassion Confluence: A technical writer’s blogA blog written by writer Sarah Maddox to provide quicker service to customers of Confluence

Page 11: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Providing infrastructure for customer blogs•In many organizations decision to design or

provide infrastructure of blogging is performed by the website management, marketing, or sales areas because they can track leads more easily.

•Sometimes blogging is supported by customer support departments because they have a goal of customers helping customers.

•Sometimes a blog is started by someone on their own time.

Page 12: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Integrating user content into your user assistance• Mashup refers to websites or applications that

combine data from different sources in new ways. ▫ For example, a wikislice reuses part of wiki as an

ebook or in an online help system. ▫ Another example is InfoSlicer, which helps teachers

create curriculum by downloading and re-mixing Wikipedia articles.

• DITA technology combines the data because the underlying layer is a DITA map structure.

Page 13: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Integrating user content into your user assistance (continued)• You need to make sure that the community

welcomes remixes of their contributed content and that wiki publishing license allow you to republish content as part of your user assistance system.

Page 14: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Integrating user content into your user assistance (continued)• The following tools and techniques enable a

mashup of wiki and user assistance:▫ MWDumper extracts sets of pages from a

MediaWiki dump▫ Special: Export box from MediaWiki pages lets you

export a set of pages based on a category name.▫ Screen-scraping uses scripting tools if the structure

of the content is easily determine (like a heading followed by paragraph text).

▫ Direct database calls to the wiki database layer.

Page 15: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Integrating user content into your user assistance (continued)• Guidelines for mashing wiki content with user

assistance content▫ Does anyone understand DITA? ▫ Make sure the content is licensed for use in a new

deliverable▫ Design the wiki with specific tags for collection▫ Query the database for categories, specific tags or

templates, and create a DITA map or similar structure for reassembling content.

Page 16: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Integrating user content into your user assistance (continued)

▫ Use a DITA map or similar as a query, get the content out of the wiki database, then turn it into the format needed by user assistance. Import the files into the help authoring tool and recompile the help.

▫ Other was to incorporate user content includes using screencasts created by users, searching Google for troubleshooting articles and getting permission to repost them, and incorporating wikis that with the author’s permission and proper licensing agreements in place.

▫ (It seems like getting the proper permissions and licensing agreements could be a very complicated and slow process. Would lawyers be needed to make sure everything is legal? What are the consequences if something is used without proper licensing or permission from the author?)

Page 17: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Introducing comment and feedback systems•Help authoring tools provide user feedback

tools inside the topics you author with the tool.

•Provide an email link on each page to email a centralized mailbox

•Use a web form with specific fields to fill out. The form can be sent via email.

•Google Forms populates a Google spreadsheet with results as responses come in

•Jive Software and JS-Kit incorporate feedback into many online help outputs.

Page 18: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Instant messaging and response• If your site has “Live Help” links, consider

volunteering to be a staffer for an hour or longer. Some questions are answered by scripted response programs written by artificial intelligence programs for frequently asked questions.

Page 19: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Instant messaging and response• Gentle lists several of these programs, including:

▫ IRCza, a helper robot that is a natural language chat robot for IRC

▫AIMbots, offered by AOL Instant Messengers. It can tell you when movies are going to show.

▫Artificial Intelligence Mark Up Language (AIML) is an XML-compliant language. It facilitates creating chatbots with various personalities and kinds of knowledge. Connecting a chatbot to a knowledge base of frequent responses might let you offer a virtual conversation with responses to a client.

▫ (This stuff is way confusing—does anyone know anything about these programs?)

Page 20: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Integrating social tagging• You may want to maintain tags on your product by

offering tag set related to your product or service. Popular social bookmarking sites are digg.com and delicious.com.

• Many technical writers already have a skill for tagging. They can determine which keywords best describe a link of image for retrieval later.

• Hundreds of social bookmarking or tagging sites exist. Those most useful to technical writing include:▫writeriver.com▫digg.com▫delicious.com

Page 21: Chapter 5: Conversation and Community BOB FURU GENEVIEVE JUNGERS MICHELLE BALDWIN

Sharing photos and videos for explanation or assistance• Some sites offer desktop tools to capture

screenshots or screencasts. ▫Screencasts are videos that show the computer

screen and are often narrated with a voice script to explain what is happening on the screen.

• Photos work well for showing sequential instructions instead of writing them out or using complicate 3D modeling software.

• Sun Microsystems offers a platform for video uploads and screencasts at six.sun.com/media. ▫Anyone with a Sun login can upload video messages

or screencasts to share with the community.