Content strategy! As early as last month, August 2014, I knew next to nothing about content strategy, content marketing, and custom content. But on August 27, something happened — I attended a MadCap-hosted webinar by content strategist Mark Baker. Although Mark’s presentation focused on EPPO topic-based authoring, it opened the gateway to the kaleidoscopic world of content strategy.
Naturally, over the following weeks, my senses were sharpened or tuned to pick up some of the more appealing articles by content marketing tacticians, especially those that overlap or collide with the approaches by technical communicators and recreational bloggers. While the perceptions of content strategy might differ for these roles, I see a common effort to appreciate the big picture!
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. Do I have a personal content strategy? Now that’s an intriguing question! Although I’ve never taken a formal course on content marketing or marketing strategy because I was never interested before, I’m indeed applying my own strategy, even if it’s only on the instinctual level. What is my content strategy? Let’s find out.
“I share, therefore I am.” In a previous post about enforcing our reality, I explored the concept of our evolving social-media presence, its possible dangers, and its perceived influence on “our total social reality”. Despite our social technophobia, social media “poses no more and no less of a social threat than any other technological breakthrough like the automobile, television, and Internet”.
But can social media be something more than simply “sharing your thoughts, feelings, photos, and lives with the online world”? More than simply “an effort to declare or enforce your perceived reality or existence”? Why not? If we look up beyond our impulsive two-second retweets, sharing thoughts can lead to exploring new ideas, uncovering new interpretations, and discovering new insights.
Watch Dogs: Skills Tree
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. When I launched my blog in November 2013, I knew next to nothing about cloud computing. But I didn’t let that stop me from learning the cloud basics. Now, 10 months later, I’ve sharpened my senses to a point where I’m finding flawed statements about IBM BlueMix PaaS and IBM Service Engage SaaS on other blogs!
Apple and IBM! The recent joint announcement by Apple and IBM of their “global partnership to transform enterprise mobility” just shows that given enough time, anything can happen, especially in an ever-evolving and occasionally unpredictable socio-mobile industry that touches everything from bitcoins and wearables to 3D printers and biometric sensors. Yes, even structured XML authoring.
But can XML authoring survive? As I noted in a previous post, “the DITA Open Toolkit was released only 9 years ago“. By comparison, MadCap Flare was launched only 8 years ago, and Syncro Soft Oxygen introduced visual XML editing only 7 years ago. But today, I can see the signs that XML authoring, like CDs and DVDs, is already past its prime and approaching the end of its useful life.
Apple + IBM
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. While I’ve previously tackled the subject of XML authoring several different times from several different angles, I wanted to take another look in the new light of this “anything can happen” Apple and IBM announcement. Would it be poetic if IBM, which introduced DITA-XML authoring in 2001, helped to kill it by 2021?
Truth? Myth? The 8-hour sleep cycle. The 8-hour work day. The 40-hour work week. Most of us have probably seen the recurring tweets, blogs, and articles about the truths and myths behind these industrial traditions. In fact, when I first decided to write about this topic, I was planning to focus on the 8-hour sleep cycle. Until I realized that the 8-hour work day was strongly connected.
So I decided to perform another one of my experiments. In my previous post about spicy rotations, I argued that to keep my projects fresh and to avoid burning out, the key is to “rotate my product-specific Agile teams, just like I rotate my favorite restaurants”. Why not extend that idea beyond my work hours? Why not apply it to my sleep cycle or my entire day? What is my natural work cycle?
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. For two full weeks in April, I relaxed my working, playing, eating, and sleeping schedules to their most “natural” cycles. Even if I felt like playing the Assassin’s Creed IV video game or watching Japanese touge racing videos at night until 3am in the morning, when did I experience my most productive work hours?
Only a few decades ago, before Twitter or Facebook, before MySpace or LiveJournal, and before Google or Yahoo or the Internet, there was no such thing as social media shared by the people. At the time, the only media that mattered was the mass media ruled and regulated by television, radio, and newspapers. Still, the first hints of shared social media might be printed “letters to the editor”.
Although print-based “letters to the editor” have been around for centuries, they were naturally filtered. According to Wikipedia: “The letters chosen for publication usually are only a sample of the total letters submitted… Editors generally… reject letters that include profanity, libelous statements, personal attacks against individuals or specific organizations… or that are submitted anonymously.”
Nowadays, filtered and unfiltered tweets, blogs, posts, and statuses shared by almost anyone and everyone are taken for granted in our social reality. So I wonder if the centuries-old metaphysical exercise — “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” — has finally evolved into — “If a tree falls in a forest and no one tweets about it, does it really happen?”
Several weeks ago, on a day-off whim, I started watching the classic racing-anime series “Initial D” (1998) about a natural-born drift racer named Takumi and his 1980s Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno or “Eight-Six”. Immediately, I found myself being pulled into the passionate world of Japanese street racing. Before I knew it, several weeks later, I finished “Initial D: Fourth Stage” (2004-2006).
What does a Toyota AE86 have to do with MadCap Flare 10? In a word, passion! Just as Takumi’s natural attachment to his Toyota AE86 triggers his passion for downhill drift racing, my persistent fondness for MadCap Flare is fueling my passion for topic-based authoring outside of IBM. After all, overcoming difficult challenges is much more fun when you’re driven by some heartfelt passion.
Initial D: Toyota AE86 or “Eight-Six”
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. In a previous post, I wrote: “When I attended my first local STC chapter meeting in September, I was exposed to Madcap Flare  for the first time too. Not only did the Flare demo impress me more than the Oxygen  demos, but ever since that presentation, I’ve thought about buying Flare for my own personal use.”
Three months ago, in a November post, I explored the “top 3 most-popular and most-reliable WordPress.org security plugins” at the time. Although some might blame the WordPress.org community for any security vulnerabilities, it is also the responsibility of the user to “actively maintain and update the software”. In other words, “your blog is only as strong as its weakest plugin”.
Later, in a December post and January post, I investigated the possible “downfall of topic-based XML authoring and topic-based information architecture” and the “growing impact of WordPress as an enterprise CMS and enterprise SaaS”. If XML CMSs mean extinction, I also wondered whether “XML-oriented integrations… will forever be incompatible with PHP-based CMSs like WordPress.”
Madcap Flare: Topic XML view and text view
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. In my ongoing journey to explore topic-based DITA-XML authoring and its relationship to social-based WordPress strategies, I stumbled across a fascinating five-year-old solution that allows you to import your DITA-authored XHTML output into your WordPress.org installation.