Enforcing our reality with social media


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.”

Angels Landing

Angels Landing

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?”
Continue reading

Killing XML and IA with social media


Back in October 2013, the IBM editor for my writing team forwarded her enlightening observation about the meteoric rise of mobile media and the potential fall of topic-based authoring. I hadn’t created this blog yet, but I knew that her thoughts might be the seed for an intriguing post someday. Over a month after creating my blog, I still didn’t know how to frame the subject. This is, until now.

With over 20 years of IBM experience, my editor wrote: “Highly technical information that’s delivered on YouTube is widely accepted by technical users… More and more, users will be accessing our products from mobile devices. To learn something new, would you rather watch a YouTube video on your mobile phone or read several topics in an information center?”

TRIRIGAPEDIA: Hosted by the MediaWiki-powered Wikia.com

TRIRIGAPEDIA: Hosted by the MediaWiki-powered Wikia.com

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. After publishing a dozen entries, I realized that my editor’s compact yet powerful observation overlaps my blog posts about dissecting DITA, breathing Oxygen XML, plugging into WordPress, searching Big Blue, and probably a few more. Do they collectively predict the downfall of topic-based XML authoring and topic-based information architecture? Let’s find out.
Continue reading