STC Summit 2018 Recap

After attending 10 Summits in a row, I had to skip a couple years. But I returned this year, and what a year to return! Of course, it was great seeing STC friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while, especially the CAC!

Lisa Mileusnich taking a photo with Monte for the Community Achievement Awards

First of all, the location (Orlando, Florida) was fantastic. Former NEO STC President, Lisa Mileusnich, invited me to tag along to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios before the conference started. I had been to Universal Orlando before, but this visit was particularly memorable. Lisa graciously acted as an expert tour guide and instructor, as I am only vaguely aware of the Harry Potter novels. I have seen several of the movies, but admit that I never fully understood them. This inside info really helped me to enjoy the attractions. And thanks to NEO STC member Barb Philbrick lending us her magic wands, Lisa and I were able to perform magic at the park!

Continuing with the Harry Potter theme, my favorite presentation was by STC member, Jamye Sagan when she revealed, “What Harry Potter Can Teach Us about Instructional Design.” Jamye not only entertained us by allowing us to watch clips of several movies, but she put her techniques into practice during the session.

2018 seemed to be the year of Artificial Intelligence, as several presentations proved. First, Peter “Scotch” Scocimara,* the Senior Director at Google Cloud, explained how Artificial Intelligence is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I was educated, entertained, and enlightened. Then, former STC President, Nicky Bleiel, a developer for IBM Watson, showed us how we can write and pay attention to natural language, so that chatbots and Artificial Intelligence can present our documentation for us. Finally, STC Fellow, Rob Hanna, guided us in how to prepare our content for intelligent machines. Think “micro-moments, micro-formats, and micro-content.” How cool is that?

If you’re thinking of making the switch from Technical Writer to Content Strategist, then Melanie Seibert has the key in seven simple lessons. We have posted some information in our NEO STC Slack group. Search “content strategist” to learn more.

A special thank you to the STC Florida Chapter, for warm and wonderful hosting. It was so great seeing W.C. Wiese, Dan Voss, and Bethany Aguad!

I’ll conclude with the Opening Keynote speech, which I truly enjoyed. Carla Johnson, a popular speaker and Chief Experience Officer for Type A Communications, guided us through the process of “perpetual innovation.” I especially liked her reference to Brand Detachment Disorder, and turning it into a Brand Transplant. To distill her information: whether you are sick of seeing a certain brand or are still loving it, look at ANY brand a user might love, and use that as inspiration for creating your own.

The 2018 STC Summit helped revive my enthusiasm about technical communication through many worthwhile presentations, and through connection with so many great technical communicators. If you haven’t been to a Summit in a while, make plans to attend the next one. You’ll be glad you did!

Check out all the great photos Tricia took.

*NEO STC will get to hear Scotch talk about Artificial Intelligence in April 2019! Stay tuned!

By Tricia Spayer