Information technology is your friend: play nicely, writers

Virtually all information is created and transmitted and stored and shared and searched by means of computers and the internet. That’s obvious, right?

At work, it is commonly assumed that anything digital or electronic is solely the business of those clever people in web management or IT. Accountants and teachers and office managers have no need to bother their pretty little heads about such nerdy matters. Right? Wrong.

You are personally creating and publishing web and intranet content, on purpose or by accident. Whatever you write may appear on a website and be widely shared, even if that wasn’t your plan. Whatever you write travels faster and further than ever before. Whatever you write will be read on a mobile phone.

The IT team cannot fix errors in every document produced by staff. That’s not ideal, but it’s the reality in most workplaces.

  • If you create an inaccessible PDF, even an IT genius can’t fix it without starting again from scratch.
  • If you put a waffly chat in a field that requires a summary, search results and usability suffer.
  • If you write stream-of-consciousness mush instead of structured content, what you write will be lost in space.
  • If you write frivolous or inaccurate headlines, nobody will fix them.
  • If you upload enormous infographics, you are breaking accessibility guidelines and will bring grief to mobile users.

We have been using computers and the internet at work since the 1990s. It’s time to step up and start using our amazing tools efficiently.

Information technology is your friend, as long as you play nicely.

(This is another bite from the revised version of Crash Course in Corporate Communications: a work in progress.)

Photo: Ion Trap at the University of Innsbruck (Mnolf, Creative Commons licence, Wikimedia). In no way relevant except that it looks like a pretty intimidating piece of technology to the uninitiated. Yet I'm sure the ion trap is ever so friendly if you treat it with respect.


May 03, 2013 • Posted by Rachel McAlpine

Hi Isabella. I’m guessing in a couple of months Crash Course will be available in print. We’ll be sure to send out a newsletter, so as long as you are subscribed, you will get the news.

May 06, 2013 • Posted by Isabella

Thank you! I look forward to it.

May 03, 2013 • Posted by Isabella

Will the Crash Course be available in the near future? Thank you.

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