All posts by bforero1

Blog Post #10 (Revisited for Portfolio Use Only)

Technical communication has interested me for several years; mainly due to supporting my father in the review of technical communication as part of his work.  Enrolling in this class has further increased my level of interest on the subject and has certainly made me appreciate its existence and those who shape it. Originally, I held a very simple understanding of technical communication; that it basically dealt with instruction manuals and scientific discourse.  Although still true, that is only a minor aspect in the intricate understanding of technical communication that I have amassed.

The most important aspect I learned this semester is understanding your audience.  The first step to successfully conveying a message is targeting an audience and catering to their needs.  If you fail to attract an audience and keep them attentive, your message has already failed.  I have also learned that technical communication is everywhere: from instruction manuals to road signs to government contracts.  An influential figure in the field of technical communication, Katherine T. Durack makes this observation about the subject in a study for Technical Communication Quarterly:

“Technical writing exists within government and industry, as well as in the intersection between private and public spheres…This action can originate in a variety of settings and for many purposes; such action may occur as part of one’s work for hire or arise from personal interaction with organizations.”

From these statements, it is clear that technical communication is relevant and available to assist with any number of tasks.  There will always be a need for knowledge and no matter the subject; technical communication will effectively convey it.  Furthermore, Durack looks to expand my understanding of technical communication with two more observations from her study.

Her following observation refers to the close relationship between technical communication and technology.  Since technical communication “exists to accomplish something” (Durack), it is logical to assume that technical communicators stay up-to-date on the latest technologies.  For example, a communicator looking to assist users in the installation of a new computer program must himself understand the program before instructing others.  Not only that, Durack states “as Wajcman points out, technology is more than just the latest computer hardware or software on the market.”  Technology also refers to the ways we move forward in life and continue surviving.  Any new technique or skill that benefits an individual is a form of technology and to educate others, technical communication is necessary.


Durack’s last observation focuses on the importance of making “tacit knowledge explicit” in technical communication.  While this characteristic is no surprise, the different approaches to creating and presenting explicit knowledge was new and exciting to learn throughout the semester.  The various design choices including font size, font color, spacing, colors, images, and other aesthetic features greatly influence the effectiveness of technical communication.  These features need to appeal to the audience while keeping them interested yet properly informed.  Plain language should be applied when necessary to make the message clear for the audience.

Overall this class has taught me many different examples of effective technical communication based on audience. In addition, the complexity of technical communication has revealed itself through hands on work and from class readings, including those of Katherine T. Durack.  The small but important details that help harmonize effective technical communication, along with a strong audience connection, has given me a broader understanding and appreciation for technical communication.

Source Cited:

Durack, Katherine T. (1997). Gender, Technology, and the History of Technical Communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 6(3): 249-60.


Blog Post #9: Ways to avoid TL;DR

The transition from print to social media has drastically changed the role of the content creator and his/her duty in conveying an efficient yet thorough message to an audience.  The pressures of detailing a message with complex vernacular and thorough completeness has seemingly shifted to short definitive statements and highlighting of important material.  How do creators adapt to creating effective messages with minimal clutter?

Before the evolution of social media and technology, print media was the most reliable mode of communication for individuals and businesses alike. Although considered “outdated” and/or “boring” today, taking the time to read and understand a body of text allows the reader to become more engaged and understand the situation clearer.  According to the article “Print is Dead? Not so Fast”, on, the author states several reasons why print media is still relevant today.  However, although a majority of the reasons given are debatable, one solid point states “consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit.”  From this statement, it is possible to assume that since people were forced to read completely through texts during this time period, they possessed a higher level of literacy then many individuals do today.

Nonetheless, times have changed and technology and social media has evolved into the leading mode of communication in our modern society.  According to the article on, technology such as the internet allows for “cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience,” when it comes to marketing and advertising. But what does this mean for the content creators and audience?  Should readers be responsible for longer content or do creators ignore certain rhetorical aspects to accommodate all levels of literacy?  In my opinion, a mixture of both is necessary.

The incessant bombarding of multimedia messages through social media has led to a new mentality of faster is better when it comes to communication.  Social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, allow users to access and view information at the click of a button or touch screen.  Instant deals, news, and/or other relevant information are available quickly and typically, in the palm of your hand.  There is no long text to read or pages to sift through. The hashtag aspect popular on Twitter is significant because it helps spread messages and awareness in rapid time and/or allows people to get up-to-date with the current information surrounding a topic.  According to an article by Jenny Doren and Laura Mandaro on the USA Today website, the recent Ferguson, MO decision sparked almost immediate protests across the nation, partly due to such hashtags as “#fergusondecision”, “#blacklivesmatter”, and “#justiceforMikeBrown”.  People immediately became aware of the decision and reactions simply by clicking on these tags.

Ferguson hashtag

The work my father does as a proposal writer illustrates another example of completing efficient technical communication.  When dealing with more intricate and complex topics, longer text usually is necessary, but finding ways to limit the wordiness allow these texts to still be interesting and engaging.

bad technical writing imagetechnical writing image                       

                       Image A                                                          Image B

Image A above is an example of technical communication that could be improved.  It conveys a message through text but could potentially be more effective if broken down more and utilizes other multimodal aspects.  Image B is an example of technical communication that is more effective today. Understanding and executing ways of sequencing concepts in longer texts will allow the audience to be more interested and engaged.  Combining text with images, including graphs and tables, gives the work more flair and activity.  Concepts and ideas are broken down more so most people can better understand and comprehend the message.

Overall, this new era relies on quick yet efficient communication.  Long texts will always have a place, but it is up to the creator to find ways of making it engaging while maintaining the message it contains.  However, it is also up to the audience to be educated and should he/she wish to explore new endeavors, be responsible for taking the time to learn the ways.


Jenny Doren, WFAA-Texas | Laura M, and Aro. “Ferguson Tweets, Hashtags Spike as Anger Rises.” USA Today. Gannett, 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

“Print Is Dead? Not so Fast.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 June 2012. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

“Technical Writing Examples – Google Search.” Technical Writing Examples – Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.



The Pressures of the Current Workplace

If we take a look back ten years, even twenty years, into the past, we will see that the aspects that helped the workplace thrive are much different than now.  Ten to twenty years ago, online recruitment and promotion was unheard of.  Connections were made through face to face communication and word of mouth networking.  People would physically work hard to promote their specific product or to arrange meetings that would help their credibility and job standing.  Personal identity and professional identity were not nearly linked as closely as they are now.

These times were tough and the actions people took were commendable.  But times are changing and the workplace is rapidly becoming more technology based.  Audiences are more vast and diverse than ever. The link between your personal and professional identity is so close now that people often feel pressured to make sure their personal lives do not hurt his/her professional reputation.


Social media is one main factor contributing to the pressure of conforming to normative standards in the professional setting.  Self presentation has, and always will be, an important aspect of earning a positive professional reputation.  However, in our modern society, with such social media as Facebook and Instagram, individuals are now pressured to keep their personal lives at bay.  Many companies are able to view potential candidates before they even reach the interview and judged solely on what appears on these social media sites.  In my opinion, this is absolutely unfair but something that should be accepted and respected until the times catch up with technology.  Enjoy your life but do not post everything online.  Keep things to yourself.

Moving past the social media outlets, self presentation will surely help your case should you pass the social media test.  Keep yourself up to date with the normative standards of the career you plan to pursue and abide by them.  Keep yourself cleanly shaved and dress appropriately.  However, although influential, even this does not determine whether you fail or succeed at your career.  Understanding the current technologies will determine how well you succeed. No matter the type of person you are, if you are more than capable of completing the desired tasks, you will likely have a job.  For example, it is likely that a job promoting a product through social media will go to a young college graduate as opposed to an older gentlemen or lady with years of experience.  This is only because younger college students are more familiar with the current technologies.  This is not to say that older folks are at a disadvantage, they just need to make sure they are keeping up with the times.

Overall, it is important to maintain a respectable personal identity if you wish to share so much online in order to maintain a credible professional identity.  This will be the case until the times catch up with technology.  Self presentation or “branding” will always be critical in assisting your overall identity.  With the vast and diverse audience, presenting yourself in the right way will not only maintain your professional identity but also entice others to follow your ways.   fabonetworking

Technical Communication: A Definitive Meaning

Technical communication has interested me for several years; mainly due to the fact that my father has been writing technical documents for a living and it seems very interesting. With my college graduation looming, enrolling in this class has further increased my level of interest.  During this semester, I would not say that my preconceived idea of “technical communication” has changed; more so, I would say that my knowledge on the subject has expanded to a whole new level that certainly makes me appreciate its existence and those who shape it. Originally, I held a very simple understanding of technical communication; that it basically dealt with instruction manuals and scientific discourse.  Although still true, that is only a minor aspect in the intricate understanding of technical communication that I have amassed.

Technical communication is ever present in our society today: from instruction manuals to road signs to government contracts.  The absolute main goal of technical communication is to be explicit, efficient, user-accessible, and free of loose interpretations or connotations.  However, for this to occur, an incessant connection to the audience is necessary.  The extent to which an audience influences the course of technical communication is vast and complex.  The techniques, language, and design choices used in technical communication should benefit the audience, appeal to them in a way that keeps them interested yet properly informed.  This class has taught me many different examples of effective technical communication based on audience.  It has also introduced me to significant figures in determining the definition and purpose of technical communication.

Katherine T. Durack is a prominent figure in the technical communication field that has greatly influenced my understanding on the subject.  She highlights three principals of technical communication that coincide with the aspects I discussed above; which have expanded my knowledge in her journal article, “Gender, Technology, and the History of Technical Communication.”

  • Her first point states, “Technical writing exists within government and industry, as well as in the intersection between private and public spheres.”  This statement coincides with my point about technical writing being ever present in our society.


  • Her second point states, “Technical writing has a close relationship to technology.”  This statement coincides with my point that technical communication needs to be direct and user-accessible.  One of the main ways an audience receives information is through quick technology that is readily available for a majority of the population.  Technical communicators need to be aware of the most current technologies to make sure their audience receives their info in the most user friendly way.  Also, there are so many new programs for designing the most efficient technical communication and the most successful communicator will be up-to-date with these programs.


  • Her final point states, “Technical writing often seeks to make tacit knowledge explicit.”  Simple enough, this point coincides with my point that the communication needs to be simple yet accurate, easily understandable, and free of loose interpretations.

Source Cited:

Durack, Katherine T. (1997). Gender, Technology, and the History of Technical Communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 6(3): 249-60.

PowerPoint vs. The PowerPoint Designer

In our modern, highly technologically advanced society, does Microsoft PowerPoint still stand a chance as an effective method for professional presentation?

In my opinion, yes it does!

More specifically, I think the issue here is whether PowerPoint is naturally incapable of adapting to the times or is the designer of the presentation lacking the necessary skills to create an effective presentation utilizing appropriate design choices and styles.

In my opinion, the issue with PowerPoint falls on the designer and his/her ability to create an effective professional presentation.  Many times throughout my high school and college career, I have been a victim of slow, confusing PowerPoint presentations, whose slides are overrun with either images, texts, or an obnoxious mix of the two.  Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to focus on the effects their PowerPoint presentation will have on the audience.  Often, the designer will focus on aspects that please only him/her during the construction period, such as applying unnecessary background colors or typing paragraph notes that will only be read verbatim come presentation day.

The purpose of your PowerPoint presentation is to aid in whatever point you plan to make to your audience.  The text and language used in your slides should be short, preferably in some bullet list form and consisting of key words.  Your audience is there to listen and learn something new, not read the information on the slide or listen to what is already in plain sight.  Images should also be used as an aid to enhance what the presenter is discussing.  The designer should avoid unnecessary decoration or  over-stretched images as a background for your slide.  Graphs and charts are encouraged to appease those in the audience who prefer visual learning.  However, these graphs should be relevant and laid out in a nice, organized fashion.  The colors used to highlight these charts and graphs should be minimal in use. According to Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, the presentation designer should “stick with two or three — not six or seven — and use them consistently.”  

Half of the problem stems from  people being unaware of the wide range of functions PowerPoint has to offer.  The other half is that PowerPoint does need to update a little bit to offer more current methods of presenting.  However, blogger Christopher Maloney offers an insight into the new and improved PowerPoint 2013 in his post titled, “PowerPoint 2013: Presentation is Everything”.  He discusses the new improvements to the most recent version of the program, primarily the “eight newly designed themes” so that “variants have complete control over all elements of the presentation’s design — colors, fonts, effects, layouts, text properties, paragraph properties, design elements, and photos and textures.”

With such improvements, it is only possible for PowerPoint to become more prevalent in professional presentations, both in school and the workforce.

Sources Cited

Microsoft. (2012). The New PowerPoint.

Purewal, Jacobsson Sarah. (September 20, 2010). The World’s Worst PowerPoint Presentations.


Blog Post #6: Plain Language

Throughout my college English career, the one main issue that has plagued many of my reports and papers is my tendency to be redundant and use unnecessary words, usually to sound smarter or fill up empty spaces on a Microsoft Word document.  While my underlying intentions may sometimes work, my ultimate goal is to become the best writer I can be and this can only be accomplished by mastering clear, cohesive, and direct methods of writing.

As a technical writer, it is absolutely imperative that the writer learn and master a means of translating difficult, job-specific vernacular to be understood by people of all levels of literacy and education.  In fact, Public Law 111-274 states that “this Act is to improve the effectiveness and accountability of Federal agencies to the public by promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.”  With such a wide range of levels in literacy and education in our country, many people would be lost or confused.  A simple step-by-step guide to setting up your sound system could potentially be seen as another language should the discourse be difficult or highly technical.  Even something that may seem simple and easily understandable to one could be quite the opposite for another.

While in school at Valdosta State University, I took a creative writing class for a semester.  I enjoyed that class because our teacher was very smart and creative and she allowed us to indulge in any topics as long as they followed the assignment.  Many times I found myself writing about soccer because it is something I am very familiar with and have many experiences that I could discuss.  I remember writing a paper about my experience playing soccer overseas and how I was able to get involved in such an adventure.  I wrote about the selection process and how competitive it was to even be selected for a roster spot.  I felt confident about the paper and was hoping to receive high marks for my attention to detail and creative imagery.

However, upon receiving my paper back, I noticed red marks signaling areas for revision dotted all over my work.   The main issue after reading each comment was my failure to explain exactly what was meant by each stage that I went through to finally achieve a spot to play overseas.  The intricate soccer lingo had failed to capture the attention of my professor, who was confused on several points and could not grasp the significance of my paper because of it.  Although only a minute issue and clearly not government related, this opened my eyes to the importance of plain language and the ability to make technical jargon more understandable for the common person.  Without a more clear approach, people could become lost and lose focus on the ultimate goal the specific paper or report is trying to give.

Source Cited

Blog Post #5: Statement of Interest

For our upcoming service learning project, I would like to be considered for the position of technical coordinator.  Should that not happen, my second preference is to be considered for the position of copywriter.

I am interested in the position of technical coordinator for a few reasons.  The first reason is simply that I thoroughly enjoy reading, writing, and revising different works, while also adding my own flavor.  Having an efficient reading level and effective writing/revising skills are two vital tools that will give you the edge in the work place and I feel that I posses both attributes.    I am currently an English major, entering my final year with a focus on rhetoric and composition.  I have worked with many different forms of writing, presentation formats, and taken different roles while working in group projects during my time here at Georgia State.  With all this experience, I feel that I can decide with confidence different means for presenting and creating artifacts depending on what the artifact is.  My experience with the role of copywriter (I was the copyeditor for my group while taking an editing class here at GSU) will also help me with the editing and polishing of digital media artifacts.  I like to remain organized and feel that tools like Google Docs and Drop box assist in this process.  I have used both in several different classes so I feel comfortable with the programs.

I am available by phone at all times, as long as I am not working or at least busy.  I currently work as a valet so my hours tend to run late into the evening but I check my phone pretty frequently.  Same goes for email, as I am on my computer for hours each day.  I work well with others, enjoy problem solving (especially when it comes to document design, clarity, simplicity), and I am patient.  My father also works as a technical coordinator so his insight and advice will help me along the way.  I hope you choose me to perform one of the tasks I have discussed.

-Brian Forero

Does it pay to be creative?

Traditional vs. Non-traditional resumes is quickly becoming a hot topic of discussion for both employers and employees in our modern work force.  With so many potential jobs in the market and even more potential employees looking to fill those positions, the competition can be stiff so it is important to figure out noticeable professional ways to standout.  What traits and concepts make a resume noticeable yet professional?

It is vital, of course, to find ways for your resume to standout when submitting to potential employers or online databases.  Many people do not realize the amount of resumes received by both companies and online job databases.  Sorting through all those resumes must be a pain and many times, your run-of-the-mill resume is too quickly scanned and tossed for the next one.  Consequently, the question at large that I find here is not Traditional vs. Non-traditional; moreover, the question is how to relate your resume to your potential employer.  The answer to this imperative question is to plan ahead, understand the field/career you are looking to pursue, and model your resume around those fine points.

The idea that traditional resumes are dying is a bit exaggerated.  Yes, it is true that your standard paper resume listing accomplishments and credentials is a bit out-dated, but the truth is that may be all you need to land a job.  Your resume must reflect your career path.  If you are looking to work for Google or any career in graphic design, the standard paper resume will surely not be enough.  In this instance, a resume with more color, quality word spacing, and font size may be necessary.  Patricia Laya highlights this point when she states, “we asked career coaches if and when it pays to be creative.  The consensus: It depends where you’re applying to.”

horror resume

The first resume showcases the perfect example of a resume for someone looking to work in the television/film industry, particularly works of horror.  The constructor of this resume strategically models his resume after a movie poster.  The title is at the top and in big bold letters to demonstrate creativity.  A brief bio detailing his objective and skills is presented in a thrilling, exciting manor.  The picture adds more flair to his resume, while also including his experience down the left side.

 google resume

This next resume is perfect for someone looking to acquire a job at Google.  It may look like your run-of-the-mill resume, but it works for this job.  The creator of this resume, clearly looking to work for Google, crafted a resume resembling a Google search page for his name.  A list of experience, skills, and education is provided, but the fact that his resume relates to his employer means he is likely to win the job over others.

On a side note, I want to voice my opinion that social media and job recruitment should remain completely separate entities.  This opinion is of course irrelevant, as companies still use these social media outlets to scope potential employees, but I have seen a few posts mention that social media outlets should take the place of traditional resumes and I completely disagree.  The internet is vast and unknown and while most people understand what is right from wrong, social media, aside from job specific outlets like LinkedIn, should be a place where people can express themselves free from judgment.  It is not the business of the employers to pry into personal lives unless it negatively affects the company.

Sources Cited:

Laya, Patricia. (2011, June 11). 13 insanely cool resumes that landed interviews at Google and other top jobs. Retrieved from  [NB: And links to more. A good idea? It depends.]