A new year, a new startNovember 10, 2007
Welcome to the official newsletter/blog of CyberText Consulting. The first posts will start in January 2008.
After six years (2001–2007) creating the quarterly CyberText newsletter, I decided 2008 was the time to start using a more immediate format for disseminating the tips and hints I typically included in the newsletters.
Why a blog? The main reasons for switching to a blog format are:
- A blog allows YOU the opportunity to comment on any article, as well as offer your opinions and similar things you’ve found and would like to share. With the PDF newsletter format, this was only possible if you sent me an email.
- You can subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified of new posts as I make them. This means you don’t have to wait for three months for the new stuff. By the way, your RSS subscription is anonymous. I don’t have your email address—in fact, I don’t know who will be reading the blog at all. Subscribing is as easy as clicking the “Entries (RSS)” link at the bottom of the page. More on RSS feeds…
- I can offer more cool stuff, more often. I deliberately designed the newsletter to be no more than two pages, with a distribution of every three months. This meant I had to cull or carry over articles that just didn’t fit the two page limit I’d set for each issue.
- Better searching for the newsletter-style articles. While the current PDF newsletters can be searched on the CyberText website, sometimes it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. The blog search function only returns results from the blog posts, not from the rest of the CyberText website.
- With a blog I can categorize and tag posts, which means that if you’re looking for tips for Microsoft Word, for example, you just go to that category or tag in the ‘tag cloud’ and you’ll get ALL the posts that are related to Microsoft Word on one page. Over time, I hope to archive all the old newsletter articles that are still relevant as blog posts, but I’ll start with small steps first!
- You can easily share the hints and tips I’ll provide with others just by sending them a link to the relevant page. With the PDF newsletter, you had to send either the entire PDF or the link to the newsletter Contents page and then hope that your friend or colleague bothered to follow that long trail to the information.
- More and less work for me! Less, in that I won’t have to spend 8+ hours putting each newsletter together; more, because I’ll likely spend more than eight hours every quarter adding posts! However, this 8+ hours will be spread out in small parcels of time (e.g. 5 minutes here, 15 minutes there) so I think it will be more manageable.
- I can add posts from anywhere in the world, at any time. At the moment, I’m limited to creating the newsletter using InDesign software on my PC.
- I can ditch InDesign. I only use Adobe InDesign 2 for the newsletter. Because of this and because the newsletter is issued quarterly, I either forget how to do things in InDesign (like bullets, tabs, insert images etc.), or I try to use commands (such as CTRL+B for bold formatting in other applications) that don’t do the same thing in InDesign. It’s a very frustrating program to use when you only use it on the odd occasion. However, I won’t remove it from my system until I’ve harvested any previous newsletter articles that are still relevant and posted them here as part of the archive.
- A place for everything, and everything in its place. I can incorporate work-related posts from my personal blog into this blog so that everything related to work, technical writing, technical communication, hints and tips for applications, useful websites related to work, and so on, is in the one place.
So, there’s my list of reasons for switching. Hopefully, you’ll join me on this journey!