Friday, June 18, 2010

Where's The Manual?

Over the last couple of days my life in corporate and technical communications seems to have crossed over into my life as both a pop-culture writer, and motor racing fan.

While watching the advance press-screening of TOY STORY 3, I was delighted to discover that a central plot point revolved around the toys using the manual to discover how to effectively reboot Buzz Lightyear via his 'reset' button - of course, as they say, "hilarity ensues."

Then this morning I was pointed in the direction of this amusing video of McLaren Formula One team drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, both World Champions, trying to build one of their race cars without the aid of their team. The plaintive cry of "Where's the manual?" made me smile.

But as much fun as it is to hear "manuals" used and talked about like this, it made me think about a more serious take.

I still keep hearing people in the technical communications industry say they aren't valued, that what they do has no place in a hi-tech digital world. Well it doesn't come much more hi-tech than Formula One, or digital than Pixar, but still the idea of, and need for, a "manual" is paramount.

In both cases, the toys, and the drivers, wanted to know how to do something.

And that's where the future of technical communications lies. It doesn't matter what form the "manual" may be, now or in the future; we have the skills to provide the best answers to the question "How?"

Now, that's real value...

Just ask Buzz or the McLaren F1 team.

1 comment:

KnowledgeBishop said...

This is excellent. Thanks so much for sharing. I, too, believe we in the technical communication field are of paramount importance to the future of both work and play in a connected world. We will be at the forefront of information exchange in the future, creating the online and mobile topics that offer the answers people require. It is encouraging to see the underlying need for our work emphasized in pop culture.