Live from Congility: A World with Fewer Walls

A World with Fewer Walls, by Noz Urbina


Overt selling has given way to problem solving. Sweeping statements have given way to conversation-like messages -Robert Rose


Silos are a general metaphor for “separation”

  • A lack of understanding
  • A lack of communication
  • A lack of usability

Generalizing communication

  • A source hands a medium to an audience
  • A source within an organization hands a medium to another source within the organization
  • Every organization section is a silo into itself
  • Organizations spoke but couldn’t hear
  • Now we’re in the net – a different medium, where the sources and audiences are all connected

What are the different ways we separate our social media communications?

  • Professional vs. Personal begins to merge
  • Philosophical shift
  • Clients are looking for solutions, not sales

Everything is marketing

  • Tech docs are marketing materials
  • Call centers are responding to problems

Everything is user assistance

  • “Should I buy now?”
  • “Should I buy your thing?”
  • They need to be assisted along the way
  • A technical communicator is necessary and relevant across all marketing and all UX

We have so many formats and channels

  • Writing for specific channels is no longer a viable option
  • We need to merge channels
  • Web (Marcomm)
    • Customer lifecycle, focusing pre-sale
    • Strong branded voice
    • Direct revenue driver
    • Grew up on websites
    • Little motivation to reuse anything – just linked everywhere
    • But that’s not how the web works – pages work as portals now
  • Techcom
    • Focused post-sale
    • Didn’t have to “sell” to get engagement
    • The voice was very neutral
    • Focused offline, via PDFs and manuals – static content with little
    • Little access to behavioral data – just handed over assets and left
    • Very good at reuse (handed over lots of large documents)


  • In techcom, this is the thing that serves
  • In marcomm, this is the thing you use to create, manage, and serve content. It’s all encompassing.
  • In tech, an author does everything
  • In marketing, an author just works with words
  • Tech and marketing have all of these words that mean different things to each of them

How do you keep up with accelerating change?

  • You can’t.
  • We need to stop trying to keep up, and start trying to prefict
  • We need to aim for where we want to be tomorrow, not where we want to be today
  • We need future-proof, future-ready content

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