As a writer – albeit these past 30 some years of technical topics – I believe words actually do have meaning and should be used carefully and correctly. So when I read recently in a LinkedIn post that a product manager had a “deep understanding” of his industry; or a post from my neighborhood email blast that a neighbor was looking to have someone do a “deep clean” of her house; or finally, that a webinar promised a “deep dive” into a topic; I knew something was amiss.
What’s up with all of these deep activities?
Why suddenly is an understanding of an industry insufficient that it now requires the adjective deep to make it somehow better? How does a cleaning of a house become more thorough by making it a deep cleaning? And a deep dive? Unless you’re discussing a scuba dive, what are you talking about?
The obvious answer, of course, is that corporate speak is to blame. People seem to need to misuse words to somehow make their lives more meaningful. Or something like that.
In technical writing, on the other hand, there is no “deep dive”. Or to put it another way, if you don’t know – don’t have a true understanding – of the technology you’re writing about, you’re wasting your time and, more importantly, the time of the poor person reading your useless work.
Because all good technical writing is a “deep dive”. To do less than that is not technical writing, it’s wordsmithing. And that is the biggest insult you can possibly hurl at a technical writer.