About Joe Pairman

I lead the consulting practice at Mekon, focusing on structured content and taxonomy. I’ve been shaping information in a professional context for 15 years, from communication coaching in multinational corporations to enterprise information architectures and content models.

Having lived in Taiwan for 12 years, I’m now back in the UK, living near London with my wife Vivian and my daughters Claire (born 2013), and Elizabeth (born 2014).

Resources that I like

Thought-provoking resources on an effective and undersung writing style, and on what "a style" in writing should mean in the first place:
Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose

Strategy isn't what most people think it is, according to Richard Rumelt (which raises interesting questions for Content Strategy):
Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

This book on the Semantic Web and Linked Data is useful for anyone in structured content, and it's surprisingly easy to read:
Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist

Why “Shaping Information”?

To make information actionable, authors must shape it into stories. Classification and management systems must help this narrative process.

Professional communication should have a carefully shaped narrative flow, for example leading readers from known facts to new, or alternating abstract concepts with illustrative examples. It must progress to a clear and actionable ending. To no small degree, authors have to tell stories.

Yet other shapes are applied to content as it’s drafted, reviewed, and released. These shapes are expressed in structured content types, taxonomies, and database fields. These technical structures can support the first kind of structure: the narrative flow, making it easier for authors to sequence their ideas and for readers to find what they’ve written. However, the technology and processes sometimes get in the way, stripping context from content and burdening authors with trivial tasks.

How can we develop technical and formal structures that let information tell a story? My posts here explore this.