Sunday, November 14, 2004

Smart Mobs and Flash Mobs

Smart mobs and flash mobs are changing the way information is communicated within the structural walls of organizations around the globe. The fact that information can now be sent with the click of a button is mind boggling if not revolutionary. This is has allowed for a totally new way of running organizations that has never been seen before. Though Cyndi sees them as a passing phase, I'm not so sure.

Smart mobs and flash mobs have been able to run out world leaders as well as allowing for the protesting of national governments. Protesters are now able to assemble with little or no prior notice, leaving officials with not much of a chance in stopping the formation of masses of people. They are even applied to simpler meetings such as Stephanie McCarthy's experience at Grand Central Station. One can only wonder how this technology could have been used during events of the last century. Perhaps it could have ended the Civil Rights Movement earlier or even aided in the protest of the Vietnam War.

Why is that these new technologies have been so effective? The answer is simple in that information that may have taken days, weeks, or months to be delivered, is now able to reach the intended people almost as fast as the information is thought of. It goes on further than that though by almost eliminating the information being given to those who are not part of the inner "circle". This has left officials with almost no way of interfering with the free speech of citizens that had been previously able to silence.

However it must be noted that smart mobs and flash mobs have been able to effect in a positive way communications within organizations that still possess a traditional mold. This information is now able to reach workers in a more efficient way with the advantage of a quicker way. How many times has what John said to Susan "the meeting is changed to Friday", has been delivered to Tom as "Friday is the new day to meet for lunch".

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Weblogs are here to stay...

It really is no surprise that the ways in which organizations communicate are once again evolving into something different. Only a decade ago did email become the "it" way to correspond not only in the personal lives of each other, but also in daily business transactions. Everyone was eager to set up their own address to become part of the tech savvy crowd and ultimately ended up in fighting with AOL to get that perfect screenname. Somehow the cool name you wanted ended up having an array of random numbers attached to the end of it no matter how many times you changed it. But alas that email address has become more of a pain in the ass than cool tool you had anticipated.

Now our days are filled with sifting through an endless amount of emails that you really don't want to read. No you don't want that penis enlargement that always seems to be present in your inbox. Nor do you really feel like reading yet another one of your bored friend's surveys that seem to ask the same redundant questions. Unfortunately this sad realization of emailing has conditioned us to quickly push our delete key without much thought even when dealing within a work environment. That is to say to that the email from a boss (which in many cases can be more than one in day) can be quickly overlooked just as the email from Publishers House Clearing (still waiting on my million dollars by the way).

So how do we fix the problems that emails bring upon us? Well (drumroll please)...weblogs and aggregators. Stephanie S has been using them for a long time, while it is completely new to me (Blogger has been an adventure). Weblogs provide a much better source of communication between a group of people, no matter what the size. Instead of an endless amount emails to people, a person can simply make a post to a single blog and deliver the message to everyone at one time. This way, no one has to sort through their email in an attempt to locate a single message and also goes onto to alleviate the quick pushing of the delete button. Elizabeth and Stephanie C gave a good analogy when they say it in someways like a diary of information.

News aggregators take weblogs even further in their convience levels. These aggregators function by keeping alerting you of all new post that are posted to the weblog that you are linked too. This may not seem like a big deal, but it truly can help keep a person organized and on top of things.

The organization doesn't stop here when looking at weblogs. The ability to keep bookmarks or make lists is a great advantage. Lists are so easy to keep track of and allow other people who are viewing your blog to easily find what they are looking for. We're all busy and nobody feels like having to read through a bunch of post in order to find one thing (well maybe if you have a lot a free time you do, but you obviously don't live in NYC).

Needless to say, weblogs are not going away. They will only continue to be a part of communicaiton in business and life.

Monday, November 01, 2004

"Unmade in America"

"UNMADE IN AMERICA"

Harper's bazaar posed quite a few question marks when looking at the "command and control" model that has become an intricate part in the way major corporations are run in this country. No longer is Henry's Ford model of production relevant, but rather the global assembly line that has left the jobs of the American people at the doorstep of foreign workers as Steph has pointed out.

This is to say that the very computer (a Dell in fact) I am typing on has had its parts made in array of countries spanning the oceans of the world. As Michelle says, it is for the sake of time and that evil dollar. Yes I did in fact say "countries". One part perhaps was made in China, while another was made in India. The list of countries could easily go on to fill up a large amount of my 250 words, but this time I shall spare the reader in an attempt to finish this assignment Needless to say that this new way of production has caused an immense dependency on other countries for parts and pieces that could easily be produced say here in the great white way (no pun intended).

This should scare you the reader and everyone else for that matter. Catastrophes of natural and man made state are becoming an epidemic knocking on the door of the world. Due to this fact, the disruption of the line of productions is bound to be affected. One needs not look further than September 11 to see how one instance of less than 20 minues could complete shut down an entire means of completing the production of goods.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

diagram of relationships


diagram of relationships
Originally uploaded by nb981.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Social Networks

For the first time in this course, I can actually say that I really got it. This brief and straight to the point reading delivered a very important illustration of social network analysis and the means by which it is employed. The kite method is an approach that makes the subject "approachable" for the general masses (or in this case, me) or as Melissa put it visually illustrates the human relationship within the organization.

The idea of using degrees as way to measure the amount of network activity is one that can be easily understood and regulated. By looking at each person and the amounts of "hits" per say they get through direct connections can be a useful tool. As all things in life though, this idea has a flip side. People are naturally inclined to assume that most "hits" equals the better position, but the text points out that this isn't necessarily the case. It doesn't always mean the more the "hits" the better, but rather how many home runs you scored at the end of the season.

Noteworthy other aspects of social networks analysis are the concepts of betweeness and closeness. Betweenness looks at the position between important players of the game. Sarah summed this up nicely with it simply being the shorter the path, the quicker translation of information. Much like the manager of a team in a baseball game, information may must be sent through a single person that perhaps sums an entire group. And just like a manager of a team in a baseball game, if this person doesn't deliver the right message...they take the blame. If looking at this same baseball example, the pitcher and catcher would be the ones to show the importance of betweenness. While they don't exactly communicate with the rest of the team throughout a game as much as they communicate with each other...they have the quickest ability to reach other players if need be. This is to say that when A Rod takes the plate they tell the outfield to go back.

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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Shannon Weaver II

I have to say that the online class has a slight disadvantage on this one, but I'm going to give it a go anyway.

The whole idea that meanings are not found in words themselves, but rather networks is rather interesting. This is to say that networks are what shape the meaning behind a word instead of a word shaping a meaning and then delivering it into a network. I would have to say that it makes total sense when you look at it. In a way I think it combines both Jakobson's point of view while incorporating that of Sassures (now take into consideration that I may be completely wrong and blowing hot air). To me it seems to combine the idea that there can be many different meanings per word and the idea that words may need subcodes to be understood and that by incorporating them together you can sort of get a network effect. Danielle points out that to understand the idea of this network, one really must understand the importance of subcodes. The networks give our words meanings while the subcodes can change from person to person or culture to culture. This allows the ability for meanings to be different in endless amounts of ways.

Melissa had a neat point when looking at the word God and its meaning to people and the origin that it is understood to be from. To a person who takes the word as holy it is very signifigant, but to someone who doesn't than it is just another word.

Everyone picks up words differently from the time they start speaking. Our words meanings however aren't shaped alone by each of us or even a group of us, but perhaps by the network of society and the connotations that each person places upon it the things they area given.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Shannon Weaver Cont'd...

The Shannon Weaver model seems to be a never-ending saga in the world of communications. Ever evolving though, this concept allows for the admission of many different aspects that can alter the way we look at is a whole.

Saussere understood this well and had his own take on the communication thing. He felt that in every signal there is something that gives that "word" its meaning. As Danielle said, both must be present or the symbol lacks a purpose. So I you could say that though a person may feel as though they adequately got a point across, if what was behind that point was misinterpreted than the transmission was actually a failure.

When studying language, typology is a very neat thing. From the time an infant starts learning they are taught to classify words based on certain facts of those words. Most often these words are classified phonetically in effort to help them read and associate sounds to letters. This all certainly makes perfect sense and has proven to work over hundreds of years. Yet by the time high school is presented, these kids are taught to root these words based on their ancestral background. Why? Does knowing that the root word of one word is from the same "old" language of another really matter? Roman Jakobson was definitely on to something by stating that words should be categorized grammatically rather than by origins.

This was certainly not Jakobson's most notable addition to the Shannon Weaver model. As Sarah Doolin stated, "the recognition of the overlapping system of meanings and the need for subcodes". She gave a very effective example of this when discussing the difference between American English and British English. The difference between these forms of English can be great and without subcodes one may find it impossible to decipher.