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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Social Media in the Workplace

Hardman, R. (2012, 10 29). Is social media the new work-life? . Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-hardman/is-social-media-the-new-w_b_2039335.html



In "Is Social Media the New Work-Life?", Robin Hardman lists some of the reasons why social media is becoming important in the workplace. First, she suggests that you can't hold social media use strictly for business. Letting your workers use it to talk about last night's football game helps humanize the workers, strengthening their relationship with customers and company. Secondly, she points out that senior leaders have discovered that flexibility in time and work area has become beneficial, and the reasons they resisted them for so long is very similar to why they might resist social media these days: fear they they will be unproductive and irresponsible. They trust their employees to be responsible face-to-face, why would they be any different online? Last, she states that social media is no longer a choice in the workplace. Employers can either control the message social media is sending, or let it control the way they react to it. She believes that social media and the work life will continue to dramatically effect our lives and the way we work.

I agree with the points that Hardman made, but I feel she didn't show both sides very well. While all she stated is very true, she didn't show anything about the benefits of keeping social media out of the workplace. It's all situational, even though circumstances are often similar. In some cases, social media can help advertisement and promotions for a business, but on the other hand, some workers will have a tough time keeping on task with all of the distractions around being available. Myself speaking from the standpoint of being the "next generation," I believe that many new, younger workers (including myself) will have a tougher time staying on task with what we've spent many hours on just wasting time. The environment will be familiar, and the familiarity of it was often spent lazily, or used as a distraction. With this also comes knowing what you're doing with it more than people who have spent less time using social media, giving us both an advantage, but also a bit of a step we need to overcome. Ultimately, it is up to the employers allowing it or not-- unlike what Hardman suggests, I believe that social media is still a choice that "no" can be said to.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Twitter in plain English


This video will help people who don't understand what the "point" of Twitter and most social media is. Whether you see it as a waste of time, or simply don't have a clue what it is, it will give you a good understanding of people's thought processes when they spend their time telling everyone about every little thing they might do.

Solving crime



Police have begun solving and preventing crimes by using social media websites like Facebook. Many of these crimes are solved simply because the criminal posting incriminating evidence of themselves on these websites, intending to boast their crimes to their friends. Many of these websites have policies to protect their user's privacy, but police can gain access to a criminal's online information through the agreement of a friend (of the suspect's), making a fake account and befriending the suspect (similar to going undercover), and making an emergency request (to the website owners). Facebook has been the most effective for police so far, with YouTube coming in second. Twitter has also been helpful, but is much more reluctant to reveal information to the police without a warrant, to protect their users' identities.

Multitasking

Wallis, C. (2006, March 27). Time. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1174696-1,00.html




In the article "genM: The Multitasking Generation," by Claudia Wallis, she suggests that multitasking (mainly in the form of technology) is ruining the quality of work in schools and the structure in family relationships. Wallis gives the instance of the Cox family, where they all live in the same house, but practically live in their own separate little universe. Between their son in his room doing many things on his computer while claiming to "do homework," and his sister doing similar in the living room, their parents have a hard time grasping how they get anything done. With their attention span being sliced into many different directions, their ability to learn, reason, socialize, be creative, and understand the world is changing, Wallis says. Researchers have found that multitasking is rapid toggling of focus rather than simultaneous processing, which, though it may feel like you're getting more done, is actually less efficient. There are some things that we do simultaneously without much effort; walking while talking,  cooking dinner and watching television, and others. She argues that even though generations are becoming more adapt and believe that they will just get more efficient at multitasking to no end, that just like the human body cannot run a one minute mile, the human brain has limits.

I have to agree with Wallis that multitasking is making us much more unproductive workers, but not in all cases. Social media websites, especially ones like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all sites that can easily distract us from our work. You may use them as resources at times for your goal, but you can easily waste time by giving your attention to everything on the side, whether it be a sophisticated article unrelated to your work, all the way to funny pictures or videos that will only take a moment-- until you end up watching five of them. However, even with all of this distracting us from our main goal, I would argue that some good comes out of it, if you use it properly. Multitasking can give you the skill to focus on multiple things at once, which is a good thing, but you don't want to focus on things with unrelated goals. If everything you are doing simultaneously are to reach the same goal, it will be a very good skill to have. If you are trying to work, but doing other things that would be considered a distraction, it can be called a "bad habit." Many people will find listening to music while reading very distracting, but possibly helpful while working on something else, like math. There are many jobs that require you to multitask, or focus on many things at once. From something like babysitting, making sure the baby doesn't eat their toy while the toddler doesn't get their hands on the fragile vase, to being a pilot, where you need to pay attention to every single thing in front of you and make sure nothing is wrong. Ultimately, multitasking can be a very good or a very bad thing, it all depends on  what you are simultaneously doing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Procrastination


I'll have one by tomorrow. If not, read this again.

Olson, J. (2008, Procrastination. Surface Fabrication, 14, 20-21. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.consortiumlibrary.org/docview/274705895?accountid=14473
(Link will not work if you do not have an account)

In this article, Olson describes procrastination as something that comes with a high price. Putting things off can be harmful not only to your money, but your health as well. In the Vancouver Sun newspaper, a study of 200 students found that the procrastinators suffered more from stress-related illnesses than others, ranging from a common cold, all the way to migraines. He was able to chalk up procrastination to 3 main reasons: time, habit, and attitude. Some procrastinators simply don't have the time to fix an issue they have, and don't want to miss out on other important things-- which will only let the damage get more costly. Others believe that they work best, or enjoy the rush of working, under pressure. Which can cause them to get into the bad habit of putting things off until the last minute, resulting in sloppy work that they don't have time to double check. And lastly, some don't have the desire or motivation to finish, don't feel like it, or simply want to do something else. A large problem here is the major lack of self-discipline in our younger generations, which isn't always the child's fault. If parents were more firm with their children's time and making sure all of their work is done before they can go "have fun," rather than allowing frequent (sometimes long) breaks, self discipline would also improve.*

While procrastinating is easy to do, it's not easy to succeed with, nor is it very rewarding even if you can. Because it has become easier than ever with all of the social media that has become available to us, many are able to pass the hours without even thinking about it. What makes us follow this pattern of putting something off until later? And especially, what makes us somehow believe that it's just fine if we do? There are many different factors, for sure, but where does this attitude start? And where does it end? As Olson said: time, habit, and attitude. I feel like these can all be rephrased, in a way. If your issue is time, you're probably very busy and are having trouble with prioritizing what is most important. If your issue is a habit you've gotten in to, you may need more self discipline. If your issue is attitude, which I believe to be the most common, there are many varying things you may need to change. You may want to do something else, might be bored of doing the same thing over and over again, or even just downright not want to do it. All of these cases need to be treated differently-- but you do need to find out which one you're dealing with if you want to make any progress. "Entertainment" has, in so many different forms, caused us to compulsively waste time. Especially in the form of social media, often times, restricting yourself from internet access is necessary to getting any work done. 

For those that have less trouble with self procrastination, but see it in others, finding out what each individual person needs (often times a group-wide system will do) to stay productive can be worth your time.

*Has many sides of the story, would take a long time to fully grasp the "real" problem.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Social media addiction.

Social media addiction is a serious problem. I found a video of the Social Media Addicts Association (SMAA) that will help you understand what these people are going through day by day trying to escape the clutches of social media.




Jokes aside, how do you think real social media addicts deal without the availability of social media? The picture below is a pretty good example of what would happen until it comes back, or until they "get over it," I believe.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Games or Books?

Johnson, S.(2011). Games. In S. Cohen, 50 Essays (pg. 196-202). Boston: Bedford St. Martins.


Summary: In the excerpt "Games," taken from "Everything Bad is Good for You," by Steven Johnson, he highlights some of the positives and negatives that video games have in contrast with books. He first mentions a common argument used against video games: that while they can promote good hand-eye coordination, they can also promote aggression and violence in response to conflict, eventually pointing out that they believe most are "a colossal waste of time." They support reading, saying it exercises people's ability to learn, concentrate, focus, and store information. He tries to reveal the prejudice against games by creating a hypothetical instance where books came after video games, and shows how if games had come first, books would likely be looked at as a negative influence. He argues that while reading strengthens attention span, memory, and the ability to follow threads, that video games strengthen other mental skills just as important. Throughout all of this, he encourages both games and reading, pointing out the best qualities in both, rather than bashing one and supporting another.

Games can be rage-inducing and hard. Especially online.
I myself am an avid gamer, and I've heard these kinds of arguments many times, and I have to say that I agree with them to an extent. Video games, in my experience, work many important places of the brain, but also many more unimportant, if not negative places as well. Now, if you're a gamer that plays with friends or single-player games alone, it's not that bad. But if you play games online, you will understand that it is no place for a child. If and when I have children, I am definitely going to restrict many areas of gaming that I myself have gone through-- it can be that bad, and I don't see it getting better. Now, not to say all online interaction is bad, if you look past that, there are definitely good people who play games that I would not mind my child playing a game with, but at times, those people can feel like a rarity. For the capacity of video games themselves, there are many good qualities that they can bring: increased reaction time, better problem solving, improved creativity, great teamwork, and more*. Reading, for me, is a love-hate relationship. If somebody suggests a good book to me that I end up enjoying, I will be sucked up in the story line for hours upon hours, soaking up everything in the book with great recollection. If I am required to read a book I end up not enjoying, it can take hours upon hours to achieve what I am supposed to get finished-- Both ending up in much wasted time that could have been spent more productively. Not to say that books are bad, but that in my experience, as a gamer, I can't get myself to sit with one unless it thoroughly intrigues me. I do know people are who readers more so than they are gamers, and I see them in no way worse than me, if not better.

*Feel free to ask me some time, explaining my opinion on video games is much simper one-on-one.