bianca burgess' study guide blog

Monday, November 08, 2004

weblogs, aggregators, and wikis in an org

In this new millennium we have come to rely heavily on emails as a way of communicating. This reliance can be seen even more so in that of a large corporation one for example like Kaiser Permanente. It can be assumed that those who are a part of this corporation receive company wide emails each day, many of which have no relevance to them personally or are overwhelmed by so many that the majority are left unread. Michelle Eberhart makes an example to this kind of redundancy with the emails received at Marymount. I just signed onto my account for the first time last week in all my three years here so I'm just coming to learn all the needless information sent out to you in the Marymount system This was something that we faced at the beginning of t, but now we've come to be presented with several new ways to communicate within an organization.

Blogs are a way to personally present your information. In a company they can be easily used to find out any new topic that that particular person of the blog wants people to know. So if Tina your boss wants all of her employees to know a task to do that day she can make a post about things that she feels her people should know. This eliminates a mass amount of general emails to everyone, which most likely might not be read. If Tina wants to tell an employee something specifically pertinent to them than she can revert back to her email. Elizabeth Rodriguez also points out that blogs make a company or a personal blog accesible to search engines like google. This can be both a good and a bad thing since you might not want to post to personal or confidential information since it can be accessed by all who use the internet.

An additional aid to a blog is an aggregator. One sets up a system where all blogs or websites that they frequently look at and are interested in and they can put them all together and have a way to monitor their activity. Anytime anything is updated or changed on a blog that person can use their aggregator to see whose blog or website has been changed and find out any new information they may need to know. This also is another example of how these new communicators are better because instead of going through each email to find out something new you have an aggregator that will tell you whether something has been added or not. Also aggregators help you to be connected to everyone in the organization at all times. It’s not as impersonal or secluded as emails tend to be because it isn’t one person sending out to a group of people or to one other person. But instead, if everyone in the organization all has a blog and an aggregator it’s a more circular or closely nit way of being connected as opposed to linear.

Wikis are something that I am unfamiliar with, but they do sound very helpful. Steph S seems to be ahead of us all since she says she has been familiar with blogs for three years now(good for you). To me the link we were given to Business Week Online made them sound very useful in a business. As opposed to the community that the new social software of blogs and aggregators give wikis allow a community to be connected to and have access of one site. Each person can add to and edit the wiki according to information that they think is new, old or needs more explanation to the group.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Unmade in America

This article was an amazing and very shocking example of our countries way of life. The constant American way for more and more and more no matter what the cost. The catastrophe at Enron should have been an example to our country that the way we operate in large corporations should change, but yet no one has taken heed of their mistake.

Most major companies, DELL being the most largely used example in this piece, rely on outsourcing to create many of their products. The U.S based portion of the company tends to be the upper and higher level management and then the manufacturing is done in many other countries all over the world. These companies have factories in so many places that your new technological trinket has seen more of the world than you most likely will ever see in your lifetime.

Barry Line points out many problems with this new way of running a corporation. The first in which affects many of the lower class people in this country: jobs. Our jobs are being taken away from people who need them most and being shipped off to other countries where the same job can be done for much much less. I know I've personally had this experience where I've called Citibank for help with my account and been put in even more confusing situation trying to understand the strong Indian accent of the customer service representative. Secondly, another problem I picked up from the reading is the lack of accountability these companies have to the other often poorly run factories in foreign countries. They only have a contract with most of these factories and therefore do not own them and in turn are not respondsible for the conditions in which they operate.

We were able to see after September 11th the extreme reliance these corporations had and still have on outside manufacturing sources. They had to shut down operations (the few of those that are still done in the US) for a while because they were not able to receive incoming foreign made parts since our borders had been shut down. Previously in the old way of creating a product all of the pieces were made in one central location, so if something went wrong management could go over and fix it quickly and rely on back inventory unitl then. This is something that is impossible in our new situation where companies suach as DEll and Compaq, in the race to be the top PC maker, keep as little as 4 days worth of inventory on the premises. This is barely enough to keep the company a float for more than a day. Doing things the old fashioned way allowed for a more secure product with less flaws and more consistencey; this is something that we should and need to go back to.

This most important problem with this new way of running corporations is the extreme foreign reliance we have. Our major companies are so internationaly spread out that if something should happen in a country where the majority of the factories are located they could collapse. It is very dangerous for our government to allow these companies to put our countries economy on the line in this way just for a higher status on the DOW. Everyone thinks that having world trade open up is such a great thing, and it is to a certain extent, but not at the expense of our economy and not if it allows our economic status to be in the hands of many other countries. Something so important should be something that only we, The United States, have control of.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Social Network Analysis is a way of displaying the people or groups in a network and their relationship to one another. Lyneve describes SNA in a different way where she says that it "involves the mapping and measuring of these normally invsible relationships between people, providing an organizational X-ray." Beth describes SNA in a more comical sort of way where she compares the diagram given to us to the idea of five dgrees of seperation. In my mind I always related this theory to being closely seperated from any normal person. But Beth relates it to being seprated by five degrees from a famous person, as if everyone else isn't good enough to be connected to (Maybe it's just me, but I found it funny). When creating an SNA it is important to determine the importance of a node. It is made clear in this introduction that this does not necessarily mean to create and display the hierarchy. They actually call this centrality. This is the node who the other nodes in the network rely the most heavily on or whose presence is the most effective.

They then go on to explain the benefits of different location and how to measure the networks activity. Degrees, or rather the concept of it, is what is used to measure the number of direct connection a node has. Being between (betweenness) two groups is both beneficial and sometimes not. In this particular network the person with a crucial between location is Heather, who if taken away would cut off the connection two other nodes have with one another. The most interesting point that I thought was made was when peripheral players such as Ike and Jane in the network diplayed are not over looked. People such as these may not play an important role in this particular network, but may be very crucial players in others giving this network another outside resource and connection.

This analysis is just an extremely complex way to monitor and make a mapping of people in a group and their relationship to one another. Then as an extra added feature somehow mathematically measure it all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Meaning is not in the words

The meaning of a message does not come from the source, but it originates from the network. From reading Cynthia's post about this assignment she helped me to understand the extremely formal code of the language that was spoken in Shannon and Weaver II. For example we all living in the United Stated all speak the same code, which is english. But because I am not in the class on Mondays and Wednesdays and therefore am not able to hear the lectures which explain the subcode spoken by Shannon and Weaver I am only able to understand Cynthia's particular subcode because it is written in terms that are more plausible for me to grasp.

The meaning of messages only come to formation through the network in which they were created. This means what someone sends out comes to formation through the situations and culture or medium it comes through. For example the way I dress and the clothes I put on will send out a different message to different people. However each person was raised to believe the limitations between what appropriate dressing is like will affect their perception of me and what I have on. So the cultural network that each person comes from will determine their meaning of my message and will not be determined by me the source. So even if I personally do not feel that what I have on is revealing if I live within a conservative network and people like myself are not the majority the meaning of my message will comply with the network in which I am surrounded.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

chapter two review

The second chapter in the book focuses on myths and misconceptions placed around communication. They point out that most people assume that they know more about communicating than they actually do. Many assume that because they think communicating is common sense they believe themselves to have a good grasp on it. However, most common sense concepts are not correct.

The first myth they describe is one that surrounds meanings and that what people mean is what they say. This is not true. Each person has his or her own idea as to what each word means to them so it is very important to be clear and ask questions to make sure that in communicating you understand what someone else is saying and truly meant.

Another myth brought up in this chapter is that people automatically assume that communication is a good thing. The authors immediately correct this misconception by saying that it is neither a good or a bad thing, but a tool, that can be used in both fashions. I believe this idea comes from the fact that people associate commuication with simply talking and making sure you and another person are on the same page. But this is just an example of using communication in a good way. Therefore, the more talking someone does with another person will not necessarily result in a benefitted situation. It is only if the quality of what was said was beneficial and not the quantity or how much the same thing was repeated over and over again.

The authors have created a diagram that effectively diplays the communication process. This diagram shows how communication is not a one way action and how each party has the opportunity to take the information given in and process it and give their own ideas and opinions.

Within the communication process there are four major components. The source is the person or group who sends out the message. The channel is the medium by which the message is carried. Before our country became more civilized the medium the U.S Post Office used for delivering messages was a man on a horse. The receiver is the person or persons who receive the message, and of course the final and very important component is the message. It is pointed out that in order for the communication process to be effective we must put ourselves in the other persons shoes so that the sender and or receiver can understand where the other is coming from.

In describing formal communication, which is that between the upper level authority and the subordinate, it's important to remember that it will only be received if the authority figure is willing. They are in a position where they can be totally unreceptive and stop the message from being received and taken into action. It is suggested that the subordinate must clearly shape and formulate their ideas, make them direct, positive and timely so that it wont be so easy for them to be rejected.

Horizontal communication, that between people of the same status, happens much more frequently. For example, I am much moe likely and alot more comfortable talking to Aubrey about any complcations I might have with this class than the professor himself.