Collaboration through Technology in Teaching and Research

This paper is for NCA 2010. It presents solutions for collaboration in the public relations campaigns course and in research.



Life documented

Buying eyeballs

I was just about to rant (OK, comment) on the practice of buying eyeballs. It goes like this: Leave a comment on my blog post and something good will happen (we’ll donate to a cause, enter you in a drawing for a prize, etc.). From a marketing perspective, is this how you want to get eyeballs? Is this a valid assessment trick for counting how many eyeballs you get?

Then, I realized that I was offering a small prize for comments on my teaching blog – these are important class instructions and I wanted confirmation that students saw them. Good educational practice?!

So then, I will no longer complain about Iams buying eyeballs. Come on, give them your pair of eyeballs and they will donate 25 meals to animals in shelters! (oh, and enjoy Pawcurious, it’s become one of my favorite blogs)

Online indentity management & social groups

I came across this presentation on John Bells’ blog (John Bell heads the Digital Influence Team at Ogilvy PR) and had to share it here.

This happens to be one of my research interests, something I alluded to in an earlier blog post, and I am now working to get ready for publication.

The presentation is from Paul Adams, senior UX researcher at Google. I love the connection he makes between social science and social interface/product design. I love the fact that this kind of research happens in a corporate setting, and if I didn’t love teaching so much I’d be jealous of his job.

Social media to the rescue: YouTube project to help bullied gay teenagers

An Indiana teenage boy committed suicide earlier this month, after being bullied in school for being gay. Sad, sad, sad, sad.

I will refrain from comments, opinions, and things I think we should do. I’m writing this post to draw attention to this YouTube project – an effort to reach out to kids in rural parts of the country who may not have access to in-person support: the It Gets Better Project. Gay adults can post videos telling teenagers that… it gets better.

Although I can’t claim to be able to relate to the experience (I grew up in Romania, where bullying wasn’t the norm, as far as I know; I’m not gay) – if I can help, let me know. I live in Indiana – if you’re a teenager happening upon this post, and if you need help or just companionship – send me an email. I’d feel privileged to be your friend.

And for those who are wondering about the relevance of this post to the mission of the blog (well, you know what, it’s my blog, I can post whatever I want) – this is an interesting case study about social media being used to help people.

Note: Don’t even bother to post homophobic comments, I’m telling you upfront that I won’t publish them.

TMI: Compulsion to share?

10-0121- RR Extreme - Slice rev3

photo credit: flickr user intiendes

We’re building a culture of sharing, powered by social media. Most of it is beautiful: Sharing an experience with others helps us enjoy it more, and feel we’re enjoying it together with… (with whom, that’s another question). It’s like that piece of chocolate cake that tastes so much better when shared with a loved one.

But when does the joy of sharing become compulsion to share? Do you ever feel your experience is not complete and fulfilling unless you can share it (at least a twitpic, a facebook post, a quick check-in)? There are arguments about not being able to live fully in the moment, when attention is divided between taking it in and sharing it on social media. But that’s not what this post is about. I’m thinking now about the TMI phenomenon that sometimes results from the compulsion to share.

I see people sharing too much detail, personal detail, embarrassing, even incriminating detail, detail that could get them in trouble with their bosses, or lower their credibility online. I remember seeing tweets or status updates about boobs and bras and waxing, and things I don’t really want to know or imagine about people. Why do they share? Is the behavior driven by a compulsion to share?

I’m really interested in understanding the psychology of this compulsion.

The compulsion to share is, probably, one of the reasons why many companies ban social media in the workplace. If people are compelled to share every little detail about their lives, and often make questionable decisions about the content they share, it is probable that sensitive information can be leaked this way.

Could it be true that people make more conscious, rational decisions about what to share in face-to-face conversations than in social media? Could it be that some of the sharing we do in social media is driven by impulses we find a bit hard to resist?

What is your experience? Do you feel the impulse to share on social media? Do you feel your experience is incomplete, without the sharing? And how do you deal with the impulse? Do you keep it in check? Give in? Have you ever shared information on impulse that you later regretted?

Help me understand.

Spring 2010 course: Social Media in the Workplace

Here is info about one of the courses I’m teaching in the Spring semester. The other one is Qualitative Research Methods for Technology Studies, TECH 621.

CGT 581: Social Media in the Workplace

Social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, wikis, and podcasts are radically changing several aspects of contemporary culture and society. But what happens when social media is brought inside organizations?

How does it affect productivity, collaboration, organizational structure and organizational culture?

Should social media be used within organizations, and if so, what are best practices?

In this course, we examine the use of social media in the workplace and conduct original research projects in order to derive conclusions about the optimal use of social media within organizations.

Students will learn how to:

1. Identify the best Web 2.0 tool fit for any specific task
2. Implement best practices for the use of social media in the workplace
3. Coordinate large group collaboration using social media
4. Make recommendations for social media use in specific organizational situations
5. Plan, implement, and assess social media adoption in the enterprise
6. Consider the interaction of social media and organizational culture
7. Identify the skills needed of leaders in the social media workplace
8. Implement leadership 2.0 skills