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January 30, 2009

Twether or not to twitter?

Getting used to Twitter was a bit weird for me. Although I'm an avid user of some networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, I found that Twitter was really cut and dry. Only 140 characters can be used in the space provided, so you are very limited to what you can say about your current project, setting, feelings or mood. And I do love the idea of being able to communicate to people in a moment's notice, but I have also been pretentious about too much communication. (I don't like the idea of having to always carry my phone around with me to every room in my house.) I do feel that if I had a mobile device with access to mobile web, I would probably utilize Twitter and other "webifying" communications more readily.

In Connect!, they list chatting, Instant messaging, status updaters, wikis and voice chat/videophoning as great ways to "webify" beyond emailing. (Connect! p.143-150) In today's hectic world, one can get too caught up in all of these simultaneous multi-medias. I sometimes find it hard to talk to one person in the middle of a project because I'm trying to write a concise, yet meaningful sentence. Imagine if I was trying to type a conversation while doing that too...disastrous!

However, I can see how Jen and her colleagues used Twitter to their advantage, by getting the word out on important events in a very precise and quick manner. Thus, I think it matters what you are focusing on or where you are working to determine if you can utilize these webifying applications in your job setting. I find it hard enough to finish a piece of homework without finding someone else's Facebook profile to look at or some article to read on MSN. So where it may work for some people, I just don't think that Twittering is for me...

January 29, 2009

I'm all a Twitter about workstreaming!

I am super into Twitter now that Krista taught me how to link my Twitter account to my Facebook account. I'm actually posting a little too often but that is my favorite feature on Facebook so now I have two different places to update. I used to only have four people to follow and now I get to read all of your posts and I love it! I've already learned that one of my classmates went to my old high school hang out last night and that there are fans of the show Robot Chicken which I also enjoy. This is neat.

I like the idea of workstreaming using Twitter. I think I have mentioned before that my current job doesn't require this level of technical sophistication but I would imagine that if I were a web worker, this would be a great tool for communicating in a team. I would think that checking your Twitter account to see what your coworkers are doing would be helpful in many ways. You could gauge your progress in comparison to your coworkers and alert them to what you have been working on as well. It allows a small space for a quick reply to someone's tweet and the best part is you don't have to be at a stuffy office. I think it's great.

The one thing that I didn't care for in our readings (Connect!) this week was the section on virutal meetings aka conference calls. This may be just because I don't like talking on the phone but I think speaking to more than one person at a time sounds like a disaster. Zelenka points out that there is a productive way to conduct conference calls but it still sounds odd to me. Other than that I think the life of a web worker sounds appealing.

Finally a way to connect!

The work we have done this week has been eye opening and provided me with a number of new ideas on how to manage my team. As a sales manager, I have a team that is spread out through the western part of the US and it is difficult for me to keep in touch and help them where I need to. Personally, I don't think Twitter is the answer because we are in the field callin on prospective customers, but other options outlined will make it easier to connect with them. I did enjoy the time on Twitter because it gave me a forum to let people know what is going on in my day and the status I was at.
As for applying this to work, currently we use our cell phones to send emails, text messages and calls when necessary but we all have different schedules and meeting set and don't want our phones going off during an imprortant visit. By webifying our schedule and making sure that the time zones are followed, will give us an idea of when the other people are available and when we can make a call. The other tool that I will be implementing is a status update sent out, so that if somebody is unavailable we know that and can wait to make contact. Personally, I am not technical or internet savy so this is a big eye opener to me and what I can do with my remote team.

I really liked how the article mention that workers would send emails at late or early times in te day to show a boss that they are working. Personally I have done this on the weekends and late at night to show them that I keep long hours. As a boss, I feel that the article was right on by saying trust is implied when you hire someone and if they feel that they have to earn it, that will lead them to doubt themselves and less likely to take risks.

Twitter - Fun, but personally not so useful

So, after using Twitter for a couple of days I have some mixed feelings. On Facebook, I absolutely love the status update feature. It's one of my favorite things about Facebook - you can put a small quote or song lyric, provide a link for people to look at, or, as it was meant for, tell people what you're up to. I always found myself wanting a little more flexibility with the feature however. I think allowing a little more characters and maybe some HTML coding so you can customize link names or change the style of the text would enhance the feature more. Going into Twitter, since the site is dedicated completely to status updates, I was expecting to get this extra flexibility. However, I found that some of my posts had to be shortened because they were too long, and I still have no ability to customize the appearance of my status update. Maybe these additions would be a little too extravagant and make too much of the simple status update, but without them, I feel like an entire site dedicated to status updates is pretty useless. With the functionality that it currently has, it doesn't seem much better than the status feature integrated into Facebook as only a small part. The disappointments I came across with Twitter were also listed as cons in the Anywired "Workstreaming with Microblogs" reading.

In regards to the Connect! reading for this week, I would say Twitter serves as a phatic communication, which are those that "serve social purposes like relationship building" (Zelenka & Sohn, 142). Later in the chapter, when they discuss status updater sites, also called microbloggers, it's mentioned that Twitter is criticized for its "inanity, narcissism, and disruptiveness" (Zelenka & Sohn, 147). I'm not sure that these words really describe Twitter; I don't think a site like this could possess these kinds of qualities because it is so interactive. The users make the site what it is by posting their status updates.

Let's get together...yeah, yeah, yeah!

I hope you all remember the song from The Parent Trap, wow...that makes me feel old, because I am not talking about the Lindsay Lohan version. Oh man...

Anyway, I found this week to be absolutely fascinating and extremely insightful. First off, to add and respond to what others have said about Twitter, I agree that it is cool and for perhaps long-distance minimized convo it is useful, or maybe office stuff, but it does have its limitations. This may be better as a starting point for someone like my granny, who simply could not handle Facebook.

I really enjoyed the Connect! article for this week. I love that it broke down different instant messaging ideas and provided etiquette! My mom works virtually from home and relies completely on her instant messenger. The only thing is...they can't exchange personal, specific information through it, because of the possibility of interception, I am not exactly sure. The best part is when her co-workers don't know what smileys funny!

I also loved the other article about online task tracking! I am definitely going to join Tumblr to help with my wedding plans. Some accomplishments I have made online this week have been pure inspiration from class. For example: I created a Google email account and began making Google Calendars. I print them off and hang them on the fridge to help my fiance and I keep track of our appts, special work days/times, church events, etc. I also recently started a book club with some of my girlfriends. We were discussing how to keep track of everything, dates, locations, the books, who was bringing what, you name it. So I thought....why not start our own website just for our bookclub? I have also recently created a website for my wedding. terrible cover picture of me, eww!

Anyway, I am really glad that we finished this week with the U's helpful reminders of not over-exposing yourself on the internet. The bookclub website is a great idea...but sharing the exact date, time, location, and easy to follow directions to someone's home could be opening us up for that part we will still need to email or send to each other another way. Any suggestions on that??

Thats all I have for now...I really liked learning this week about Twitter, getting to know people better, and also gaining info on all of the personal and professional resources out there. I love organization, everything having its own home, place, etc. so this is music to my ears! Have a great week everyone!!!!

New ways to access PEOPLE...we really are using everything!

The reading from this week was interesting because I didn't know how much communication tools were available that I wasn't actually employing. Twitter seems like a cute page, but like some of you, I also agree that it doesn't seem like a great tool. I guess since Facebook already allows us to update our status, I don't understand why we are limited to a certain number of letter characters in Twitter. I suppose if Twitter allowed us to do more, other than post geographical information and momentary updates, I might want to log into that website a little more often. I don't hate it, I just don't enjoy logging in to update.

I was reading about the Time Zone Dementia, and it's funny because I've never had to really deal with that. [Zelenka, p.152] The only past experience I've had online is when I had a Thailand epal, we would talk together at different times of each others day. But I can see how one could get the confusion of a change of time zones. My boyfriend works at a small software company based on helping businesses effectively manage their time. I'm bringing this up because I thought it was insane that their were like ten different clocks on one of the walls, representing different time zones. I suppose if we were all scattered over the USA, we should all be installing one of those applications on our dashboards.

Anyways, this week I will be using what I’ve learned about scheduling my life, and hopefully succeed at trying to webify my schedule. I really hope I can log on tonight and join in the chat at 9 pm. Hope to see you then!

Twitter is effective, but I don't think I need it...

Twitter is interesting Web 2.0 application that I had heard of, but never actually used myself until this class. The main reason I have not used it until now is that I did not see much use for it. When I first saw Twitter about a year and a half ago I just shrugged it off as being exactly like the “status? option on Facebook. I thought if I had Facebook to tell my friends what I’m doing, why do I need Twitter?

After reading the articles and watching Jen Wigham’s video, I can see that there are some potential positive uses for Twitter in the workplace. As Jen mentioned, It helped the Uptake team stay coordinated and get feedback from there user base such as the instance she mentioned where their reporter got arrested.

The Anywired article also mentions how Twitter can be used for workstreaming. Skellie defines a workstream as, “a live updated record of work you’ve completed. When doing group work with remote colleagues, it allows you to keep track of what everyone else is doing. When working solo, it helps you keep track of your own productivity? (Skellie). Twitter makes this easy because it is easy to update and concise (under 140 characters) so it is easy to follow as well.

The Connect! article mentions Twitter as a substitute for email, which from my experience with Twitter this week and Jen’s video it seems like a very effective substitute. For instance when I updated my Twitter, all I had to do was go to and type something quick into my home page and everyone following me could see what I was doing. It would have been much more complicated for me to send an email addressed to everyone in the class to tell them what I’m doing. Twitter is a faster and easier alternative.

But as Jen mentioned, there is some downsides to Twitter as well. The ease and ability for people to post information allows them to post virtually anything whether it’s factual information a lot. Also on a personal basis, I don’t feel that I have too much use for Twitter. I’m OK with not knowing what my friends are doing every second of the day. To me it seems a tad creepy to know where my friends are at all times or to let everyone on the internet know where I am at all times (Yes, I know there is privacy features that can avoid that). It just doesn’t seem like that necessary of a tool to me right now, but if I had an actual use for it such as the Uptake team then I would consider being a full time Twitter user.

January 28, 2009

Who are you followed by?

My mom once sent me an article titled, “Are you addicted to the internet.? It had a check list of things like checking your email more than 5 times a day, spending more than hours a day on the internet, and many more for a self diagnostics to decide if you were in fact “addicted to the internet.? I remember reading it in my Bailey Hall dorm room freshman year and it really made me stop and think for a minute. Was I addicted to the internet? I had just created a Facebook profile and was on that countless hours a day constantly updating that. As a freshman I also found it so cool that I actually got numerous emails a day and never wanted more than two or three unread messages in my inbox. Since then I have cut back on my logged on time to Facebook and UMN email, but definitely not on my internet time.

This week was the first that I had ever heard of Twitter. It was confusing at first… and I am still not sure if I have it down yet or not, we will soon find out. It would be nice if we could form a “group? on twitter for our class so we all could be connected to each other through the group. Does anyone know if that is possible?

Our reading from Connect! this week examines many alternatives for people to communicate outside of email because it’s not always the best choice for communicating with people synchronously (Connect, 143). But I beg to disagree with the statement; with many new phones and technologies today many people can have conversations via email. I actually prefer this instead of setting up six different accounts on different net works to “chat? with my 10 different groups. I personally don’t like getting bogged down with passwords and usernames that I can’t keep straight. Some of the alternatives that the book discussed were instant messaging, chat rooms, social and professional networks (such as facebook and myspace), blogging and many more, all of which I have worked with one form at some point in time. However, One type of communication on the internet that I had never heard of was a wiki, other than Wikipedia. I was glad to see that there was a small reference in the reading as to what a wiki was because we will be building one in this class.

Request to follow me on Tweeter... AmandaEberle (EBZ was taken).... so long for now

Closed Captioning Provided by...Twitter

This week has been a rush of new technology for me. I joined Facebook and finally had a chance to communicate with friends who I hadn’t talked to since I became a mother. Then when I joined Twitter, I was skeptical. I couldn’t figure out why this even existed when you could blog on Facebook and share pictures too. As soon as I started using the application I realized its potential as a workstreaming tool.

I shared my experience with Twitter casually with my supervisor and manager at work in a “hey guess what I did this weekend? fashion and I received eye rolls and responses like “interesting…so you aren’t doing this from work are you?? and “oh I did that as part of my Master’s program too, but it’s not really applicable to what we do here.? I was so disappointed. Here I was imagining how much more work I could get done if I could communicate via Twitter or IM instead of being interrupted mid flow by “prairie dog? behavior (Zelenka and Sohn, 155). I envisioned online conversations with our vendors instead of daily half hour conference calls with NetMeeting for updates, and replacing our monthly con call with Ireland with a microblog so we could collaborate more regularly on projects. This would be especially useful considering one of our department goals is to align best practices between the two groups. But, this technology just doesn’t apply to our work environment…

One other comment about the Connect! reading that really struck home with respect to my workplace was the idea of how social networks work (Zelenka and Sohn, 166-167). Medical device sterilization is a niche field, once you are in you will probably stay in. So when I read the definitions for homophily, clustering, small worlds, and stagnation I was immediately reminded of my department and how often you hear “because that’s how it has always been done? (Zelenka and Sohn, 166-167). I worked through the definitions for weak ties, dilution, and cross-pollination and I was reminded that the knowledge I pick up from my husband who is in the specialty gas industry, my friends who are computer programmers and software testers, and my classmates who come from all different backgrounds, is very valuable to my team. For example, had I not talked with a friend of mine who works at a different company in IT, I would never have figured out how to get our new software program installed because our firewall was inhibiting the license registration.

Finally, I was particularly amused by the submarine periscope analogy (Rangaswami, Thinking about Twitter) and the concept of the “adda? where everybody is talking at once and yet the conversational whole somehow auto adjusts so that each individual conversation finds a balance within the whole (Rangaswami, Musing about Capillary Conversations). I think of workstreaming and Twitter like a narration, a play-by-play, or closed captioning for life. Have you seen the movie Stranger than Fiction?

Food for Thought:
Are microblog posts directly influenced by the content of posts around them, or are they isolated? In real life it seems that a conversation is influenced by nearby conversations and actions. Is this also the case in the blogosphere?

Hello wonderful people of the Internets! Especially my classmates.


It is a pleasure to write to everyone. My name is Vy Nguyen and I am not really sure what I should write about, but I am indeed excited to learn about web 2.0. I have only begun in my major of Scientific and Technical Communications. What I wish to do with this major is go into the field of Publishing and Editing, Children books in particular. I love to read.

I use the internet for the standard things such as e-mails, playing video games, and youtube. I also use the internet for the not so standard things such as reading fanfiction, visiting various fandoms, and following up on my favorite authors. Have I mention I love to read? Because I very much do and it consumes my time outside of academics.

I haven't given much thought to the internet except that its a really huge place and I miss receiving actual letters in the mail. I am new to this world of people living inside my computer on places called"Facebook", "Wikipedia", "Myspace", and so on. I believe the reason for this is because I have a tendency to keep to myself. Its wonderful that everyone can have their own little corner of the internet, but I have not had a reason to claim my own spot yet. On the topic of the reading Connect! I agree with the reading that Web 2.0 will be the end of all Huaman interaction. Its a new way to socialize with people. I can understand this, but at the same time I am going to hang back a bit, test the waters here and there with this class until I immerse myself with this new World. I am an advocate of Open Souce material because it allows for the exchange of talent. Its a drawback that these people are not being paid for their wonderful creations, but they went in not expecting any monetary gains. My goal for this class is simply to learn as much as I can; the idea of web 2.0 is exciting because its new and shiny and as a random person this holds endless possibilities for fun. Happy readings! Goodbye until next time.

Social Networking Updates

I'm not too sure how Twitter really fits in the professional world. It seems like it is more for fun. In Connect! (Zelenka, 2008, p. 166) homophily is described. I totally agree with this concept because if we weren't all in the same class or cluster, I don't know that I would be following everyone since we probably don't have the same interests.

Webifying your schedule sounds like a great idea being that everyone is busy and you need to find a time that fits everyone's schedule. I don't know that I like the whole idea of my schedule being out there for everyone to see as suggested (Zelenka, 2008, p.154). If I use multiple calendars: one for work, one for school, one for personal, etc. I think that I would get more confused if all of my meetings and due dates were in different spots. This could cause me to miss something important or double schedule something if I didn't check all of my calendar time slots. Also by putting all of that information out there could be putting you at risk for stalking, harassment, etc (UMN guide). This means that you need to fully understand how to use the privacy settings on each individual site.

There are a lot of options out there for connecting with others that I was not aware that they existed. Some techniques might work best for one person and not another, so you need to learn what the most effective way to get a hold of each person on your team is.

All in all, there is A LOT to learn in the web working environment. Each program has it's benefits and it's downfalls, you just need to figure out which works best for you.

Tweeting as Workstreaming

When working with others such as collaborating on a project or working as part of a team it is important to stay in contact, especially for web workers. The readings for this week highlight different ways you can do this and ways to keep people up to date on what everyone is working on through workstreaming.

I agree with Zelenka & Sohn (2008) that phatic communications (those that are more for social purposes, like a conversation around the water cooler) are important to keep conversations going and make social contacts (142). Since there isn’t a water cooler to do this around when web working, virtual ways are needed to do this. Zelenka & Sohn (2008) give a number of possibilities (besides email) that include instant messaging, chat rooms, video chat and status updaters (143-147). This week our class spent time working with a status updater: Twitter. This type of tool is defined as a way to keep all of your contacts knowledgeable about what is happening in your life (Zelenka & Sohn 2008, 147). It works both ways and allows you to know what is happening in your contacts’ lives as well. Indeed Twitter is an excellent way to keep informed. I also believe that it is a great way to get to know everyone. During this week, I was excited to leave little, concise messages about what I was doing or thinking and then reading what everyone else was doing or thinking. The limit allows for only the most pertinent information at the time of the post which keeps things incredibly simple and concise. This makes it easy to read, understand and get the point across.

After tweeting this week I agree with Skellie (2006) that Twitter is best tool for workstreaming in a group (1). It provides our class with a way to keep everyone updated about what each person is accomplishing and what still needs to be done. For a group it works well instead of using another tool like trying to mass text everyone or getting everyone into a chat room. In watching Jen Wigham’s video for this week, it is easy to see how Twitter has benefited the UpTake. During the RNC, they used Twitter as a tool to keep tabs on what was happening with the convention and with their correspondents in the field (Wigham 2009). Now the UpTake uses Twitter as more of a press release in order to keep people informed (Wigham 2009).

January 27, 2009

Un-Googleable No Longer

I try really hard to keep my personal life offline. My mission is to stay “un-googleable.�? Yes, I have a Facebook, but only to stay connected with out-of-state family members and real life friends. I do not accept friend invitations from random people (even if they say they attend the U of M) and I am extremely cautious about the information that I give online. The article put out by the U of M: Office for Student Affairs, Living In Online Communities, brought up a very real concern in my mind: predatory behavior. It hadn’t occurred to me that listing my class schedule could lead to stalking. It seems strange that Facebook would have such an application, considering its potential for misuse. Needless to say, I was a bit hesitant about creating a Twitter account. I wondered whether my Twitter would show up on a Google search. It did. And so did my last blog post for this class. Apparently, our class blog is publicly viewable. I have failed catastrophically.

Maybe, just maybe, online social networking isn’t all bad. After reading Workstreaming with Microblogs and Chapter 2 of Connect! , I certainly see the potential for increased productivity as a result of work-related blogging. Last week, Jennifer Wigham mentioned the use of text messages as a common form of communication in her line of work. While I’m not big on texting, I see its use in situations like the RNC, where you can’t exactly run out and answer the phone. It seems to me that microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr, are a desktop variation of text messaging. I like the idea that people can update each other at leisure and omit needless details. The word limit present on Twitter is great; it encourages clarity and conciseness.

Works Cited

U of M: Office for Student Affairs. Living in Online Communities: A User's Guide. 2008. 27 Jan 2009. .

Skellie. Streamlining. Workstreaming With Microblogs. 27 Jan 2009. .

Zelenka, Anne. Connect! A Guide to a New Way of Working. 2008. Wiley Publshing: Indianapolis, Indiana.

January 26, 2009

Survey Says

Digital Identity

I removed Facebook from the syllabus this time around. However, I've been reconsidering this since several of you mentioned it in your posts this week. Do you think you would benefit from incorporating and discussing Facebook and professional identity this semester?


January 25, 2009

Intro and Web 2.0

Hello everyone, my name is Kary and I'm a senior. I'm currently pursuing a Scientific and Technical Writing degree and I intend on getting a minor in Design. I'm a non-traditional student who is returning to the University of Minnesota after a ten year break. I'm 35 years old and I'm trying to catch up with all you smart little whipper snappers! haha! I'm a server and I live and work in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. I used to be a welfare worker for Hennepin County and after three years I decided it was a bad fit and went back to serving. Last semester was my first time attending the U of MN full time since I was 25. I haven't been that stressed out in a very long time but it is gratifying to be in a learning environment again.

I've also heard the phrase Web 2.0 before and when I first heard of it I thought it was something other than what it really is. After reading the O'Reilly article I now understand that Web 2.0 is the evolution of Web 1.0. Web 2.0 is interactive and needs users to thrive. Web 2.0 trusts its users and seeks constant interaction and feedback.

My favorite Web 2.0 application is Facebook. I just joined Facebook about three months ago and it has replaced the time I used to spend on MySpace. I think the flow of information on Facebook makes more sense than on MySpace. Also myspace is cluttered and there is a constant barrage of acai berry diet ads that drives me crazy! I have a Twitter account but I stopped updating it because I forgot about it. I update my Facebook account constantly and I enjoy reading about what my friends are doing. I like posting links on their profiles and commenting on photos. I haven't linked Facebook on my cell phone yet because I'm worried that I won't get any work done at work.

I watched our guest speaker Jennifer Whigham and I was really impressed with the level of communication she uses with her work team. I work at a restaurant that hasn't updated the cash register since the seventies so working with technology isn't my current reality but it is something that I would like to eventually experience. Her job and the technology that she uses sounds exciting and dynamic. It appears that there are certain obstacles to running a local citizen journalism outlet when you only meet with your team once a week. It was interesting to see how much a web worker relies on Web 2.0 in order to successfully complete their tasks.

January 24, 2009

Web 2.0 Entry Tim Kaplan

My name is Tim Kaplan and I currently reside in Cottage Grove, MN with my wife and 2 kids. I have returned to the University of Minnesota to complete my degree in Applied Business and Writing Studies to further my career and to gain a better working knowledge of the theroies and technologies that are avaiable since leaving school in 2000. Currently I am the regional sales manager for a life science/molecular biology company out of New Jersey and have 8 representatives currently reporting directly to me, so I am very busy with work, school and family.
The reason for taking this course is that I find myself getting frustrated when doing research on the internet trying to keep up with the industry and when I am searching out information on specific items of interest when preparing for a big meeting or when doing training. I feel that the internet is a tremendous tool that can be used for many good things, but getting correct and reliable information is not always found. Another issue that I have with using the internet is that I find that I am not able to properly utilize all of the tools that are available to get across my message so that others can view and communicate back with me on the thoughts or to make a purchase from my company. This course will further my career and will give me the tools to become better at what I do and for that reason, I am excited.

Tim Kaplan

January 23, 2009

It's Amazing, I'm Finally Here!

Hey so guess what everyone? I finally figured how to enter the website and read the blog and post this blog! Okay, so I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but then again I’ve only worked with Facebook, Photobucket, Google, and well most of the common internet sites, but not Twitter. I’m still not too sure about Web 2.0, but I think I will figure it out soon. The first time I interacted online with a website was in 2000. I thought I was really cool, being able to help people setup their computers and Internet connections, but now I fear I have fallen behind. Sometimes it takes me quite a while to get back to people by email even! Again getting into this website took quite awhile, but now I’ve figured it out and am here to stay!

Well, this should have been the first thing I mentioned to you: My name is Pa Yang, but most people call me PK. I am a junior in the College of Biological Sciences, majoring in biology. Aside from school and work, I enjoy trying out different restaurants, bowling, and just hanging out with friends. I also enjoy photography, reading, and writing random notes to myself. I really just like to do everything and anything, kind of open to new things and will do what sounds good.

It’s funny that even though a lot of people worry about identity theft, most of us are willing to put ourselves out into the web world and create ourselves to the people online. Like the reading pointed out, there is no way of succeeding in web work with a fake identity. This is really true because we have to learn about one another and trust each other enough to come together and work on a project. And yes, although we don’t have to put our real information out on the web, a lot of us choose to for sites as Facebook. It’s actually exciting that there are still so many cool websites appearing every so often, I could never get tired of the Internet. And now we all have the opportunity to connect on this website and I have a greater chance to improve my web experience! All right I have to check out now, so see you next time!

My internet biography

Hi, my name is Jordan Oliver and I am a Junior. My major is Scientific and Technical Communications and I have a Biology minor, so I hope to be working with both writing and Biology after I graduate. I saw a student job posting for a position in the health department of the University that sounded like it was a perfect fit. The job entailed working directly with health experts in an interview-style relationship and using that information to create learning media for the general public. I feel like I would be very happy with a job like that when I graduate.

As far as my technological literacy goes, I would say I have a basic understanding. I have been using the internet, mostly for fun and school, for about seven years. I know my way around the internet pretty well, but if I have a computer problem I usually have to go for help. I have no experience with web 2.0, in fact I don't believe I have heard of it before this class so this will be fairly new for me. I think that the internet in general is a great tool and one of the most productive things in history as far as information gathering is concerned. I look forward to this class and hope to get the full experience from it, although I do feel that the differences between a normal class you go to and an online environment may be a challenge to get used to.

Web 2.0 user-friendly?

My name is Brianne and I will be graduating this spring with a BS in Microbiology. I have been working as a pharmacy technician for the last five years and love my job. This is why after graduation I hope to go to Pharmacy school. In my free time I enjoy watching Wild hockey games and surfing the internet to plan my upcoming wedding.

After reading Connect!, I believe that I use a combination of busy work and burst work. I think that busy work would be more common in research since you have to go step by step until you can put together an end product. Burst work would apply to anything searched for in your free time.

When looking at the list of social software (Zelenka, 2008, p.15-16) I am only familiar with e-mail, instant messaging and test messaging. I use e-mail daily for work, school, and personal use. Instant messaging to me almost seems like a Web 1.0 software. It has been years since I used instant messaging, which has been replaced by text messaging to communicate with friends quickly. Hopefully this class will familiarize me with professional networking service, social networking sites, blogging, photo sharing, social bookmarking, microblogging, and wikis. It seems like everyone knows and uses these routinely, but I am stuck in Web 1.0. I have never heard of these before, but now that I know they are out there I would be happy to give them a try. I am more familiar with desktop software rather than the web application alternatives.

January 22, 2009

Web 2.0 to replace workplace warfare?

Hi there! My name is Liz and I am in my last semester of coursework for my MS in Scientific and Technical Communication. I have been at this graduate school coursework thing for about 5 years now and I cringe to think I received my BS in microbiology way back in 2001. Don’t be frightened by that statement if you are an undergrad considering graduate studies, I also work full time and have a darling 18-month-old little boy at home, so I made this journey one course at a time. When I started into this whirlwind I was working full time, but not much else. Since then I have married, had a child, bought a house, got a dog, and changed jobs at least three times. When I graduate, I will have a lot of people to thank – I could never have done it alone.

I currently work as a sterilization microbiologist at a local medical device company. What that really means is that it is my job to make sure that the stents, balloons, guidewires, and grafts we make are free of microbiological hitchhikers when they are used in a patient. The bulk of my work consists of documentation and project management. In reality I spend most of my day writing reports and working with data – deciding things like which format works best to show our team metrics, how to display data to support a root cause analysis, and how to word a report so it generates the fewest questions during an audit. I love my job and I am glad my technical communication skills are valued in my department.

I remember the days of DOS and showing my mom how to use the browser on our old PC when I was in high school. You opened the program and you were positioned in a virtual study or library. If you wanted to surf the news, you would walk over and click on the newspaper sitting on the desk in the room; alternately if you wanted to look at a map, you clicked on the globe in the middle of the room. I see now why the interface was designed as such, even though at the time I thought it was cheesy. Shortly thereafter I discovered hotmail, msn messenger and I would never forget the sounds of chatting in ICQ. You hear the clickety-click of typing and the “uh-oh? that accompanied incoming messages. Chatting online is how I learned to type quickly and I am happy to report I can still hunt and peck 60 words per minute.

That said, I registered for this course to expand my tech experience since I seem to have fallen off the technology wagon when it comes to Web 2.0. The Internet is a vast sea of information and sometimes I feel like I still need water wings to stay afloat with the new technology. In the introduction to Connect! there is a list of ways in which we “web work? (Zelenka & Sohn, 2008, p. xiv). I would like to think am a web worker, or at least partially so. I occasionally telecommute or work from home; however in the office I have the luxury of additional desktop real estate and semi-professional surroundings. I receive emails, text messages, and phone calls on my cell phone and I don’t know that I ever really stop working, but I am okay with that. I also work on a distributed team and as of late I find myself hosting a daily net meeting for a project that involves attendees from all over the U.S. Yet I still do not consider myself Web 2.0 savvy.

On that note and more than 600 words later, I am particularly interested in learning more about Web 2.0 applications so I can try bringing more “cubicle connecting? to my department and to the company (Zelenka & Sohn, 2008, p. xv). I always have my eye out for new and better ways to organize and store data. New software technology and new ways of thinking don’t happen overnight, so in the meantime my coworkers and I have devolved to throwing Nerf items at one another with post-it notes attached or using white board graffiti to communicate when email doesn’t suit.

Can the technology of Web 2.0 replace some of our workplace warfare as a means of communication?

Stay Tuned...

Vatican II vs. Web 2.0

Although I may not understand all of the differences between Web 1.0 and 2.0, I cannot help but compare the changes to the changes in the Catholic church. Being a child who was raised Catholic and knowing the history of the church, I can see how some of the same issues came to light in the revolution. For those of you who may not be as familiar with the changes in the Catholic church, I will illuminate you on the issue.

In the 1950's, the Catholic church decided to make some major changes in the church setting that made the mass setting more usable to the everyday person. Before these changes, every mass was conducted in Latin, a language which people no longer recognized or understood. Much like Web 1.0 being made up of unchangeable languages that nonprofessionals couldn't understand, the church performed it's most important duty in a language that people could not relate with. The church focused most of it's energy on fire and brimstone sermons, which made people feel intimidated and not very likely to convert or want to become a part of something they had not grown up with. This is the same problem that Web 1.0 had. The web wasn't open to new applications or new information that allowed it to accept other thoughts and ideas that could make it better and more functional.

So as you can see, the church made these changes in order to be more people-friendly, much the same as Web 2.0 has become more user-friendly with their respective changes. I realize that the changes that have happened within these two major installations are not perfect, the church was the first thing I thought of when I saw the comparisons listed in the articles.

It’s a Mad Mad World Wide Web

Heyo! My name is Kaitlin, with a K instead of a C and an I instead of a Y. I am a senior and will graduate in May with a degree in Housing Studies and a minor in Management. I frequently am asked “What in the world is housing studies?? The reply: “Anything and everything to do with housing.? I can literally do anything I want in housing. I can be an architect or plan the neighborhoods of a city or work in a title company or sell homeowner’s insurance. The degree is very broad and has given me a background in just about everything housing related. In the future I hope to use it in the mortgage industry which may not have been the best choice considering its current state. However, I am leaning towards foreclosure or homeownership counseling which there is a need for. In my limited free time I enjoy reading, running, planning piano, playing games, and am currently addicted to spider solitaire. The statistics on the game can attest to that. I have won 1,000 some games and lost around 6,000. I am also a sports fanatic. I cycle through football, college basketball and then baseball. I am from Wisconsin so naturally I love all WI teams, however I do prefer the Gophers over the Badgers on any day, in any sport.

In regard to technology, I am familiar with some aspects of it and completely unaware of others. My father is in IT and so there were always computers in my house. I was exposed from an early age, and I began using the internet in middle school, mainly for homework but also for socializing with my friends via email and AIM. Currently, I use the internet for the same things and some additional things but in no way feel that I know a lot about it. I heard of Web 2.0 but just learned the definition after reading the O’Reilly article. This is why I am excited to be in this class; to learn more about Web 2.0 and how to use its different tools on the internet. I do use some of Web 2.0’s sites like Facebook and Flikr and have been intrigued by the reading to use more. The internet provides so many possibilities. It is a captivating tool and I can’t imagine my life without it. I use it daily and most likely will use it daily for the rest of my life. (Plus it provides a place to check the scores if I missed the game the night before.)

This week’s readings provide some interesting ideas, especially the Connect! reading. I particularly like its comparisons of knowledge workers vs. web workers and busy working vs. bursty working. First with knowledge and web workers, it is easy to see why some may view a web worker as not as productive as a knowledge worker. They do not have set hours, make their own schedule, and reach out to people further than just a cubicle away (Zelenka & Sohn, 2008, pt. xvi-xv). I find the concept of being a web worker intriguing but I see myself as working in a knowledge worker position or perhaps a combination of the two. The criticisms of the social web range from its narcissistic to it waste time (Zelenka and Sohn, 2008, pg. 11-13). All the ones in the reading make sense but I think another one can be added. Many still do not trust the internet (my mom included) thinking that it is unsafe, and that someone is just waiting to steal your identity. This is certainly another criticism of the social web and why one might not want to employ web workers. The other comparison in the reading, the busy worker vs. the bursty worker, is something I have never heard of before. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both but agree with Zelenka & Sohn (2008) that it is good to find a balance between the two that works the best for each individual (pg. 21).

I look forward to working with all of you this semester!

Web working with Amanda

Hi everyone… My name is Amanda, otherwise known as Ebz or Eberle by my friends. Amanda tends to be a ridiculously popular name and apparently Eberle isn’t a popular last name in Minnesota. I am a senior majoring in Animal Science… yeah, like with cows and stuff… also minoring in STC, hence why I’m in this class, and Applied Economics. I am from Monroe, WI, a small town south of Madison, and hope to one day return to a permanent address in Wisconsin. After graduating this spring I plan to enter directly into the work force; as of now I envision myself working in the dairy industry in communications, marketing or advertising.

I feel that I fit a quote in Connect!: “The web is more a social creation than a technical one…�? (Connect, pg. XVI) I am a social butterfly and the internet has become my primary way of talking with my family, friends, and coworkers. Prior to enrolling in this class I have had some experience with web 2.0 applications primarily social net works, mainly Facebook, email and IM – virtual socializing. Recently I also had a telecommuting job with a dairy cooperative in Wisconsin as a part-time communications employee working in Minnesota. Of course I also rely heavily on the internet for research, outside of that I am not very “techie�? or experienced with web applications such as Flickr, blogging, wiki (for this class) and web design.

Throughout the past couple of years I have recently become very interested in advertising, both creative and editorial. Until reading O’Reilly I never really gave it a thought that many web applications don’t advertise; “Their adoption is driven by "viral marketing"--that is, recommendations propagating directly from one user to another.�? (O’Reilly, pg2) I find this fascinating because there are so many companies that advertise both outside the internet and on it that gain their business from it, however internet applications depend on word of mouth to gain popularity.

After exploring the differences between knowledge working vs. web working and busy working vs. burst working in Connect!, I foresee myself in the future being a web/burst worker. The internet is a fascinating place and I only see it expanding more through time.

The Viral Web 2.0

Hello. My name is Hannah Dorland and got a computer virus last night. Four years ago I would have shrugged, shoved my laptop in my desk drawer, and picked up a textbook. Instead, last night I spent six consecutive hours running diagnostics, installing new security software, and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I realized, as my screen turned blue and fuzzy, that with two online classes, a very active World of Warcraft account, and several thousand audio files and documents, I needed my computer.

This realization horrified me. I love the outdoors. Backpacking, camping, canoeing, and running are some of my favorite things. I never thought that I would be dependent upon a hunk of metal and plastic. But the reality is that it’s nearly impossible to be a functional member of society without at least basic computer skills. And mine far surpass basic. A self-proclaimed hack-girl, I’ve been tweaking operating systems since I first laid hands on a computer in 8th grade. Why do I love Web 2.0? Let me count the ways.

1. Open Source Software
As mentioned in Connect!, open source software allows continual improvement at the hands of people who actually use the stuff. In addition, it gives people who can’t shell out the $150 for the Adobe Suite a chance to learn and create and design with programs like Picnik and Scribus.

2. Free Media and Entertainment
Without much more effort than a Google search and username/password, you can watch unlimited movies and TV shows right on your desktop. My current favorite site is, where I watch hours of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia�? on end without commercial interruption. Web 2.0 is also great for musicians. Social networks like Myspace have given independent musicians a chance to be heard by people around the world.

Yes, I play World of Warcraft. That probably makes me a giant nerd. But with friends in other countries and states, it’s a great way to stay connected… and geek it out a bit.

I fixed my virus and breathed a sigh of relief. I went running shortly after just for good measure. Coming into this class, I expect to learn a lot about different Web 2.0 apps (Wikis, social networking, etc.) and their implications in our society. As a Scientific and Technical Communications major, this information will be useful as I transition from student to professional after graduating this summer. Will I ever be a “Web Worker�?? Probably not. But I’ll hopefully know how to collaborate with them.

Web 2.0 meet Laura 2.0

I am not really sure what that is supposed to mean up there....maybe that as the internet and communication change so do we, which seems fitting to me in my point of life at the moment. name is Laura Mathisen. I am in my last semester at the U (HOLLAR!) and I am very excited to be done for many reasons. My most immediate plan for after graduation is to walk down the aisle on June 13. I can't wait! So while working on finals I will also be packing, changing my name, bank account, and just about everything else. This is interesting to me for the technological reasons. Any info on this? How will my email and other accounts be affected? I had never thought about it before...Besides getting married I plan on finding a full-time job. At this point I am not too picky, something in the professional world. With our struggles, I will be thankful to just find a job. Then after that, who knows? Maybe pop out some babies, buy a house, grow in my career and life, all of that good stuff.

I am very interested in this class for obvious reasons, its how we roll these days. Technology, the internet, virtual stuff, is all a part of our lives. The fact that my cousins use the verb to google, can get themselves to and various other kid game sites, and have ipod shuffles at the ripe old age of eight proves that the times they are a changin. Thus, I want to know what this means for me, my family, my working world, and life in general. Where are we headed? How do I stay afloat without becoming completely dependent on technology? Is that even an option anymore?

I previously worked for MetLife in our office in Bloomington. They just went virtual. My mom had to re-apply for her job, say goodbye to lifelong friends, and turn our attic into an office. She enjoys the virtual commute, but she is still learning everyday about new software and communication styles so that she won't become a dinosaur and will be able to keep her job. I know that my generation takes it for granted that we were pretty much born with the internet and thus do not struggle as much with these things....but it is still tough for all of us at times.

Getting into the O'Reily article, I was fascinated with the overwhelming research and discussion about Web 2.0. It says, "As noted above in the discussion of Google vs. Netscape, one of the defining characteristics of internet era software is that it is delivered as a service, not as a product." (O'Reily, p. 4). The internet as a service...I had never thought about it before. I never even thought other people thought about it.

I respect and even appreciate that people are concerned enough with how this technology changes daily that they research, discuss, and record it. I was under a false assumption that the internet was this great, but somewhat wild beast that did its own thing and we just had to kind of go with it. Sure, we can shut down programs if they become harmful, but I believed that the most popular program took over and that was it. Now I see the internet as what the O'Reily article describes it as, an evolution. A buliding off of the original foundation, not necessarily changing it entirely, but manipulating it from a product, into a service. The more efficient, user-friendly, fast, etc. the better.

An example of this, for me, is Facebook. It is a relatively simple idea. We find a site that can allow others to kind of imprint themselves into a virtual world. Then, others can find them, and keep them in their own personal database. They can interract, exchange, develop, without actually having to physically, literally do any of this. We also have seen how one service can develop instead of being replaced by an entirely different service. With Facebook, the site has been updated multiple times. The users may put up a fuss, but they adapt, evolve, and continue. I am also amazed to discover the wide range of Facebook users. From workers, to parents, to teens, to groups, businesses, organizations, the list goes on, everyone is able to use this service for their specific need. This is fascinating and I think the O'Reily article, while not speaking directly of Facebook, reflects the changes that I have seen first-hand with the example of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

I apologize for the crazy length of this....but I am very curious and interested now. I hope everyone has a great week and I can't wait to hear what everyone else has to say about Web 2.0 :)

Working with Web 2.0

Hey! My name is Brittany and I'm a junior in the school of Journalism & Mass Communication. I'm focusing on visual journalism and have complemented that with a minor in S&TC. I have been working as a freelance web designer for the past several years, and have a part-time job on campus doing site maintenance for the Hubert Humphrey Institute. After graduating in the fall, I hope to land a full-time job doing some kind of web design work, while continuing my freelance projects. Outside of the academic/professional realm, I am from New Jersey and came here for school as a member of the women's swim team. After my sophomore year I decided to hang up the suit and goggles and joined the rowing team. This will be my last semester as a student-athlete as I'll be graduating a semester early my senior year.

As far as the internet goes, I consider myself pretty savvy. I was obsessed with AIM back in the day and would constantly be on the computer. Being glued to the computer is what got me started in web design - making simple websites on AOL Hometown. I would say I'm generally pretty familiar with Web 2.0 applications, as listed in the O'Reilly reading, but I do find the concept pretty confusing still. The way O'Reilly described it as not having a "hard boundary, but rather, a gravitational core", is where the confusion comes from most I think (O'Reilly, 1). How can you define when exactly there were enough new applications on the web to constitute a Web 2.0 generation? Regardless, I am familiar with and use sites like Facebook, Amazon, Flickr, and Wikipedia quite frequently.

In the Connect! reading, they specify different ways of working in the web. The most common ways I work on the web would be telecommuting and freelancing - easy ways for me to do my web design work. One aspect of this reading that I found particularly interesting was the comtrasts between knowledge work and web work, specifically that of priority. In my web design work I have noticed that the web puts more emphasis on relationships and connections than it does on actual knowledge, so it was interesting to have it spelled out like that (Zelenka & Sohn, 6).

I think the internet is mind-boggling, but fun. It's amazing what it has turned into since it first came around and I can't even imagine where it will go from here. In this course, I hope to get a better understanding of some additional web applications and generally just have fun with it. I love the internet and think courses that use it and teach it have always been interesting to me.

January 21, 2009

Web 2.0 and Me

Since this is the first post, as requested, I will start with an introduction of myself. My name is Anders and I am currently in my third year of the Scientific and Technical Communications program at the U. I am also pursuing a minor in Information Technology and have sort of focused my studies on the technological and “online? aspects of technical communications, which this class obviously fits right into. In my free time I like to read, play guitar, hang out with friends, and play video games. I also love to play and follow sports. I am a big fan of almost all professional Minnesota sports teams and of course the Gophers.

I first started using the internet when I was in about second or third grade, so around 1996. My dad bought a computer for the family that ran Windows 3.1 but many programs you had to run out of the DOS prompt. My dad is also a University of Minnesota employee so we got free dial up, 56k internet through the University of Minnesota. In those days I used the internet mainly for playing games and later on talking to friends via AOL Instant Messenger.

Now, I would consider myself fairly well versed in the nature of the internet and Web 2.0. I have used many Web 2.0 applications either in my free time or through various classes similar to this one such as Writ 3401. The Web 2.0 applications that I use most commonly are Wikipedia and social networking sites. Although Wikipedia isn’t considered a valid source for academic purposes it’s my go to site if I ever want to look something up for fun. I like it because of how up to date it is and for the most part it is extremely accurate. And as far as the social networking sites, the main one I use, as I’m sure many others in the class do, is Facebook. Although I don’t have many applications on my facebook one that I do have and use regularly, Living Social: Books, is a prime example of Web 2.0. It allows me to share what books I am reading and my reviews of the books I have read, and I can also see my friend’s books and reviews. You can also just search a book title and find reviews from anyone else on the internet using the application.

One idea that I found interesting in the reading was in the “What is Web 2.0?? article. He writes,? You can almost make the case that if a site or product relies on advertising to get the word out, it isn't Web 2.0? (O’Reilly, 2). I found this interesting because I had never thought of this before but it is extremely true. I have never seen an ad for Facebook but it is one of the most commonly visited sites on the internet. In fact it has become so popular that I have seen other companies use Facebook in their ads to cash in on its success. There is a Sprint commercial on TV where the man in the commercial states that their phone allows you to “update your Facebook status on the go.? Web 2.0 utilities rely on a steady and loyal userbase to become and remain successful and in my opinion that’s what defines Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is the users controlling the data and functionality of a site or online utility.

January 19, 2009

and away we go

As I mentioned in the email, you’ll need to change the way your name appears on the blog. Right now, it shows your full first and last names. You should modify this to show your first name and last initial. This will shield the writing you do here from Google searches for your full name.

To change the information, you’ll begin by logging on to Uthink at Click on the "Login to UThink" link at the top of the sidebar.

UThink Login
(You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.)

Once you’ve logged on, you’ll see the main MoveableType menu. Your screen won't have all of the same blogs that mine does, of course.

Changing names in MT 1

Click on the welcome link with your x500 ID at the upper right corner.

Changing names in MT 2

That’ll take you to the Author Profile screen, which is pretty self-explanatory. (I’m not screencapping it here because I don’t want to release all my ID info to the world.) Update your info, click “save changes”, and you should be good to go.