Monthly Archives: December 2011

Final Paper | How Did Social Media Effect Occupy UC Davis?

As I was searching for a paper topic, one was unfolding before me over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am writing about how social media played a role in the Occupy UC Davis movement and pepper spray incident that happened in the city I live. Maybe you heard about it on the news. My family in Wisconsin called the day after students were pepper sprayed and were surprised Davis made the national news. So, below is my proposal:

YouTube videos of the pepper spray incident shed light on campus police taking extreme measures to clear away non-violent protesters.

Education is very important to the citizens of the State of California. For a long time, tuition had been free or very inexpensive to residents of the state who were accepted at the University of California (UC) System. It is part of the California culture that low-cost higher education is a right and not a privilege. Within the past years due to a major budget crisis, the state has significantly increased tuition for its UC schools. A significant increase in tuition was one of the main reasons students have recently protested as part of the Occupy UC Davis movement.

While tuition increases have been protested in the past, the Occupy UC Davis movement has gained special attention due to social media. On November 18, campus police used pepper spray as self-defense on non-violent student demonstrators. The pepper spray incident was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube. The video went viral, and it gained national and international attention as the campus community and nation scrutinizes what went wrong. The incident even caught the attention of Jon Stewart, satirist and host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central who mocked the event on his show, stating there were better ways than pepper spray to get the attention of college students, like free tacos or Green Day in the quad.

College students are heavy social media users. Student protesters are heavily utilizing social media, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, creating wikis, and blogging. Social media gave them power to communicate what happened, and because of its viral nature, news of the event spread quickly to many people, including people across the country and across the globe. This is a paradigm shift in power from few distributing information to many, to many creating and distributing information. 

Campus administration and others with high authority roles on campus, including Chancellor Linda Katehi, do not implement social media the same way the students do. People like the chancellor have less time available to interface with social media and tend to rely on more traditional communication devices, including email, press releases, and websites. The chancellor’s staff assists her with communication duties, including sending and answering emails, facilitating her blog, and writing speeches. While Chancellor Katehi emailed the campus community after the pepper spray incident occurred, several hours had passed while her email statement made its way through the appropriate channels before it could be sent to all students, faculty and staff. While her email had an air of authority, the lag in time opened the opportunity for information from other sources to fill in the gaps of what happened. Timeliness of a message is important. Breaking the story first, whether completely accurate or not, is worth more now than it ever use to be due to social media.

There are positive and negative consequences of social media, including the speed and accuracy of the message. This includes accuracy of the message context. Other important issues include an increased participation and awareness, increased two-way interaction between sender and receiver, and an increased authority given to messages that appear online. By examining these issues, I hope to better understand social media’s role in the events that unfolded surrounding the Occupy UC Davis pepper spray incident.


The Final Paper is Only the Beginning!

Emerging Media Topic

Because these are my first final papers as a Graduate Student, I am a bit anxious.  Luckily, I have been able to nail down a good paper topic that I feel comfortable researching and presenting.  I will be doing my paper about:

Are iPads Suitable Substitutes for Manuals, Textbooks and Other Paper Documents in the Business and Educational World?

This topic will allow me to present information relating to how people in education and business have fared in the past utilizing paper documentation as well as present how iPads can make life easier.

I know people who like to redecorate. One of the ways they find inspiration is to use one picture, pillow, rug or piece of furniture and then design the room around this piece.  A similar opportunity afforded itself to me.  As I was researching a similar topic for another course, I came across an article by the Air Force:

Fontaine, S., & Blake Johnson, N. (2011, September 19). Table takeover. Air Force Times, pp. 18-20.

In this article from the Air Force’s own publication a realistic review of the role of the iPad is presented. In early phases of testing, there is a very optimistic outlook for the iPad tablet as it is charged with being able to reduce costs and weight on flights. While the Air Force and other branches of our armed forces are beginning to utilize the iPad because of the need for added mobility, there are also concerns regarding security. These concerns are also identified.


Looking to the Future

While working on this one project is important, the process overall has been enlightening in many ways. The past two weeks have been spent in contemplation of what my (3) final projects will be about.  What started out as separate thought processes has coalesced into a realization that all that I do while here at UW Stout is of value farther down the line. 

As I was perusing topics on graduate studies on the internet, I stumbled across an article at the Dartmouth Writing Program website relating to Writing a Thesis. The information presented, though quite simple, is also very powerful. It de-mystified the process for me and urged me to begin “thinking” about how I want to finish.

To this end, I am designing a data base to house information relating to my time at UW Stout – more particularly to organize and add notations to articles, books, chapters, magazines and other print media (both on the internet and hard copy).  I really think that by doing a lot of reading, making a few notes here and there and being able to search and re-read, I can save an enormous amount of wasted time later on and have a much better understanding of my choices when the time comes.

Once I have a workable version, I would be happy to share it with anyone else that would like to use this as a tool.

Final 745 Paper: Technical Companies & Social Media

Hi everyone! I hope the last couple weeks of class are going well for all of you – we’re almost there!

I wanted to check in quick to mention my topic for the final paper. I plan to explore companies that sell technolgy-based products or services and their use of social media and related technologies within their business. Specifically, I’d like to look at blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.

To Email or Not To Email?

I found an interesting article here that talks about a French information technology company who is implementing a zero email policy where they don’t allow internal emails, but rather urge employees to use instant message and other networking tools.

Interesting! My thought is: if they’re still using other tools to communicate internally, will it really save time or is it just shifting that time to other communication methods?