Social media fundraises and can make us more productive

I found a lot of things in the Qualman reading this week informative.  I didn’t realize Obama raised more money for his campaign and it seems like the credit is going to social media.  It does make sense that if you have more donation vehicles available that you’ll raise more money, but maybe those people would have donated anyway, so I’m not sure social media deserves all the credit.  I also found it really interesting that we can tell who searches for what and where, such as how Canada and United Kingdom were searching for political news in the U.S.  The internet really does provide visibility into our lives.


The Qualman reading also said Obama had a meeting where people put their phones on the center of the table.  At one of my previous jobs there was a rule in place that you didn’t bring phones and laptops to meetings.  This was the result of too many people going “wait, what?” in meetings.  You can’t pay attention in a meeting if you’re on your phone or laptop.  Meetings won’t take as long if you don’t have to keep stopping to repeat things either.

One of my friends has a brunch every year for the holidays, and someone actually made a comment last year that it was nice no one had their phone in their hand.  You see it way too often in places like restaurants or bars where people are with people in person, but spend the night on their phones.


Social media does make us productive though, like the example the reading provides of seeing the wait time to vote. The NJ DMV does this for the inspection wait times.  I do wonder if we’ll see online voting though.  It would be very convenient, but a lot of things for privacy and accuracy need to be addressed.

The reading also discusses the role of marketing and that marketing has the job to make the customer happy and produce something that really has value.  We’re in the age of the customer where online recommendations and reviews really do make an impact.  There have been many things online I was going to buy, saw negative reviews and then either didn’t make the purchase or went with a different product.  I also have bought something based on a recommendation from something that I bought previously.  Money is made in a tough economy when people see value in their spend.

This is why online documents have become so important.  The Spilka reading mentions how technical documents aren’t just part of an assembly line anymore.  Documents need to be readily available in an easy to access location.  We’ve become a society with no patience, so if we can’t get what we want when we want it, we move on.  The idea the reading presents of maybe using blogs to replace technical documentation I don’t think will take off.  I think a blog can be a great pairing to technical documents, but can’t serve as a replacement for them.  The only way a blog can be effective is if someone is monitoring it 24/7 with quick answers, which almost turns the blog into a chat with a live agent kind of thing.

So, what do you guys think?  I feel like I covered a hodgepodge of topics, but I liked a lot of the different topics the readings made and wanted to discuss some of them.

Posted on October 6, 2013, in Social Media, Society, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing your post! It really hit home for me how much time I actually spend on my phone when I saw a video posted on Facebook about a month ago that points out how addicted we are to our phones. I think people (I am guilty sometimes) spend entirely too much time on their phones, in general. However, you are right — we do so for legitimate reasons sometimes. It is so simple to check our email or our online back accounts online, and nowadays companies are relying on social media to capture customers so I can’t help but think cellphone problems will be around for awhile.

    Here is the video:

    • I like that video, particularly the example of bowling and getting a strike with everyone too busy on their phones to notice. I went bowling the other day and it was a similar scene. The convenience we get from our phones is fantastic, but I think people sometimes just don’t realize what we’re missing while we’re staring at our phones.

  2. evelynmartens13

    Good point about cell phones, laptops, and meetings. I’m wondering how long it will be before we adopt an official policy at my school about meetings. One of my best friends always brings her laptop and pretends that she’s taking notes at meetings, but I know she’s actually checking and responding to emails and whatnot. So, she IS doing work business, just not the business at hand. And that makes me wonder — if so many of us could be so “checked out” during the meeting, do we really need to be having the meeting?

    Love your cartoon! I’m posting it on my bulletin board outside my door.

    • I’m glad you found the cartoon funny! It’s really something everyone can relate to. I think when people bring laptops/phones to a meeting that it’s not always to slack off and check personal emails. But, if you’re answering work emails or doing something else in a meeting you’re not paying attention. I agree with the point you made that if people aren’t involved in the meeting, what’s the point of it? But maybe the meeting organizer is walking away frustrated nothing seemed to be accomplished.

  3. You immediately caught my attention when you wrote, “At one of my previous jobs there was a rule in place that you didn’t bring phones and laptops to meetings. This was the result of too many people going “wait, what?” in meetings. You can’t pay attention in a meeting if you’re on your phone or laptop.”

    In my experience, I have seen administrators and faculty who refuse to put down their cell phones. I have sat in meetings with them, and they may not look up at the people sitting around the table with them And I cannot help thinking, “Seriously?” As a matter of fact, some of those same administrators will absolutely not condone this behavior for anyone else, but they will do it very openly in both small and big meetings.

    For me, this behavior comes down to being present in the moment. If one cannot detach from a cell phone (or anything really) to focus on the person or people who are present in the same room (or perhaps on the phone or on the other end of a screen), then I am not sure I believe we have moved into a greater time with technology.

    I have known faculty and administrators who cannot focus on one person’s needs because of technology. For instance, I have seen one call another person on a cell phone while trying to answer email with the office phone ringing. This did not look like a person present in the moment. Is this kind of multi-tasking good or bad for a leader?

    You end on an interesting note: ” The only way a blog can be effective is if someone is monitoring it 24/7 with quick answers, which almost turns the blog into a chat with a live agent kind of thing.”

    Do we need 24/7 maintenance, and how quick do we really want our answers? Does this depend on the need? The environment? The reason we use or need the resource?

    I agree with are impatient these days….I see this often with my students. Give me what I want, and give it to me now. But why might they be that way? How long is too long before it is time to move on? How does this relate to the world of technical communication in any arena?

    I see impatience all around me: while driving, while standing in line, while working with coworkers, teachers, and students.

    I also see cell phones and have to say something almost every time I meet a face-to-face class. I have to remind them to put them away unless we are using them for educational purposes. I might just have to share your video with them and have them draw some inferences from it. 😉


    • The company I work for actually did a big “be here now” or “be present” campaign. There was too much multi-tasking being done in meetings, which wastes everyone’s time when people are not paying attention. We have offices all over the country, and a few abroad, so it is common to have only phone and WebEx meetings where all participants are sitting at their desks. No one else can tell if people are not paying attention, so it is the responsibility of the individual.
      Cell phones are not allowed to be out during meetings because they could only be for personal use. I think the CEO was the only one to bring out a cell phone in a meeting, and it was because he was awaiting a call from his assistant with new about the ACA (when it was first passed).

  4. BTW, for the educational arena where I work, the standard time-frame for response time is 24-48 hours. I would expect my students to be patient for at least two days before getting impatient, but they do not always remain patient. Some will email up to three to five times within one hour and expect an immediate response. I will also say that since I tend to answer them within 24 hours as often as possible, they do get used to this time frame, so when the weekends roll around, I let them know my response time may vary.

    • I see your point of asking have we really evolved if people can’t detach from technology. Technology should be an aide, not a detractor. I think multi-tasking is a good skill, but within your means. I see so many times people will sign on to a call in their office and then walk away to join a meeting. This type of multi-tasking isn’t helpful. This is why I believe on a conference call you can’t accept silence as an answer; silence may mean the person isn’t even listening to you.

      I think for certain things you need 24/7 maintenance. For example, I work at Verizon Wireless. If at 3 AM the network goes down someone has to fix that. An outage at 3 AM doesn’t mean college kids can’t call their drunken friends, it could mean someone having a medical emergency can’t dial 911.

      When I worked at my previous job at a software company that sold order management software people wanted 24/7 support. On a regular day, who needs 24/7 support? What does it really matter if, for example, your muffins don’t leave the warehouse until the next day? But then when you talk to business owners not getting that package out that day can mean a negative review and bad press. In this case it’s not being impatient, it’s their business, and it’s how they put food on their table.

      There are a lot of people just being impatient though. I think a lot of people think whatever going on in their life is the most important thing at that moment, even if it’s not a big deal. Not every situation is a mission critical one that requires immediate care. I think kids are being raised with the attitude of “give me what I want and give it to me now”. They’re raised by parents that are tired from working and used to having everything they want at their fingertips. I don’t see it getting better, I see it getting worse.

      It’s a good question to think about how this changes technical communication. Maybe the impatience is caused by a lack of available information that’s easy to understand?

  5. We’d like to think we can effectively multi-task – email, text, surf the web, watch TV, listen to our partners talk – and for a long time, I thought that this was one of those key words/skills to always include on my resume. One of my bosses made a comment the other day, though, that none of us can truly multi-task because at least one of those tasks is not being completed as fully as it could be. I have a theory, though, that this is an evolutionary thing. More and more children (as well as adults) are being diagnosed with ADD. I know there can be a lot of frustration with learning how to cope with this condition, and I hope I am not offending anyone, but could it be an evolutionary trait? Think about all of the images, media, and changes we are confronted with each day. It’s nonstop. We can be exposed up to hundreds of ads and messages each day. How do we deal with it? Perhaps by slowly developing shorter and shorter attention spans.

    • I agree with the point we like to think multi-tasking is a plus, but your boss is right. Something isn’t getting done well, and if you’re constantly multi-tasking nothing is getting done well. I do agree with what you’re saying that we’re a society of ADD. The way everything is so fast paced we don’t stop and take a moment for anything.

      I find that even doing my school reading my mind is all over the place. I have to really sit down and focus. I don’t think it was like this for me a few years ago when I did my undergrad. I really think the fast paced way we live has made a difference.

  6. I always think that it is so funny when I hear about workplaces where people are always on their phone or whatever. At my job, I am the tech savvy person in the office (I will give you a moment to let the laughter die down). It is a little pathetic, because I am nowhere near savvy. But, most of my coworkers are older and they really haven’t integrated newer technologies into their lives. Consequently, at our meetings, no one ever brings a phone. We waste time by mocking each other instead. I would counter your assertion that meetings won’t be as long, because I think that there is always something that drags it out, even in really old fashioned work groups like mine.

    You are right about phones being everywhere. I really hate that phenomena in our culture. I think the connectivity is great, but the inability to have enough self control to resist the allure of the phone and focus on real live people absolutely makes me crazy. It is one of the reasons I keep putting off getting a smartphone.

    • Your point is true, phones aren’t the only things that make meetings drag on. In some meetings I’m in without phones there is always something that comes up that keeps you there longer. Maybe it’s someone talking about their weekend or somewhere they’re going after work. But there’s always something.

      I resisted getting a smart phone for so long. I didn’t see the point in paying for it when I have internet at work, internet at home, and when I’m out I don’t want to be staring at my phone all night. But, being I work for Verizon Wireless, I upgraded. Now I have two smartphones, one for personal use and one for work use.

  7. The rule we have at work is that you have to have your phone on silent. Its always funny when someone forgets and in the middle of the quiet workplace, someones phone starts ringing.

    When talking about not bringing phones into meeting, we have our annual performance reviews in July. My daughter was at a summer camp and I received a call from the camp counselor that she had an injury to her eye.. Based on that phone call, I called our doctor and was waiting for a return call. As I was impatiently waiting for the call, my performance review started. I had to tell the CEO and the HR Manager why I brought my phone into my performance review. I am still the only employee to answer a call during a review.

    There have been times I have forgotten my phone at home and resisted the urge to run home on my lunch (I only live about 5 min away) and get it. its always amazing how much I don’t miss when I do that. I should probably “forget” more often.

    • I also live about 5 mins from work. I am guilty of driving home to get my cell phone! I feel like a part of me is missing when I don’t have it with me. It’s sad, I know.

    • I’m jealous of you two living 5 min from work! It frustrates me how much time I “waste” in my day driving back and forth to work. I think if my boss let me work from home how much more productive I could be by saving two hours of my day that would have been spent in my car.

      I too have brought my phone to meetings and stepped out to take a phone call from a doctor. I think that’s part of the reason why we have cell phones and technology, to help us with things that really matter.

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