Monthly Archives: December 2020

Government Agencies and Social Media: It’s Complicated

The relationship status of regulatory agencies and social media truly is complicated. The rise of instant, widespread communication was fascinating when it was first discovered. One internal memo I reviewed talked about how its one blog might be joined by one or two other agency blogs within a year. Among all regulatory agencies the story was the same: social media sure took communications professionals by a storm.

I decided for my paper to look specifically at social media policy and use of social media channels by a few regulatory agencies. It seemed exciting to look at an organization that does not directly market products, and explore both US and agencies abroad. Regulators such as the FDA, EPA, and OSHA exist to support communities and enforce compliance by companies with established standards. The same is true for those in Europe: the EMA, ECHA, and EU-OSHA. Part of this support includes guidelines for marketing products, including marketing done on social media.

My favorite discovery through this paper was finding out that the FDA’s response to regulating social media marketing was heavily criticized. Individuals did not think the agency did enough to provide a clear understanding of what was and was not considered acceptable. The concern was that social media would only communicate the benefits and not the potential risks or side effects of a particular product. Another interesting fact that arose was that the research trend in studying regulatory social media wants to harness social media communication to achieve regulatory goals, including a better response to reported negative drug reactions. Researchers wondered whether these reports might appear on social networks rather than the portion of the agency website dedicated to patient or consumer reporting.

When I chose this topic, I did not consider that some of these agencies continue to have a spotlight on them due to the latest news on Coronavirus vaccines. In my research, I encountered news about the EMA scheduling their review of the safety and efficacy data, which would occur more than a week after the FDA’s decision to grant an Emergency Use Authorization. Even though these agencies are in the news, it is curious that the most popular posts do not come from the agencies themselves. I thought about how a tweet from an individual can be posted without much thought, but the responsibility and reputation of the government is present in any form of agency communication.

Overall, I concluded that regulatory communications professionals can expect to have a lot more to consider as communication continues to change forms and connect us in new ways. Workers in industries that rely on regulatory updates are both pleased and challenged by social media, but can learn a lot from each other moving forward.

Static and Interactive Methods of Communication

It is crazy to think finals are already over. This year has gone by very quickly and I’ve enjoyed blogging with you all this semester! I’m excited to see what you all worked on!

My research was a comparative study for static and interactive forms of technical communication. More specifically, the research aimed to explore three questions: “1) the effectiveness of my company’s current methods of technical communication, 2) how interactive forms of communication compare to static forms of communication, and 3) the positive and negative implications of interactive processes (augmented reality).” The reason for choosing this topic is because I wanted to keep my finger on the pulse for new technological trends within the technical writing community. In exploring this research, I found that augmented reality, when setup, is highly effective and outperforms traditional static forms of technical communication. In addition, it is a great training tool that can help employees “form a motoric code” by visualizing the process or outcome. While there are many benefits to AR, the process for setting up an AR system can be costly, can be difficult to maintain, and requires significant technical expertise. By diving into this research, it helped me gain a better understanding of technology that I’m not as familiar with. If it is a direction our company wants to take in the future, I will have a deeper understanding of the challenges that need to be addressed.

In all, this course has provided me with a deeper understanding of social media, blogs, and effective technical communication strategies. While I don’t regularly blog at my workplace, it is a great marketing and communication tool that can be applied to a wide variety of situations and can generate a large following depending on the author’s strategies. It can also be a great creative outlet! I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned from this course at my workplace and get more creative in the sometimes mundane world of technical writing.

Happy holidays everyone!

Take Some Well Deserved Rest

What a wild semester huh? I can’t speak for everyone’s experiences as campus was partially open this semester, but I never left my house to go to class and isn’t that just bananas?

I did actually end up writing about UX’s application to technical communication, and here’s a bit from the introduction to my final:

This essay will argue that the processes of user experience research and testing should be used more holistically, with people across the development team becoming comfortable and knowledgeable in the fundamentals of usability, especially the technical communicators. To make this argument this essay will explore the history of technical communication and user experience, how technical communication influenced and has been influenced by user experience, and the ways technical communicators are already practicing user experience. From there the essay will look toward the future of technical communication in an ever-evolving user-experienced-based workforce. 

Something interesting about this particular paper was I tried out a new method of note taking and managing content I wanted to include from my sources. I ended up using Miro, which I got into in my UX course, and was surprised to notice how well it worked for this project. It’s a collaborative, white board and sticky note sort of workspace. Below is a visual of how I used it to take notes from my sources and outline my paper.

I was really cool this semester to dive into another programs’ graduate course and see some different perspectives on topics I was already vaguely familiar with.

I hope you all have a great holiday!

Analyzing the Growing Use of Emojis in Digital Communication

Abstract

This research highlights the function of Emojis within digital communication, especially in the form of nonverbal communication.  Emojis present pictorial representations of known elements. They act as a signifier to a number of signifieds pertinent to the receiver. This study will furthermore investigate how users perceive these Emojis as signifieds and use them to create productive communication and human connection. Likewise, due to the recent onset of the Emoji language, this research will add to the newly found discourse; emojis represent a sector of emerging media that can be tracked in order to understand the larger discipline as a whole as well. Emojis are operating as a replacement to certain forms of language and represent a growing universal language in the digital sphere.

As we close our semester learning about the multiple forms and effects of digital media, Emojis stood out to me as a leading example of the topics we discussed. Digital media is changing the landscape of how we consume information and communicate with each other, so it makes sense that new ways of communication within Web 2.0 are emerging as well. That is something that drew me to studying the use of Emoji’s; they are integrated into almost every digital product we use to communicate now. They are present on laptops, iphones, android, social media applications, and much more. Emoji’s have become so commonplace that there was even a movie created with them. This phenomena proves their powerful place in our new realm of digital communication. The universal traits of the Emoji language also offer a great lens to analyze them by. People from different background and traditional languages cna still communicate through Emojis. As the world becomes more interconnected through technology, language begins to be universal as well. 

Another facet of Emojis that interested me and what I strongly focused on in my final research paper was their relation to emotions. Many of use strongly associate different feelings with the use of specific Emojis. They act as the interpersonal hand of non face-to-face communication. With technology, many times we are communicating without seeing the other person directly. We are missing out on their nonverbal cues and small nuances in their communication. Emojis offer a slight answer to these nonverbal cues, as users can now create subtle changes in their messaging that may not come across if Emoji’s were not used. Overall, my research piece acted as a foundational branch into Emoji discourse, highlighting the major functions and findings coming forth from this new universal communication. 

Constructing Communication Strategies for Influencer Marketing on Twitch

This is a reflection on my research into the topic of influencer marketing on Twitch for a graduate course in Communication Strategies in Emerging Media at the University of Wisconsin-Stout

Abstract

Twitch is a social networking site that provides users the ability to stream live audio and video content from their own devices. The number of Twitch users has grown rapidly in recent years, which has created another potential space for social media marketers to raise awareness for their products and brands. Social media influencers monetize their platform popularity in part by partnering with marketers. Influencers on Twitch can deliver content to their audience in unique ways. This research provides best practices for constructing communication strategies when working with Twitch influencers. There is a discussion about special considerations when creating marketing content, choosing an influencer to represent a brand, and measuring the effectiveness of the influencer marketing campaign.

Commentary

My research into communication strategies for emerging media these past few months has illuminated the unique qualities of social media that influence its rapid evolution. The interactive nature of social media allows for the organic and dynamic growth of new ideas, melded together by professional communicators with disparate perspectives.

As social networking sites add functionalities that increase interactivity, professional communicators react by collaboratively researching how to best leverage a site’s affordances to communicate most effectively with each other and with broader audiences.

While it is largely used for streaming live video game play, Twitch is increasingly being used to stream other content as well. With over 8 million monthly users, streaming on Twitch is a growing trend for both hobbyists and professionals alike. The implications for commercial use have led marketing communication experts to use social media influencers to promote products and brands on Twitch, much in the same way they are used on Instagram and YouTube.

However, there are some unique considerations for communication strategies on Twitch. My research lends insight into influencer marketing on Twitch based on existing research on the platform and popular opinion on best practices in influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is probably not the right strategy and Twitch is probably not the right platform for every marketing effort. Influencer marketing has limitations – it’s not always easy to measure its effectiveness. And Twitch users are predominantly young, male gamers. Other demographics exist on the platform, but a marketer may need the help of specialized software services that help filter the millions of prospective influencers by a number of attributes.

Finding the right social media influencer may be difficult, but creating the marketing content will also require additional consideration. Since an influencer has grown their audience organically by means of their personal brand, marketing content needs to be created in a way that fits with their brand. If a scripted product advertisement does not land well on an audience, it hurts both the influencer’s and the partner’s brand.

Regardless of its limitations, if viewership continues to grow, influencer marketing on Twitch seems likely to become a mainstream strategy for many brands.

Au revoir!

That’s one more semester under my belt, and one more to go! It feels surreal, but I’m really excited (and maybe a little nervous!) to get started on my final project.

For this research assignment, I decided to tie this in with current position and past work experiences, examining how “leadership” integrates with communication strategies for digital technology especially for virtual leaders. After examining my sources, I came up with five major characteristics which included digital literacy, emerging media adaptation, personalization, self-management, and clear communication. Here’s a passage from my introduction about my main research question:

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and stay at home mandates across the United states, working from home quickly became a normality for many businesses, whether they could facilitate or not. This led to both instances of success and failures, depending on a business’s resources and knowledge to both implement virtual working and lead virtual employees. Leadership is now more than ever important for people to navigate their work life with some uncertainty. This research paper examines the literature that explains the successful integration of virtual leadership to expand the knowledge of transitioning a leadership framework into a virtual medium. 

Looking back, I really had a great experience this semester. While I wasn’t experienced with blog writing at the beginning of the semester, I ended up enjoying it a great deal and felt I was more inclined to write a little more freely about things compared to traditional discussion based forums on Canvas.

Hope everyone has a great holiday break and an excellent start to the new year 🙂

Final Post

Hi everyone! We made it! I feel like the semester has flown by and I can’t believe it’s already at an end.

With my job transitioning to being online completely, for my final paper I wanted to take a deeper dive into social media tools used in the workplace to facilitate collaboration and participatory culture.  I think when most people think of social media they think of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc., but the aim of my paper was to take a look at tools used at work that can also bring together workplace communities and communication such as Teams, Trello, Yammer, etc. In my final paper I dive more into what traditional social media is, how it’s used, how social media can be used for learning and collaboration in the workplace, what types of social media for the workplace exist and for what purpose, how they are used to facilitate collaboration, and how the workplace can utilize them to create a participatory culture in the workplace. With a majority of people working from home I found this topic extremely interesting, as it was clear to see that social media tools would be an extreme help to the transition from the office to the home. Plus, it gave me a lot of new ideas to take back to my own workplace! I’ve pasted my abstract below, but if you want to read my paper let me know and I’ll send it to you.

I hope you all have a happy holiday season and are able to enjoy it with your loved ones (even if it’s virtual)!

Abstract

Over the last decade or more, we’ve all become familiar with the many social media sites used in people’s personal lives. Whether we choose to download and use them or not, we all have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and the numerous platforms similar to them. While we wouldn’t imagine any of the above mentioned social media sites being used at work, there are other social media tools that do exist specifically for the workplace, and are designed to assist in team building, digital communications, collaboration, and enhancing participatory culture. With different and new versions of the “workplace” due to Covid-19, and not knowing when the workplace may return to normal, it’s important to determine if social media and digital tools in the workplace can be beneficial to employers and employees. This goal of this paper is to research and identify social media tools, and how social media can be used to increase workflow, build relationships, promote collaboration, and create participatory culture and inclusive communities in the workplace.

After Finishing My Final Paper…

Roles of parents, teachers have merged, education must be founded on  compassion | The Indian Express
Image retrieved from The Indian Express

Since I worked on the Final Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliographies early on with the guidance of Dr. Daisy, it became so much easier to write my final paper. I knew what I wanted to write about related to our course objectives, and I already got literature pieces that I wanted to draw upon for my paper. It was very helpful to have a video conference with Dr. Daisy where she provided insightful advice unsparingly and guided me to see the overall blueprint of my final paper from a wider perspective. At the same time, it was a good chance to write my Final Paper in that I can ponder over the current condition of our online education where I am also taking courses for MSTPC and where I am teaching my ESL/EFL students during the era of the pandemic instead of our usual face-to-face classes.   

Here’s the abstract of my Final Paper.

Learning beyond the Borders: Especially in the Era of Covid-19

As an instructor in the ESL/EFL environment, I teach reading, writing, and discussing various types of text (literature, biography, articles about current issues, etc.) written in English. Before the pandemic, taking advantage of emerging media and digital technologies, I have already been using media sources as a subsidiary tool in my class such as Youtube and Google, which promptly provides a great amount of useful graphic data. However, since the pandemic, Covid-19, strongly stroke the whole world, my students and I have been fully depending on digital technologies in order to continue our classes online instead of taking a break from our usual face-to-face classes.

In the beginning of the pandemic period, I had to take a long break from most of my classes without getting paid for months. However, with the support of digital technology as well as S. Korea’s nationwide passion for education, it was decided to resume classes online at language institutes and schools. Since most of the online classes including the ones at our institute are synchronous, reliable internet access and laptop or tablet and the like became not an option but indispensable tools both for my work and the learning environment for my students. Through the phase affected by Covid-19, I realized how significantly digital literacy can evolve/keep evolving based on the benefits of emerging media and digital technologies. The video conferencing platforms, Zoom and Gooroomee (a Korean platform similar to Zoom) definitely provide a stable connection for the classes I teach. Youtube is still a great source of videos we need for online classes. It is also amazing that I can share my screen on Zoom and Gooroomee so that my students can read what shows up on the virtual board instead of a usual whiteboard in their offline classroom. Google Docs is another great tool that can replace an actual white board in the offline classroom, letting both instructor and students write on the virtual sheet synchronously, which we are joyfully using in many of our classes during this pandemic era.

Teaching online from home, my commuting time has decreased, and I can spend more time preparing materials for my students by making a deeper level of reading comprehension questions, vocabulary list with more ample examples, quizzes with various types of questions, etc. Beside these benefits of having online classes, I contend that there are several aspects that need improving in terms of more effective communication for better online teaching and learning based on my teaching experiences. Hurley and Hea note that it is important to prepare students for technical communication in the era of emerging media and that it is necessary to enable students to critically use social media in the aspect of technical communication skills. Also, beyond using social media platforms merely for research, the authors argue that students also need to learn how to share the content and distribute it through various social media platforms. In a similar vein, Stein demonstrates how to prepare students for a virtual class, focusing on how to prepare learners for online classrooms, considering students’ concerns about the contact with their instructor and peers, technological failure, and so on. In order for students to share their concerns with their instructor while having communication with their peers, it is necessary for students to build a relationship with their instructor and classmates. Regarding this, the author argues that based on the theory of “Community of Inquiry,” students need to develop “social presence.”  

According to Knowlton’s theory, students better collaborate with each other in a reciprocal and dynamic atmosphere because “There is a social dimension to the teaching and learning process – students are not ‘alone’ in their efforts to learn” (Knowlton, 2000, p.9). As reciprocal collaboration helps students to actively participate in learning, it naturally forms student-centered classroom atmosphere. In “Online University Teaching during and after the Covid-19 Crisis: Refocusing Teacher Presence and Learning Activity” (2020), Rapanta et al. (2020) present practical methods for effective online classes from a variety of real-world cases based on the interviews with experts in the field of online education – to introduce a few: “Open up extra communication channels” for students. Allow “flexible time.” Make prompts to stimulate “probing, interrogating, critiquing and relating to content and other learners.”

In conclusion, I agree with Rapanta et al. (2020) that we can make the period of Covid-19 a chance to focus on the need for a change to the field of education. Due to emerging media and developing technologies, the world is changing rapidly, and so is the education field. By designing feasible and effective online learning environments based on digital technologies, both instructors and students will be able to adapt to the changing classroom environment and new patterns of communication. It is also essential for instructors and students to be ready for unpredictable forthcoming environments that could be caused by the pandemic. At the same time, the academia needs to be aware that it is necessary to invest in training instructors to develop their technical and professional communication skills using emerging media and to keep instructors updated on new, effective pedagogies (Rapanta et al., 2020, p.945).

I had a great semester with you all! Have a nice winter break!

Social Media in Education

Social Media in Education

Social media in education. Simple, right? It seemed the logical conclusion of our coursework and it aligns well with my professional experience as a Teaching Assistant at the university level. In the words of George R.R. Martin, “Oh my sweet summer child….”

Wrong I was. This topic was anything but simple. The complexity of the topic became evident immediately upon me beginning my research. There is a colossal amount of research on social media usage and even social media use by students, but very little empirical research on social media use as part of instruction. While I found a reasonable academically founded basis of research, the next problem was standardization. “Social media in education” is quite vague. Some research positioned social media use in education as a resounding success but only very minor use was integrated and it was optional (think a course Twitter account that sent out assignment and test reminders correlating with positive outcomes). Others drew conclusions regarding students’ attitudes towards social media use, but this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for either.

I was attempting to determine the feasibility of integrating a widely available, widely used social media platform as a fundamental part of the instruction. A prominent example that acted as the cornerstone of my paper was using a Discord server as a course hub or pseudo-LMS. There isn’t a lot of research on the success of social media being used in education in this way.

However, I was able to draw from the academic wisdom of emerging communication strategies and piece together experiences from other instructors to derive a reasonable argument that these platforms could be effectively integrated into education. Here are my fundamental arguments:

  1. These social media platforms have to compete to draw a sustainably large user base. Therefore, they are more committed to implementing usability and projecting wide spread appeal that could benefit students.
  2. Social media platforms often offer a greater array of features for communication that are simple and smoothly integrated.
  3. Students may already be familiar with and using these platforms. They may already be comfortable and checking in with these platforms often, which may increase course visibility.
  4. Traditional LMS lack the ability to integrate broader networks

However, there are potential obstacles to integrating social media platforms as fundamental parts of instruction:

  1. Students would be required to have a public facing social media presence.
  2. Faculty would need additional training and students would need introductory materials.
  3. The line between work and leisure would be blurred even more.

Ultimately, I concluded that social media platforms do have valuable potential as academic tools, but they must be applied appropriately, strategically, and with intention. Its important to orient all of the academic tools that we use towards maximum effectiveness and efficiency. This is particularly important when contemplating radical changes to the current online learning model.

Thanks for a great semester, class! I wish you all the best!

Teachers are Digital Communicators Now

I’ve missed our weekly blogging exercises and exchanges! I’m eager to review my classmates’ final projects, though.

My essay focuses on the ways that the skills and concepts of digital communication are now an essential element of teaching as online learning (and all the digital tools, apps, bells, and whistles that come along with that) becomes a permanent part of education.

To say the global pandemic caused disruption to the American educational system seems like a laughable understatement, but that is the term being used to describe the, in some cases overnight, switch from in-person learning to online and virtual learning for schools across the country and around the world. Teachers who had trained for years to earn a teaching degree and then continued to perfect their craft through years of classroom experience and further study suddenly found themselves without a classroom or any of the tools they had previously relied upon for their work. Educational professionals had to master screencasts, Zoom, and Google classroom from their homes. While the instantaneous change made a quality transition all but impossible in the short term, the long-term reality is that these digital tools and spaces are now a permanent part of the educational landscape. Teachers must master the platforms their schools adopt, and this requirement is where the concepts and skills more familiar to digital communicators come into play. This paper argues that teachers and the profession of teaching as a whole must adopt a digital communication approach of audience-centered communication and skilled information design in their efforts to elevate the online classroom to the same levels of educational excellence that they have long offered in the traditional classroom. 

Here’s the essay, if you’re interested!

Discovering the audience, identity, and power in an online community.

Understanding an audience plays a significant role in the technical communication field. We are, by training and requirement, focused on the audience and those who will use what we create. Social media has developed a broad network of communities focused on anything from niche cooking techniques to reality tv shows. For my case study this semester, I chose to observe Bravo TV’s social media channels. My decision was based on the way Bravo TV has evolved with its audience to continuously grow, particularly using social media. Bravo TV has used its social media to build active communities of followers who engage daily on Bravo content. While completing the case study, it became evident that Bravo TV has a very engaged Instagram community. This semester, the topics of audience, identity, and power were raised throughout our readings, specifically in Blakeslee (2010), Chayko (2017), Hurley & Hea (2014), Longo (2014), and Rheingold (2012). Knowing how digitally engaged the Bravo TV community was, I wanted to put theory to practice and determine what could be understood about Bravo’s audience. Primarily I was interested in the community identity and power balance within the community. By observing comment temperament, I was able to observe the power balance between the audience and Bravo TV cast members, who often engage within the post comments. Before my observation, I assumed the power balance was shifted more toward the Bravo TV cast members. After completing the observation, it became clear the power within the community rests with the audience. The engagement was not just the audience fawning over their favorite Real Housewives, the identity of the Bravo TV Instagram community is that of support and accountability. The community had almost standardized levels of acceptance from the Bravo TV cast members. If a cast member went outside the bounds of acceptability, a stream of comments reprimanding them on any Instagram post featuring they were featured in followed. Certainly, some cast members seemed to be despised by the community. Bravo TV appears to be aware of its audience because their Instagram posts rarely feature these particular individuals. As Bravo TV has centered its content around the audience, the power within the Bravo TV community ultimately lies with the audience. Uniquely, Bravo TV’s show stars are audience-made. They are not famous beyond the notoriety they receive from fans as cast members in reality shows. If not for the fans, they would not hold their faux-celebrity status. Furthermore, fan support keeps individuals relevant as show cast members, without this, they would be taken off the show – which has happened many times.


Research findings can often surprise us. It is the old adage of not judging a book by its cover. Until we have truly engaged with an audience, our understanding is only based on assumptions. As technical communicators, we know understanding the audience is a critical step to being able to communicate with an audience. The benefits of modern, digital communication modalities are what they allow us to discover about our audience. Not only are these communities attainable from devices which we carry around with us (mobile phone), they are active and vocal. If they don’t like or approve of something, in the case of the Bravo TV community, they discuss it. Longo (2014) championed the idea of technical communicators incorporating social media into their toolset. After completing both the case study and research paper, I couldn’t agree more.

Art and Technology

Wow was it a journey to research for this final paper! I have noticed that during my blog posts throughout the semester, I have gravitated more towards the art and design aspect of how technology and social media play a role in how people connect. The more I wrote my thoughts on this, the more natural it just felt to focus on this topic for my final paper. Despite the fact that I couldn’t relate very much to the technical communication side of the course materials, I found that it really did shed a light on the art and design side of how digital technology works with the design field. I wanted to gain more insight into this very topic that was only brushed on very briefly through the materials we have previously learned.

Before starting my research, I had a little bit of prior knowledge of how technology and art had been linked in the past from previous courses here at Stout. That had helped me with the course of my research as I was able to expand my current understanding of how integral they truly were together. Learning about how digital technology and art/design were linked and the cultural and societal aspect of it really helped my understanding of how much a role social media platforms and social communities have impacted and influenced our current design culture today. As I began to write and put my thoughts down on paper, I soon found that all of my research was starting to naturally connect to each other, flowing from one idea to another. Being able to see how all of these aspects of digital communication link up together helped me make sense of my own research. I was quite happy with all of the knowledge that I was able to accumulate through this final paper and I look forward to applying them to my future endeavors.

Credibility in blogging

Greetings, I hope this post finds everyone well. I hope your final paper here and projects in other classes are wrapping up nicely.

For my research topic for the final paper in English 745: Communication Strategies for Emerging Media, I started by looking at research on where readers perceive credibility in blogs. I ultimately focused on research in the last ten years because research prior to ~2006 routinely characterized readers as white and conservative. Knowing that the number of blog readers has increased and is more diverse today, data and characterizations in recent research would be far more accurate. What I found is researchers are using three common sources for credibility: the author, the message and the medium. My research was a little hampered though as not all the authors used the terms author, message and medium. Their choice of terms conflicted despite providing and using consistent definitions. In other words, the authors disagreed on terms but agreed on their definitions. After creating a table for myself of the authors, their terms and defintions, the data was clearer. I adjusted for the minor conflicts in terms and created a heuristic for myself to better analyze the data. Ultimately, my paper is about finding these term conflicts, adjusting for them with the heuristic, and then finding that blog readers perceive credibility in blogs in ways that are different from mainstream traditional media sources.

If this topic interests you, feel free to read through my abstract and paper below. Take care!

Abstract

With the number and popularity of blogs increasing every day, its content competes directly with mainstream media and the traditional filter-then-publish approach. This poses a problem for readers as traditional methods for perceiving credibility are not relevant when reading the user-generated content in blogs. Therefore, it is important for blog authors and other technical communicators to explore where, or in what form, blog readers find credibility. Recent research shows a tendency to view credibility from three sources: the author, the message and the medium. While not all the researchers used the same terms, their definitions were identical. This allowed for adjusting for the minor conflicts in terms and then determining there was a recurring theme of author/message/medium across the research. It stands to reason then it can serve as a heuristic for more efficient future discussion and research. The heuristic was used in the analysis for this paper, making it easier to discern how readers perceive credibility in blogs. More research is necessary though, as credibility assessment is complex and blogging continues to grow as a medium.

THE FINAL PAPER!!

I did it. I finished my final paper for my second to last course in grad school. The class is Communication Strategies in Emerging Media. We had a choice of class objectives from which to choose. I chose the following from Dr Daisy Pignetti at UW Stout:

Analyze the ways emerging media and digital technologies are changing our workplaces, classrooms, and social lives with emphasis on the technical and professional communication workplace.

I work regularly with engineers in my professional life, and I’ve always found them and their workplace norms interesting. I started to dig into best practices when communicating with engineers – how and when they prefer to do so, etc. This is a big ask of a professional technical communicator in today’s workplace, especially when they’re striving to appeal to a broad audience via emerging media. I found quite a few trends in the resources I collected. With the help of Dr Pignetti’s feedback, I narrowed my paper’s focus to two main points. One, engineers, surprisingly, largely prefer to work directly with others to complete the task at hand. Two, proofreading isn’t as common as it should be, but lots of authors mention it’s importance. This is the introduction to my paper:

While content and products tailored to distinct audiences is an archetype for business, today’s technical communicators are increasingly expected to appeal to a wide range of consumers via various emerging media and technological channels on behalf of their company.  In order to collaborate with diverse teams to produce the needed content, technical communicators must adopt effective collaboration methods throughout the life of a project, including how to elicit needed information from engineers and ensure that final products are useful to broad audiences.  Bridging gaps between creators and consumers remains a central role for technical communicators in 2020.       

The most intriguing new discovery I made is how some authors are automating the identification of expert jargon in academic and professional writings (see Rakedzon, T., Segev, E., & Chapnik, N. (2017)). The potential for utilizing AI rather than developing focus groups is definitely a topic I’ll be keeping an eye on.