Author Archives: drakek2454
it’s been a wonderful semester working with each of you and getting to know the areas in which interest you the most.
Below is a quick excerpt on a topic I chose for my final paper.
The primary purpose of the research was to examine and explore the ways in which technical communication is being impacted by the advancements of technology. The history of technical communication is outlined in conjunction with the roles and shift of professionals working as technical writers/communicators. New scholar and advancements in technology shaping the workplace including artificial intelligence (AI), robots, cloud computing – smartcalling were further discussed. Additionally, as technology improved and brought with it adaptations for the workplace some organizations and individuals felt the need to sit back and watch it evolve rather than change and adapt with it. The future of technology and its implications on communication will soon be with us whether that means AI, robots, reduced manual labor, etc., but the question remains: Will we be ready for what’s next?
Thanks again for a great semester. I wish you all well as you finalize your papers, projects, etc., and I hope to work with you in future courses.
As we begin to move forward our human relationship, with technology (the machine), is beginning to bound us into certain communities. This whole idea of being a part of something, whether we want to or not, is beginning to set the stage for what’s next with the relationship between humans and machines.
(Source: Google Images)
After reading the text, this week, Spilka stated throughout Chapter 6 this priority of, “Because I sense that there are human relationships beyond my machine and because I can communicate with other people in a virtual environment, together we will form some kind of community and culture based on those relationships and communication” (Spilka, 2010). We are all striving to be a part of what’s in front of our screen, whether we are searching, lurking or participating in conversations on social media, discussion boards and forums and even asking “Google” for our next answer.
Spilka goes further to highlight that both defined and undefined communities have boundaries. The author states, “In order to form a community, some people have to be included and other excluded” (Spilka, 2010).
In this blog, the author mentions the 5 important online community trends for 2018.
1. Platform Convergence
2. Automation of Community Management
3. Blockchain Technology
4. A Rise in Ideation Communities
5. Data Will Lead to Actionable Insights
Natasha, the author of, The Five Important Online Community Trends for 2018, says, “Online communities, on the other hand, offer an online ‘get-away’ with trustworthy, relevant news and the potential to create real involvement.” This was an interesting note in which the author relates these online communities, to a user’s ‘get-away.” While I began to consider what Natasha was exactly referring to, it made me realize why she coined these communities as “getaways.”
These ‘getaways’ are becoming the focal point to more than what Spilka notes in Chapter 7 as norms and rules pertaining to “Universal and particular” approaches to online environments (Spilka, 2010). They are becoming the basis for companies, advertisers and other users who are hoping to learn more about a product or service in which someone has shared their own experience with. Essentially, individuals are using these online “communities” to make their products better, share their own experiences and allow for a continued discourse between members of a company, individuals who share common interests with this product or service and for a stronger relationship between each of these “particular” communities. Even as we begin to associate ourselves as a product user, designer, or even a member of a certain company we began to “belong” to that network or community in a sense. Further, Spilka makes the connection that these “online communities” in which users share their feedback are not only helpful for the companies, brands and other individuals/potential customers, but also for technical communicators. Spilka states, “The digital environment gives writers more effective mechanisms than ever for obtaining this feedback. It also helps writers interact with and respond to readers: they can even respond immediately to readers’ needs. And, of course, writers can use reader feedback both to enhance their understanding of readers and to improved documents” (Spilka, 2010).
Take a look at this blog which mentions 23 different ways online communities are making an impact on a customer’s experience, not only for other like-minded customers, but also for the company and organization.
In all of this week’s context pertaining to communities, technology and how we “belong” to each of these communities whether we classify ourselves as part of a community or not, these interactions and our presence are shaping the future. It’s interesting to discover that Microsoft currently has a bot framework in existence which can referred to as, “Microsoft Azure.”
(Source: Google Images)
As technology continues to advance, do you see these communities “online” becoming stronger, weaker, less frequented, etc.?
Additional question that pertain to these “online” communities include:
- Will we be communicating more with chatbots?
- Will we be communicating more with actual people behind the screen?
- Will we be communicating with something completely new that’s never been exposed of before in these “online” communities or what will the “new online” era resemble?
(Source: Google Images)
Spilka, R. (2010). Digital literacy for technical communication: 21st century theory and practice. New York: Routledge.
Our experience on the World Wide Web (WWW) is mapped out, but what does this really look like and how is it played out?
As technology continues to advance and our access and usage of the information readily available becomes more frequent we are creating traces for the internet to mock or even predict what we want to see. Being followed, mocked or even clicking on specific content whether you are looking for yourself or someone else begins to create a pattern of browsing history, whether for the good or bad. What you click on can help brands and organizations use algorithms and your browsing history to predict your future actions or show you content you are more likely to engage with based on your search history!
Even web developers are using mapping techniques. Spilka states,”When designers create sitemaps, their attention becomes focused on document features or virtual space as a type of information design: organization becomes an invention strategy, a method of arrangement, and a way to increase the likelihood that the information will serve audience needs and correspond to user assumptions and expectations” (Spilka, 2010). As you can see their a players behind the screens who are helping websites be more efficient at predicting what it is that they want their users to “use theirs site” for. Web developers are using the world wide web to better fine tune their audience and present them with the information they hope to see. In congruence with what the web developers are doing, site notifications are a new visual you may begin to notice when you click on a site.
Here is what a website notification on Google Chrome looks like.
Source: Google Images
This notification may prompt the user to click “allow” or “block” in order to continue to see notifications that pertain to this site. If the user proceeds with clicking “allow,” this will enable the website you selected “allow” notifications for to send you any related updates.
If you are an individual that didn’t even know this existed or typically select, “allow” to remove the notification from what you are trying to look at. Check out the fowling link to see what notifications you have that pre exist and how remove these notifications, if interested, or what to do in the future: https://www.howtogeek.com/288946/how-to-stop-websites-from-asking-to-show-notifications/
Going further, Spilka reiterates this, “Becoming a mapmaker means selecting and arranging pre existing information in order to assist a user in learning something or accomplishing some task, often with visual extra-textual display of the data” (Spilka, 2010). So, is this trend becoming to invasive for our searches on the internet or is it aiding us by providing us with the information we are most likely to engage with depending on our internet searches and interests?
I titled this week’s blog post to encompass this week’s reading from the Digital Literacy For Technical Communication and the focus on the profession of technical writers. I felt in each of my experiences at different companies the position, “technical writer,” has been loosely defined.
In Chapter 1, the roles and requirements for what this field contain are laid out in a neatly organized grid showcasing the changes from early 1970’s to current. In the 70’s a technical writer’s role included, “Wordsmithing the technical specifications so that they would be useful as reference documentation by trained personnel.” Now, fast forward to our current year, a technical writer role may consist of “Designing large databases of technical content and providing that content. Overseeing the creation and publication of user-created content.”
Dicks said, “Work processes that once took one to two years have been condensed and now take three to six months. Through the capabilities that technology provided, technical writers have become their own designers, illustrators and production assistants, and with the assistance of spelling and grammar checkers, their own editors, too.”
Dicks’s statement above is a solid interpretation of what the technical writer profession may look like for some, especially those who may play multiple roles in their organization.
In my own experience, I’ve held a few different jobs after graduating with my Bachelor of Science from UW-Madison in Communications with positions that are directly related to the fields of marketing and communication. Not surprisingly, in each of these positions and departments from the various companies, I spent roughly half of my days sending emails back and forth to individuals inside and outside the company. In addition, to the constant correspondence across the organization, I contributed to the marketing and event promotions for the respective company. While contributing to the multitude of duties one must complete to promote an upcoming event you can begin to visualize content, materials, video items, etc. that all go into an event. With this, as someone who works and helps lead an organization in the marketing and communication department it’s not uncommon for me to help print, create PDFs, update website content, add logos, sponsors, event detail to various promotional material in Adobe Creative Suites, help edit or review video, and lastly disseminate all of this either online or at the event.
Although my role now does not contain the keywords, “Technical Writer,” in my job description or even my title I am constantly contributing to the various tasks and key elements a technical writer’s responsibilities encompass.
One individual shares their own experience with technical writing and offers a few takeaways in their blog titled, “How I Broke Into Technical Writing – And Why You Should Too,” including:
- There will always be work
- You learn as you go
- The work is straight forward
- It’s a lucrative option
Technology and Technical Writers
Another blog, “For Technical Writers, The Future Looks Bright,” begins to illustrate the field of technical communication in a positive way explaining why the future for those who undertake this profession may have a bright future.
While I think both of the blogs listed above do a great job on illustrating the needs and demands of the technical communicator profession, they also share personal anecdotes of first-hand experience to help argue their main point. As technology continues to change, new individuals enter and leave the workforce, it only allows for me to stop and ponder, What this field will look like in the next 20 years and what will the necessary skills for someone to work in this field resemble?
When is the last time you opened a text message, snaphat, or Facebook direct message or perhaps any other messaging service that involved the use of social media??
Are you familiar with any of these screens?
Think about this for a minute, you may have your device right next to you as you multitask and read this blog post.. But, let’s pause. The use of social media and the sending and receiving of messages offers a user to lurk and/or participate. Lurking is defined by Webster Dictionary as, “To lie or wait in concealment, as a person in ambush; remain in or around a place secretly or furtively.” This term can be witnessed all across social media as a user who scrolls through their feed, catches up on the activity, but chooses not to comment, like or engage in anyway with other’s posts/reactions, etc. While this behavior is becoming more second nature and acting as an easy way for users to catch up on other’s lives, is it also becoming second nature for users to leave messages unread, unopened, or is it creating more of a craze for users to constantly check in on these platforms to see if their friends have read, opened, or even received their message?
A recent study cited in Net Smart even indicates, “People’s happiness is influenced by how happy their friends, neighbors, and coworkers are.” Is this another study, that’s showing our behaviors are similarly attributed to what our friends are portraying in their news feeds and could this be a stretch to link this to our own behavior, moods, and attitudes based on what’s read, kept and opened in our own messages?
What is Lurking?
Kushner refers to this idea that even though many have social media profiles and use the platforms consistently, not all of the users are participating, instead some are more or less monitoring the activity feeds. You can read more about this in Scott Kushner’s full article on, Read only: The persistence of lurking in Web 2.0.
What social networks mean to us?
Rheingold refers to social cyberspaces as, “Whether they emerge from email, blogs, hyperlinks, instant messages, or tweets – are small-world networks, because they are electronic extensions of human social networks.” Rheingold goes further and states the commonalities of social networks and the impact it has on each of us, as individual users. He says, “What we hold in common is a commitment to examining and examining whether we are fooling ourselves, or losing out on something vital through the way we use media.”
Taking all of what was said, interpreted, examined and re examined by the author, my perspective and social media today are these issues above contributing to what Rheingold refers to as the, “social dilemma.” The social dilemma is defined by Rheingold as the following, “Social dilemmas are the conflicts between self-interest and a collective action that all creatures face in daily life – situations in which a lack of trust in the potential cooperation of others prevents individuals from acting together in ways that would benefit everybody. Social dilemmas arise over the consumption and provision of resources.”
Are we contributing to a social dilemma in our society by using the term, “lurking” or is this something we can today classify as a fad, in which, will eventually fade away??
Rheingold, H. (2014) Net smart: How to thrive online(1sted.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
For this week’s reading the idea of what has happened and what is to come are concepts circling my head.
For example, in 95 theses, #89 of the Manifesto states, “We have real power and we know it. If you don’t quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with” (Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, 2001).
Apple vs. MicrosoftAre you following me yet? From the theses this reminded me of the constant back and forth between two of the largest technology companies capturing today’s market; Apple and Microsoft.
Have you heard of the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses?”
As Microsoft creates or launches a new product, Apple has already begun working on their next product creation, launch or technological advancement to do exactly what is stated in #89 of the Manifesto and that is to introduce something more attractive to the consumer (Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, 2001).
However, this made me realize that the consistent battle between Apple and Microsoft may in part be due to us, the consumer . . .
#93 of the Manifesto does remind us of this → “We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down” (Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, 2001).
In the Long Tail, the authors note the following statement about consumers, “Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what’s available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble” (Anderson, p.3).
Maybe consumers are being guided by the source?
In The Long Tail reading the author dives into this idea about profitability and how Netflix and Amazon are beginning to monetize the market. The author said, “But Netflix, where 60 percent of rentals come from recommendations, and Amazon do this with collaborative filtering, which uses the browsing and purchasing patterns of users to guide those who follow them (“Customers who bought this also bought …”). In each, the aim is the same: Use recommendations to drive demand down the Long Tail.” (Anderson, p.26)
This begins to point out the notion of companies paying attention to consumer behaviors. Companies like Netflix and Amazon are noticing our likes and dislikes, but are they taking advantage of the consumer, or just helping the consumer enjoy more or what they already like?
In a recent CNN story, the contributors highlight how it’s not just Facebook who is spying on its users, but others are doing it too. This leads me to another question of if Facebook could be the one to blame for disclosing information related to consumers patterns and behaviors. Could it be that Netflix and Amazon were able to track some of our searches, likes, comments and unfollows on social media platforms like, Facebook?
The content from this week’s readings focused on the presence of communication within the technical and professional communication profession and the usage of social media. While much or the information provided an examination the current field of technical and professional communication it also offered insight on the scholar and resources behind this reasoning and laid the foundation for what “we” the audience could expect in the future.
One item I found to be of particular interest this week was the technical and professional communication field being explored in certain places, such as cafes and coffee shops. In particular, this article offers some insight as to the growing market and dynamics of coffee shops.
In a world filled with technology, cords, business meetings/gatherings all taking place on the road it’s no wonder many coffee shops and quick stop shops are taking note. As the use of communication through the means of technology continues to expand and play an even greater role for personal and business consumption it only provides a small glimpse into the future of all professions. Blythe, Lauer and Curran said, “’As Yancey (2009), the Revisualizing Composition Study Group (2010), and the Stanford Study of Writing (2008) have articulated, trends in digital tools and handheld technologies have made our lives all the more converged, synergistic and complicated’’(Blythe, Lauer and Curran, 2014). After reading this article multiple times, I was drawn to this phrase which highlights our current demand for technology, the use of it and how it’s actually perceived in the workplace and beyond. As one can only attest to, the power and use of technology with the field of communication is vital to send content, provide updates and alert the appropriate stakeholders, peers and anyone else who may be of interest. However, the caveat I found with this statement from the authors is one that I experience day in and day out. This recurring problem in the field of technical and professional communication is the constant flux of new and innovative programs, apps and systems of storing and sharing information. While some provide valuable resources for multiple individuals to access from any device such as Google docs, etc. it does not help the issue of cross communication between other programs like outlook, exchange, Asana, Slack, Smartsheet, etc.
While many of these programs are valuable in their own unique ways, only some can provide cross communication and sync information and data between each other.Check out one of the newer business platforms which aims to solve this solution. Have you heard of Zinc? This program is very similar to slack.
What are your thoughts on the growing need and demand for a full communication system or integration between multiple apps, calendars and programs in your place of work?
The good, the bad and the ugly. I think everyone has their own stance on technology, what it means to them, their engagement with it and how it may be beneficial or detrimental at times.
In Superconnected, author states, “The pro side is I’m available, and that is the down side, also” (Chayko, 2008, p. 114).
Let’s just let that sink in . . .
The conflict will always exist. We agree to disagree, agree to feel in sync or follow course and disagree to share our own perspectives or to just be different from the rest. The introduction of technology and it’s integration of connectivity has led us, our world, and our interactions to become even greater than before the use of technology. Without technology, some of us may reap the benefits, form stronger connections, have interactions in which are more meaningful, however, the inclusion of technology enables individuals to gain greater insight into specific cognitive functions, motor abilities and can even assist with making deeper relationships or allowing those who are afraid to speak up the opportunity to offer input.
As the pros and cons can continue to be weighed. I still find myself loving technology and all of its capabilities, but there are instances in which I oftentimes wish I was not so easily connected to everyone. I don’t mean the latter in a harsh or cruel way, but working in the field of communications and marketing at my full time job the demand and upkeep is exhausting. My daily routine consists of back and forth communication, correspondence both formal and informal, impromptu meetings, interruptions and quick instances of contact which allow for me to have this sort of love/hate relationship with the use of technology and connectivity to others. However, on the flip side it’s convenient when you are the one in need of a response, answer or need to check in on an item and the affordance of sending a quick email, picking up the phone or glancing at a computer screen to locate one’s schedule are some of the perks to this resource.
Going further, the use of technology exists beyond the workplace and allows for one to stay connected with his or her personal circles. As I begin to ponder, this part of connectivity I do enjoy seeing my long lost high school friends, living miles and miles apart and being able to see what they are up to or check in with them. Additionally, Chayko notes the following when highlighting the use of social media, distractions and what’s commonly referred to as, ‘FOMO’ she states, “I feel like I need to check [my favorite sites] regularly or I’ll be left out” (Chayko 2008, p. 125).
F . O . M . O . (Fear Of Missing Out) – In a recent article by Psych Health, the contributor said this, “The grass always looks greener on the other side” (Langdon, 2018). Langdon notes, the common uses of social media and how one can often be seen in a different light or the notion that individuals highlight the positive aspects of what’s happening in their lives over the negative ones. While it’s great to reflect on the positives and to showcase the big life moments you may be undergoing, this style of posting may come across to your viewers as “gloating” or may illustrate an inaccurate glimpse of everything happening in your life at that time.
This whole idea of “FOMO” is one that’s been highly researched and allows for individuals to even take quizzes to see where they may fall on the FOMO scale. Here’s a quiz you may take to see where you fall on this scale.
Communicating with individuals, robots and machines are a part of some individual’s lives that live in first world countries. For some Americans, the use of communication has become so monotonous, streamline and assisted that it enables the user to become reliant on a machine, robot or personal assistant like device to handle the job or task.
With the use of communication the range of possibilities remained wide open. In this week’s reading from Mary Chayco’s book, SuperConnected: The Internet, Digital Media & Techno-Social Life, she states, ” Licklider described all kinds of possible uses for computerization, including digital libraries, e-commerce, and online banking, and he also envisioned a point-and-click system for using the computer” (Chayco, p. 19). The highly intuitive “world wide web” was breaking through ground as early as 1950, however some of us were not keen on how all of this would come together or perhaps had no idea this was beginning to set a precedent for the future of communication.
The use of robotics made its debut in the early 1950’s. Chayco said, “In 1954, American inventor George Devol laid the foundation for the field of robotics with the first digitally operated and programmed robot, named Unimate, which worked on a New Jersey assembly line” (Chayco, p. 19). More of this was in the works and Chayco furthers this concept with the following statement, “An extension of artificial intelligence, robots, guided by computer programs, would take on rote tasks that could be automated, but they would also, as we shall see, take on more complex tasks over time and become more lifelike” (Chayco, p.19). The use of robots was becoming centralized and congruent with the use of technology and communication.
But, let’s switch gears quickly . . .
As you may know, in the 21st century some of us have access to voice activated systems, such as Siri, Alexa, etc. and it sure does make life a little easier… well that’s what we like to believe right? As we learned about earlier and from Chayco the use of and integration of robots and robotic machines with human-like capabilities began it’s debut in the early 1950’s, but flipping ahead 60 years, users now have access to smaller voice-activated robotic like machines, similar to Alexa.
Amazon released a personal device for your home, business, and car or wherever you are to help provide you with assistance with your day-to-day lives. Alexa allows a user to ask just about anything and the virtual assistant will provide you with an answer.
The connection with other technology on the market!
As Alexa continues to gain popularity and newer technologies are released the compatibility of Alex and the new technology will need to continue to work in congruence. Earlier in the reading Chayco mentions how older technologies will work to become compatible with newer technologies or the newer technologies will integrate or become compatible for the older devices. Chayco said the following in response to this, “”Interestingly, as new technologies are invented, they do not necessarily supplant those that came before but are often used in combination with them, sometimes inspiring changes in how the existing technologies operate or are used (see Dunbar-Hester, 2014; Jenkins, 2006; Volti, 2014)” (Chayco, p.17). Even during the 1800’s communication and technology were setting the foundation for the future.
As we begin to forecast the future, what’s next or likely to be introduced in the form of technology and the use of communication it’s no surprise some of the hottest products out there are leading the way. Amazon’s Alexa is working on it’s own robot for the home as of April, 2018. It’s something that’s not ready it, but some companies have begun to introduce similar like devices and Amazon’s Alex recently expanded it’s capabilities to include it’s own “skills.” The skills are referred to as commands that are synced with other technology-advanced devices around your home that enable “smart-like” features to communicate and cooperate alongside the virtual assistant, Alexa.
Blogging – A platform used in today’s world to offer one’s opinion, recommendation or share information to a tailored audience. In Press ‘Publish’: Start an Academic Blog, Mann (2015) refers to a blog as, “The contracted form of weblog, a website made up of ongoing entries, usually called posts, that are published in reverse chronological order (i.e., the most recent entry appears first, at the ‘top’ of the page, and so on)” (Mann, 2015).
The very first time I was introduced to blogging was through Pinterest. One day, I was pinning away on all the accessories, designer apparel, outfits, latest fashion trends and just about anything that related to luxurious homes including curb appeal, dreamy master bathrooms, kitchens, and the extravagant necessities one could only dream of having. It was on this pin, right here, where I was brought to a blog… As the pin loaded, I stopped and almost shut my computer. But, I became so intrigued by what was loading that I anticipated what was to come.
I thought to myself, “Wow,” I could do something like this myself, but perhaps what would I write about? The question stumped me so much that I began researching like crazy all the different topics I could write about. One blog led me to the next blog and the next and so forth. Finally, I took away one recurring theme in each of the blogs and research I compiled online which was to find a specific topic to write about. The blogging industry was becoming so popular that one was advised to write on something very specific to attract, entertain and retain a certain audience. The next piece of advice often given was to write on something that interests you.
That’s it.. I wrote down a few items I was heavily interested in and this is the last I came up with:
- Designing Apparel
- Hair Styles
- The Latest Industry Trends
- What’s in Season and what’s not
- Yes, I understand this is painful and boring, but as soon as I found a food related link contributing to my dry-skin outbreaks. I wanted to inform, help and guide other individuals on my experience.
- I couldn’t believe that certain “foods” were linked to my skin outbreak and that I consumed a vast amount of my free time researching skin care products, best practices and reading about other’s experiences, cures, and triggers which caused or help eliminate eczema.
- Yes, I understand this is painful and boring, but as soon as I found a food related link contributing to my dry-skin outbreaks. I wanted to inform, help and guide other individuals on my experience.
Now, it was time to write. (Yikes!)
- I could not come up with words, sentences, phrases or images/videos I wanted to include or expand upon for any of the above topics.. I felt a sort of shift in my interest level and motivation to write a blog altogether.
The blog – Well, the blog did begin, but it was for an undergraduate course during my time at UW-Madison. As I began to build my own personal website part of this site included a blog where others could read about my personal background, experiences and areas of interests. Essentially, it was another resource for hiring companies and professionals to get a better feel about the type of person I was and how I could fit into their culture and organization.
- Reflecting on this (above) I noticed Mann (2015) talked about professional development and career advancement as reason 4 of 5 to begin an academic blog. While at the time I curated this blog, I wasn’t sure how much help or assistance it would ultimately provide me; I’m beginning to see the advantages of presenting a potential employer with more than just a resume… Mann addresses the benefits of creating a blog for this reason by stating, “A well-done academic blog can be a nice feature on a CV” (Mann, 2015). As I began to generate more content to add on this blog, I focused more on the clarity of the content and specific topic to highlight versus just writing to write! Additionally, Mann talks about his experience being awarded a scholarship by keening into the topic of making scholarship available to a wider audience (open access) and with the creation of his own website, ultimately he could illustrate what he was highlighting (Mann, 2015).
- Y U P !
- Mann is spot on. For me, as I created my own website I used the website domain in my graduate school application, resume and various other job sites to showcase my own capabilities, reference my work and highlight other interests that were outside of the job scope.
- Y U P !
I guess that’s all for now, but there will be more to come with this course and another try at creating an academic blog with all of you.
Mann, Joshua. (2013, July 25). Press ‘Publish’: Start an Academic Blog [Blog post].