Author Archives: robyngotch

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.


What Will You Share Online?

Privacy has and I venture always will be a hot topic when dealing with the internet. If you are a Facebook fan, do you recall a recent post being circulated that indicated to look at the address bar while in Facebook? You were to determine whether your present location prefix was http or https.  The (s) at the end of http in the URL indicates the information shared is being done so via secure settings.  But, how many people really look for this and/or that telltale closed padlock that could also exist on the lower right of their browser? is more trusted than a bank

I want to share with you an actual conversation that occurred in my Chiropractor’s office the other day.  I had my IPad out as usual while waiting and this usually creates a few questions. The conversation moved on to internet access and how people use the internet. The receptionist, who is approximately 60 years of age, made the statement that she doesn’t understand how anyone could use internet banking. To do financial transactions online is just too risky.  I asked her if she ever purchased anything online, and she responded that she did. She even added that the sites she goes to she “knows” are safe.  I asked her how she knows and she responded “I trust the companies”.

As we continued talking, I told her that I felt that the bank was much safer to deal with online because of a variety of issues:

  • The banks are regulated and are mandated to make sure through multiple different strategies that our transactions are safe
  • The banks already use the internet to do transactions themselves whether we partake or not
  •  Banks have a larger stake in our safety than does any other random vendor online

What creates trust on the internet?

The interesting issue here is that even armed with this knowledge, she was not convinced that her bank was at least as safe as Amazon.  I wonder if this has to do with the advertising and global presence of companies like this as opposed to the businesslike demeanor of her local bank.  Or maybe it is the locality that used to instill trust, but now when it is coupled with the World Wide Web, presents an image of distrust – or, at least incompetence with new technology.

So now I begin to wonder.  I know many people who blurt out on Facebook personal information, when they will be out of town and the like, but are oblivious to the securities on the site. I also know many of these same people who will not utilize their bank’s online features because they are unsafe.  They have been using Facebook for 3 years but have been with their bank for 20.  What is up with this?  In addition, they will click randomly on links that cause malicious events on their computer (could even be installing keyloggers) then trot on down to or TigerDirect to make a purchase.

 I am not saying that these websites are not secure – I use them myself. I just do not understand the rational as to what is secure and what is not. And once again, I have posted more questions than answers!!

 In weeks past, we have discussed many elements of social interaction on the internet and one of these may, indeed be an indicator as to why people trust on the internet the way they do.  Facebook comes up again as a huge meeting place for people on the internet. People trust people.  When a person visits a social site each day or even each week and see others in their group trusting online businesses, they are much more likely to trust them also. In addition, just the presence of these businesses as advertisements on the social networking page can add to that trust factor.  Does the local bank advertise online? Probably not.

Image References:

Technical Communication for Emerging Media – Global Edition

Both the readings by Spilka and Ishii were eye-opening to me and went quite far to validate the fact that we see the world through our own eyes.  Up until this time, I had been considering emerging media in general as an American artifact, when there is no question this has to be taken as a global event.

This is not to say that each country or culture has an obscure view of media relations. In fact, there are many similarities. Ishii’s references to Japanese youth when she says “there has been a trend for young people to create their own unique subcultures in which they communicate predominately through SMS…” (Ishii, p 346) is a compelling likeness to what has been happening in the United States during the same timeframe.  What is different, as she indicated through research findings, is that Japanese young people are more introverted and this leads to a greater tendency to use text messages over face-to-face conversations or even telephone.

These global differences continue on in Spilka’s writings. These references to the ways that other countries conduct business hit very close to home for me.  I work for a company, Energy Control Systems, which has both a National and International presence. The international side includes a few salespeople in countries such as Asia, South America, Central America, Mexico, South Africa and others.  Their main product is Sinetamer, a line of surge suppression equipment that is quite useful in these countries. The main impetus to our overseas sales; however, is the owner of our company.  I always thought that he traveled 75% of the time because he liked it. Now I realize that there is more to it than that.  Without his ability to meet face-to-face with contacts in these countries, we would have a lot less international business.  I now have a much better picture of not only what my company does, but of my own responsibilities when I have opportunities to sell overseas.

It seems that culture is a much bigger issue today, than language is.  When I was just out of High School, the biggest issues for college admittance was having so many credits of a foreign language. Today, most colleges no longer have these requirements. It makes me think that culture is, indeed, a more prevalent issue.  It is interesting how my thoughts keep coming back to culture.


Social Media and Aps

Please bear with me as I post this. I am using a WordPress ap on my IPad and unfortunately it is a bit clunky. Over the last week, I have tried to find a way to view more than only my own posts, but alas I have yet to figure that out. So far, this ap only allows me to see and edit my own posts. It seems to be an interface for posting alone.

To this end, it is quite elementary at best for even posting, but I am tenacious – I will see how this works out.

As my topic suggests, this is about more than just WordPress. Tonight, as I was checking out some Twitter posts, I came across a tweet that did more for me than any other since I started stalking the Twitterverse.

The above link is a must-see for any aspiring Twitter-er? Tweetster? Oh heck, you get the picture. Unfortunately, his reference to an IPad ap (TweetDeck) is a bit premature – there is only a workable ap for the iphone. But, never fear, I plan on testing it out on my laptop.

Oh yea, I suppose I need to take a picture to test this ap and post it here. Let me see if there is a photo option….. alas there is not, but that is all the better because I look like hell right now.

Wait, I found it – here is a picture of my puppy, Spaz. She is sitting here waiting to watch the #DWTS result show – OOPS, I mean Dancing with the Stars.


Well, for some reason,I am having trouble now seeing what I type because the program will not scroll. In the end, I think this ap needs a bit of work!

One last thing, are we allowed to link our posts here to twitter if we want to share them?

Electronic Cultures

 As I contemplate the concept of culture, more specifically cultures in an electronic sense, I find that there are some elements that do not necessarily jibe with main-stream cultural ideas. Online or electronic cultures seem to be a bit more malleable. The members of these cultural communities tend to fade in and out and change much more easily than members of a culture rooted in long-term traditions.  As I thought about this, it seems to me that the reasons could be attributed to the internet itself. As a medium of expression and communication, the internet is a virtual (no pun intended) infant. If this is the case, then how can a culture even exist? Wouldn’t you consider a culture to be something of a more static and solid nature?  Because the traditional connotation of culture conjures images of generations of members who have developed traditions and morals over a period of time, how can the internet produce cultures of its own in such a short period of time?

I would venture to say that the internet has not produced culture.

Culture has been uncovered and nurtured through this device; however, the internet is just this – a portal to view people through and bring them together.  Because you can boot up, log in and figuratively “step through” the portal to a new land, a room full of friends or even the halls of an institution, I see the internet not as the culture, but as a venue for people of similar interests to come together and be recognized.

I have belonged to many cultural societies over the course of my time perusing the internet. What I find interesting is that these societies are not new to my being; they are merely doorways that I step through to do something that I am already inclined to be a part of. I play games (World of Warcraft, Asheron’s Call and others), go to school, and talk about family and other interests that are mere extensions of me, not new me’s.  This is what I mean: The internet did not make me play games; I already played similar games with my family on Nintendo. The internet did not make me learn to cook, sew, bead or do other crafts – it was merely a tool to help me learn.  I could have gotten a book or asked someone or joined a local club for this type of support.  The internet did not make me go to UW Stout; I could have gone to the University in person if I had to.  Facebook was not necessarily for me to speak to my family and friends. If these activities create what someone would call a new culture, then I believe the term needs to be re-thought.

Bernadette Longo makes some great references to online communities in her article: Human + Machine Culture.  Here she refers to the differences between the way non-electronic communities and the universal community that can occur online.  I believe that her reference to the impossibility of a universal community is something I very much agree with. In mainstream communities, there are those that are included and others that are left out.  While this may seem to happen online, (maybe through a facebook page that friends and unfriends), this is but a small aspect of the larger whole.  But what I think is more interesting than this is the commitment that is lacking online. People hope from site to site, and literally take a bit from here and a bit from there but really do not have to commit to anything on the internet. Yes, in our courses we are making commitments; however, can the instructor really holler to you as you leave class and hold you back?  Even an email request can go ignored and later some electronic glitch of an excuse can be noted.

This is actually a first post this week.  As I was reading about culture in Spilka, I just could not resist “sounding off” about the concept of culture.  I also want to post about  LinkedIn as well because this is an amazing resource that I am still getting used to. One of the questions I want to ask is: Should I pay for the full service?

We Gain Nothing If We Lose Our Humanity By Utilizing Technology.

The Rise and Fall of a Company

The evolution from dependence on IT to an overflow of unemployed IT professionals (along with the rest of the company) is something I can relate to.  The company my husband used to work for grew at an astounding rate in the 90’s. In fact, they would hire 20-30 temps each week and as long as they worked out, by end of 30 days, they would be on the permanent payroll. Here is a picture of how fast this company grew: (numbers are estimated)

They needed an entire infrastructure to link the hundreds of employees that worked full time in house as well as programming to handle sales, service and manufacturing. The IT professional was GOD!

The company began their rise to fame, so to speak, with a modest 12 employees, and as you can see by the general timetable above, they were gobbled up and thrown to the wind with little effort.  Six months after this company was bought out, there were 100 scattered employees who were systematically absorbed or let go. The facility is now a ghost town. What used to be miles of corridors marked like streets of a small town is now a molding mess of stagnant air. Because this all occurred in a very small town, the implications for the residents were amazing.

This  company was a pioneer in a field that was very technical and highly in demand, their own need for technology was tremendous. During their hay day, there was an army of IT professionals, miles of coax cable which was then replaced by Cat5 cables connecting a network of computers. An intranet for the entire company with submissions by the departments and a large security force was in evidence.

That was then – This is now

So, why did this company sell out?  There are many thoughts on the subject, but one of them is that the owners were old-school and could not understand the value of the internet. After their rocket rise, they began to falter and lose ground in the industry. They felt that their level of technology should be enough and to spend more on IT functions was frivolous – they were very wrong.

What they were not wrong about is the time it takes to take good care of the customer.  When the new company took over, there was no question that the concern was for the bottom line.  Special programs were designed to track time on call or bring about data to analyze the total amount of cost per intervention on average.  The same technology that was supposed to make life easier for the employee and customer was now being used to squeeze every moment out of every day and pack as much profit into every second. 

As our reading “A Sea Change in Enterprise IT” illustrates (AIIM P. 5), there is a definite evolution of content and I am not sure it is totally for the good.

What I don’t get

I understand that our technology is changing so fast that it is difficult for the professionals to keep up, much less the business people who will be using it.  I also understand that profits, especially in these economic times, are a high concern for businesses.

What I do not understand is how companies can utilize more technology to cut out the personal touch that customer service used to provide, but then use our personal social networking interactions to get into our pockets.  This seems to be like burning a candle at both ends.

I do not agree with the AIIM white paper when it claims that B2C will “use social media to extend and IMPROVE customer service” (AIIM p. 8).  Customer service SUCKS in our country and further automization will only erode what little confidence we have in customer service centers. I do not understand how talking to a computer will be any better than talking to someone who hardly speaks English. 

We definitely need to foster advancements, but I fear that we are replacing humanity with technology all too much.


Is it time for a Different Social Network?

Is it time for Twitter, is it time for a different  Social Network?

I am not old – I am busy! 
This is my excuse for not utilizing Twitter up until this semester. Of course, when I realized what the content of this particular course would be like, it became apparent that the only way to really understand this phenomenon was to experience it firsthand.

Because the majority of my experience lately is with Facebook, I just assumed that there would be similarities – there are not.  Dave Clark, in his article:  Shaped and Shaping Tools presented me with a much different perspective of Twitter.  When he described his frustration with a program, subsequent Tweet and then an answer from a perfect stranger, it became apparent to me that, unlike Facebook, what we say and do on Twitter reaches the world.

So far, I have found some very interesting Twitter feeds to follow including Mashable, Lifehacker others specifically relating to our school and my own personal interests.  Mashable is purported to be the largest independent online news site and caters to social media. Lifehacker is such an interesting feed and so far. I have seen everything from holiday decorating ideas to feeds about our cyber lifestyles.

This brings to mind our conversations regarding social networking. Because there is not only a possibility, but a probability to meet new people daily through Twitter, I find that this is, indeed a social networking activity.  Not only that, it is much more organized than I ever imagined. My initial impression was that this was a random, willy nilly type of activity where people posted randomly everything from where they were and what they were doing. It is much more than this.  The quality of information available via links and searchable content make this a very powerful resource.

Of course, you will note that what I mostly took away from Clark’s work was his introduction. As he continued on in his writings and the concepts got thicker and thicker, I found that it was increasingly difficult to maintain focus. This is not to say that his concepts and information is not valid and worth study.  I just find a more direct and lest scholarly approach easier to digest.

This being said, Qualman’s readings are much easier to assimilate and compare to real-life situations. His references to the power of social networking are such amazing information. I equate his references to the proverbial drop of water in a bucket. My one purchase may not really mean much on its own, but couple that with the purchases of my friends and their friends and everyone that I am a fan of on Twitter and our bucket is overflowing.

Social Networking on Blogs by Penny C. Sansevieri CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is an amazing reference to the power of blogs and their place in the land of social networking.  Penny states in her blog post that

“Commenting on blogs posts is a sort of social networking, even better in fact because blog posts and their associated comments are searchable.”

Just like Twitter, we are able to search blog posts for pertinent information and use this information however we desire.  While Penny’s post relates to the trials of getting a publication noticed, it is a powerful statement about the uses and abuses of blogging.

After going through this week’s readings and paying a bit closer attention to both Twitter and blogs posted on the net, I am coming to feel the immense power of social networking. I am also becoming very disillusioned with Facebook. I am starting to yearn more for interesting concepts and tire of daily drama.  Does this make me a bad person? I am curious – how do you answer the following?

All Restaurants Are Taco Bell (language)

Ok, so I was so tired tonight –  hard day at work. To relax, I grabbed my Ipad, pressed the icon for Netflix and started watching the first fun, sci-fi movie that I saw: Demolition Man (1993).  The movie had not gone very far when I realized the number of references to elements that are in our Turkle readings.

When I think of the “reduction in meaning” that is referenced by Turkle, I think of a lack of intimacy and even a dehumanizing factor that occurs when using technology.  This movie was absolutely packed full of references to just this.  Here are a few:

  • The dispatcher answers a call and says something like: “911 – if you would like to speak to a recording, press 1 now”.  DAMN!
  • People die and the squad room is shocked, sort of. Moments later when a conveyance is located through technology, everyone is elated and cheers. The deaths are all but forgotten.
  • The Compu-Chat program takes on a human personality and is deferred to as such. Even to go so far as to have an upset individual go to the computer for guidance.
  • The human police officers utilize a computer to walk them, step-by-step, through a narrative in order to act human.
  • The only person (Simon Phoenix), who can master technology can control it. All others are helpless.

Here we have a movie going on 20 years old that is addressing issues that concern us today.  Of course, I am not saying that all restaurants will one day be Taco Bell, but I am saying that to a degree, we are all concerned with technology dehumanizing us.

Customer Centered – Not Corporate Centered

In with the old –In with the new!

I consider myself a pretty computer-savvy and up to date kind of gal; however, right out of the box, many of the concepts that R. Stanley Dicks presented refreshed my thinking. Ok, I was not surprised to find out that “Today, a majority of technical communicators are women…” (Spilka, 51).  What was a wakeup call was the concept that our industry is not only about the here and now – it encompasses generations of techniques and information.


This should not have come as a surprise to me because in my own present industry, we have UPS (uninterruptible power systems) units in the field that were manufactured in the 80’s and earlier. In order to provide technical assistance, we have to utilize old manuals. Sometimes, it is necessary to recap these dusty tomes or adjust our present technology to work on these older units. One example is the ports they provide. A technician can easily communicate with a newer unit via the communications card; however, an older unit used a serial port. As many of you know, serial ports are no more standard today on a laptop than a 3 ½ inch floppy drive. This creates an element of transition and clarification when dealing with these older systems.

Present your greater worth or prepare to be outsourced!

Here is a concept that sends shivers up my spine.  Then again, I suppose there are levels and levels of justification to contend with here. A company that does not make a profit cannot afford to hire and if outsourcing menial tasks keeps the boat afloat, then so be it.  I know that many charge ahead with “buy American!” I agree with this sentiment; however, I am
also a realist and what is real to me is that we live in a global world, not just a local neighborhood. We no longer compete with only the talented individuals in our home town. We now compete with people all over the country and world!

It hit home with me when the book’s discussion centered on a post industrialist society and referred to technical communicators of old as “word smiths” (Spilka 54).  This scenario is
nothing new to our society. There was a time when a person graduated high school (or most often not), went to the factory and worked there as unskilled labor for 40 years until they retired with a pension. These jobs have also been mostly outsourced – it is time for America to work smarter!


As many of you know, I work for a company as a Technical Sales Specialist. What is this? It is not simply a salesperson. In order to protect my job, I need to bring many skills to the table while at the same time helping to keep down costs.  I do this by providing the following:

  • Work from home which saves over $600 per month in office expense alone
  • Maintain my own records, do my own calls and provide sales and service to my customers as:
    • Main contact
    • Dispatcher for Technicians
    • Quoting units, services, batteries, parts and other for a variety of manufacturers
    • Provide pricing, availability and freight along with tracking information for orders
    • Maintain a database of technical documentation that can be distributed at need
    • Handle technical calls when they arise, and whenever possible at all hours

Customer Centered

There are other benefits that I provide as well, but in the end it is all about planned job security.  I know that I cannot just sit back and do the minimum – this will flag me for replacement.

As is exemplified in the model by Zuboff and Maxim, I have already placed my customer at the center of my universe – I am ahead of the game.  As a matter of fact, I would consider my
model to be one of Customer-Centered, not Corporation-Centered.

Expand Your Drama Universe or Make a Real Impact on the Virtual Plane

Good news and bad news.

First the bad news:

At the very start of Qualman’s 1st chapter, I was a bit annoyed.  It goes without saying that Qualman will be “Pro-Social Network” – I get that. But what aggravated me was the wholesale way he touts goodness for all through social media.  Personally, I think that there is as much crap coming out of social media as there is goodness and light.

I am speaking from personal experience. I began with a Facebook page, added only my family and some friends, closed off my access to just those that are friends, and ended up deleting about ¼ of the people on my list.  A good majority of these were family.  These are the reasons:

  • Games, games and more games being posted at all hours of the day and night (yes I would select not to show, but then some new  game would come out and I would be back at it again) Farmville, Fishworld, Cafe’ World, Gardens of Time, The Smurfs & Co. – you name it!
  • Profanity – while I can swear like a drunken sailor driving a truck with a broken foot, I don’t need to read it over and
    over by people not old enough to drive
  • D R A M A! “I am so mad at the %$ing )*$(%) and  you know who you are” (I don’t care)
  • REPOST this if you think Facebook will charge next month, if you are wearing pink underwear or if you mom is a real %*(%$

Qualman states “The younger the generation, the less concerned they are about privacy” (Qualman, 2). He sure has that right!  Does TMI mean anything to these people?

I understand that by keeping in touch we can get that perfect recipe ingredient, know how to decorate a bicycle and find out the most intimate detail about the neighbor, but this really doesn’t always save us time. What it does is sanitize our interactions and makes us a little less human. (personal opinion folks).

In a perfect world, the social networking scenario would be responsible and productive – but most humans are just not built that way.  Too many of them use these venues to expand their Drama Universe.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying that all social networking is the devil – far from it!  I am saying that reality needs to be brought into the room, and not simply checked at the door.

Now the Good News!

I have stared at a blank word document on many occasions trying to figure out how people write and post on the internet and then ultimately become known for what they have to say.  Sitting here, it seemed to me that by posting to my blog that has no followers or to my twitter account which as 2 followers, there is no way I can speak to the world.

But Qualman enlightened me to the “and she told two friends” concept of social networking. Now I can see how my little blog post, which I post to my facebook page and twitter about can be “liked” by someone, reposted and eventually reach someone I never, ever knew.  This is powerful stuff!

**NOTE: While I begin posting today quite harshly, please do not take that as an indication that I feel Qualman does not know his stuff. I merely tend to disagree with someone who says that the top and bottom of my shoe will remain equally clean no matter where I will tread.

Social Media Manager – could be your next title

Lately, I have been trying to check in with the various
social networking sites that I am affiliated. When I stopped by LinkedIn to
update my title at work, I came across this interesting article. It should come
as no surprise today to know that being a beer-loving Facebook diva can earn a
decent living.,0,6158114.story

This fact alone shows the impact of social media on our

The number of social media-related jobs on Monster has surged 75%
over the last year, O'Reilly said. About 155 positions are available a month,
up from an average of 88 a month a year ago.

At first, I thought that the position and the article in
general would be a bit of fluff; however, they are darn serious! To think that
someone is actually monitoring Twitter and Facebook for information about users
that “like” products and services puts an entirely new spin on how I see social

Just what is Social Networking, and can we learn about society by studying this phenomenon?

Reading Response:

Just by looking at the titles to read, it is plain that the beginning of our blogging starts at – the beginning. While this may seem simplistic to some, it is a vital art of setting the stage for the articles that lay ahead. As communicators, it is always a great idea to lay everything out so that we are all on the same page.

My reference above to laying everything out was definitely confirmed when I began to read Boyd’s definitions.  More specifically, I always wondered about the term “social networking” it almost gave me the impression of working to socialize with people you do not know.  I always felt that this was not an apt identifier for blogs, Facebook and the like because as we know, these sites are most often utilized between people that already know one another. Our text agrees when it says “…instead, they are primarily communicating with people who are already a part of their extended social network” (Boyd, 2).

The site that most accurately fits this description for me is LinkedIn. Here I have not only linked to others in my own industry, I have made connections to people that I have yet to meet.

Early Development:

It was quite refreshing to see how many references there were to the actual development of Social Networking. The internet itself did not develop into this full-blown entity over night, and neither did sites like Facebook.


The references made to the fact that “…servers and databases were ill-equipped to handle its rapid growth…” (Boyd, 6), are so accurate. I remember early internet usage being so frustrating due to the hardware issues at many different sites not to mention providers themselves.  But, we didn’t know any better and most often took it with a grain of salt.  If these same issues would happen today – it would get quite ugly.

Networks and Network Structure:

I have to say that the most interesting section for me was in the Boyd paper under Networks and Network Structure. At the very outset when the author states: “Social network sites also provide rich sources of naturalistic behavioral data” (Boyd, 10), I got a glimpse of some of the ways automatically collected data could produce interesting sets of information.  What concerns me about this data is its credibility. Can we really rely on this information when the people providing it are hidden from our view and used to putting on a show? Or, is it the show that provides for the best data?

On this note, I found an amazing video featuring Jon Kleinberg, the Tisch University Professor in Cornell’s Department of Computer Science. This speech was recorded on July 20, 2011 so has a great deal of relevance and immediacy.

In this 1 hour 22 minute video: What can Facebook, Amazon and Google teach us about society and about ourselves? Jon provides insights not about what the “answer” to the question is, but to how to think about the question to obtain answers.

On a Personal Note:

My first experience with a social networking site was MySpace and I only became interested in it because I was monitoring what our teenage children were doing on the Internet. Prior to this, the other social experience was with Microsoft’s chat rooms and online games.  I was what was considered a “sysop” for the
community along with my husband.  We were empowered with special tools throughout the system. Our job was to monitor openly and in a hidden mode, the gaming chat rooms to be sure that codes of conduct were followed. Our toolset allowed us to gag, kick and ban people from these rooms.

In addition to the job at hand, I also spent a great deal of time “training” other sysops.  This entire structure fell apart as the internet grew more sophisticated. Eventually (not unlike the Musketeers) our ranks were disbanded and technology took over.

This was an early trial and error attempt at social networking. I can only look at where we are now, and wonder where we will be tomorrow.

Robin Gotch – First Post (let’s hope I don’t delete it!) – EDITED 9/21/2011

I had a blog – and I deleted its contents.  I wrote some really cool stuff – but then reconsidered.  I still think what I wrote was good, but realize that more thought and planning is necessary before I jump into the fray. Being a very honest person, the sort of person that you best not ask the question if you are afraid of the answer,  I tend speak my mind and have a very strong personality.

I also want to be hired to write or teach some day!

So, should I blog?  And if I do, should I set limits or should I go “balls to the walls” as is my want and do this thing up right? As you can see, I usually have many more questions than answers – so, should I blog about what and who I am or what confuses me?

In the end, I think the most important thing I need to do is learn. I need to learn about what blogging is, what types of blogs are out there and where I fit in, if anywhere.

Thoughts on the Readings:

There is no question that my own, personal feelings on blogging were quite inaccurate. This is exemplified by my comments above. I was under the assumption that the only good blog was one that dealt with politics or other intense issues. Silly me, blogging is for everyone! In fact, blogging is akin many other internet activities. It provides a cultural release nothing short of a shared online diary for many people. How many people this is shared with is a matter of personal preference. At the very beginning of the article, Why We Blog, it is evident that there is no one reason that people take pen to paper – er – fingers to keyboard, and document what is itching to be told.

I also found it appropriate that blogs are typically found by other blogs. This makes sense to me. I was so unfamiliar with blogs primarily because I was not active in the blogging community. What hit home for me was the statement “Bloggers sometimes poured out their feelings or ideas and sometimes struggled to find something to say.”  This sums up my reticence in a nutshell. Do I dare pour out my feelings? And what if I don’t feel like writing for a time?

Getting back to the concept of how to find a blog, I did a random search in Google for “blogs about horses”. Low and behold there is a site:

DOH! Now, this may not be the exact blog site I want to follow, it sure showed me how far my head was stuck in the … sand.