Blog Archives

So Long, Farewell!

Hello, fellow communicators!

For my final paper, I covered various best practices for content management. My abstract is as follows:

Content management is a sophisticated process comprised of various components. Such components include writing/editing, image implementation, page analytics, user feedback, and information sharing (Rdymek). Accordingly, an organized system must be implemented for creating and maintaining content through consistent action. This type of system is referred to as a content management strategy.

Within an organization, ideally, content management is handled by a multi-person team. However, for the purposes of this paper, we will explore content management as handled by an individual content manager.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with and getting to know each and every one of you throughout this semester. I truly enjoyed this course, through which I’ve gained and developed knowledge and skills that will suit me throughout my career in communications.

Please feel free to stay in touch via social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/delwij74

Twitter: @TheBarrelMan

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jeffreyjdelwiche

Google+: plus.google.com/+JeffreyJDelwiche

Email: jdelwiche12@alumni.uwosh.edu

Please note that I am always happy to write LinkedIn recommendations for my fellow classmates. For those unfamiliar with the process, a LinkedIn recommendation can be displayed on your LinkedIn page for current/prospective employers to see. Please let me know if you would like me to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you.

Best fishes!

Best Fishes

Sincerely,

Jeffrey J. Delwiche

Always Open for Business

In chapter 9 of Mary Chayco’s book SuperConntected: The Internet, Digital Media, & Techno-Social Life, the author discusses the subject of “constant availability” with regard to digital and social media connectedness.  Chayco says, “People who live in tech-intensive societies can come to truly depend not just on digital technologies, but on the convenience they afford” (p.183).  She quotes an interviewee of hers that said, “The pro-side is I’m available, and that is the downside, also” (p. 183).

Fortunately, and unfortunately, this rings true for an online, social media based business as well.  If I need to contact a local store, someone at the post office, or even a restaurant, I have to wait until they are open again for business.  For instance, yesterday (a Saturday), I visited my son and found that the cat he recently adopted from the Humane Society is having some sneezing.  Of course, I wanted him to take her to our veterinarian for a check-up.  Unfortunately, the vet we use does not open again until Monday morning.  Considering that sneezing is not a medical emergency, there was no warranted reason for him to take her to a special 24-hour Emergency Vet Clinic.  So, alas, we will call on Monday.

My online business operates much differently.  One might say, I am always open – even though my hours are clearly posted on my website.

Screenshot (89)

Image from: Rebecca Snyder, Vantel Pearls Silver Leader Facebook business page.

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Image from Vectorstock.com

My posted hours do not stop customers from messaging my business page AND my personal page all hours of the day, every day of the week.  …And, I am guilty of doing the same.

My son and I decided we wanted to get similar tattoos recently.  We knew that the tattoo shop was closed at 2am when we were discussing this idea, but that did not stop me from contacting the shop that came most highly recommended (by my local Facebook friends) via private message (yes, at 2am) and asking about availability for the next day.  To my surprise, the reply came almost instantly with the tattoo artist who was available to do our artwork and what time we should plan to show up as walk-ins.  And, when we showed up that next morning, the owner remembered our message and got us right in for our tattoos.

 

 

As users of  24/7 social media, where do we draw the line?  Or better yet, are most even aware that they could be crossing a line?  An argument can be made that, anyone who does not want to be contacted outside of business hours can simply ignore the messages until they are back “in the office.”  However, as simple as that seems, Facebook has made it complicated to ignore a message.  It dings, it sits in the notifications and haunts us with that little red number at the top of the app letting us know that we have UNREAD MESSAGES, and, if that isn’t enough, Facebook also shows our customers that we have read the message by having our little profile picture circle move down the message thread.  No denying we received it – or even what time we read it!  Thanks Facebook!

 

I suppose the worst that could happen is that I lose a customer for not responding quickly enough to a message she may feel is urgent enough to send at 2 am.  For some businesses, that probably would not matter as they have many customers and many more to come.  In my smaller customer base (around 400 buyers total), it takes each one to make this work for me.  So, I truly can’t afford to lose even one customer – and I find myself jumping through hoops and answering messages as quickly as I receive them, even if that is in the middle of the night.  Chayco speaks to this and suggest perhaps it is not the fault of digital technology.  She says, “Keeping up with a flood of stimuli and information can be challenging and burdensome.  Tasks may start to snowball;  people can feel they need to work and/or be digitally connected day and night, lest they fall behind the curve…but…these stresses are not caused by digital technology us.  In fact some of these stresses are simply the ‘cost of caring'” (p. 191).

 

 

What’s the limit? Limiting computer, internet, & email at work

Due to technical nature of technical communication (I know, big surprise!) we, as professionals, must address ethics and how they’re related to technology.  Clearly, ethical concerns arise in any field of work, but they relate to technical communication differently than other areas.

 

 

I think many of us who currently work for any (type of) company that requires the use of computers, the internet, and/or email, have had to sign an “acceptable use,” “internet use,” or “email use” agreement.  (If not, stay tuned.  I’m sure one will be coming to you soon enough.)  Acceptable use policies are becoming more common, as employers are limiting what employees can and cannot access at work and protecting themselves in case of the possible reprimand of an employee.  The reason employers have to limit the use of the internet is that the internet is everywhere.  Compare surfing the internet to watching a TV show.  What do these activities have in common?  Both are entertaining activities that you can partake in at home.  What’s different?  You can surf the internet at work, but you cannot watch TV at work (unless it’s part of your job, obviously.  However, I don’t think most of use sit around with a TV readily available at work).  Engaging in internet use is something people can do anywhere and, as a result, companies have created policies so their employees know the expectations of acceptable use of computers and the internet.  Although Katz and Rhodes seem to abandon the idea of limiting employees’ use of the internet and email, I think this is a fair ethical standard as long as the policy is consistent, clearly stated, and frequently mentioned.  I work as a teacher for a large school district and the acceptable use policy in my school district is stricter than strict, but the Human Resources department does a good job of communicating expectations to employees.  My school has signs posted in every area used predominantly by teachers informing us that they are monitoring us via email, internet, and video surveillance.  Furthermore, the Director of Human Resources sends out periodic emails informing employees that they will subject to investigation for inappropriate email and internet use.  I know of teachers who would probably engage in inappropriate technology use if they weren’t so fearful of being investigated.  However, the Director has definitely scared most of us enough to leave our personal business at home.

Katz and Rhodes discuss the idea that many companies expect employees to use email for “neutral” purposes, or messages that do not contain any incriminating information.  Is it possible to separate an employee’s necessary work from the internet?  What if employers only allowed employees to communicate with coworkers in a “neutral” way when talking f2f, too?  I don’t think limiting the way employees interact with one another through email is a fair ethical standard in the workplace.  As a teacher, I am explicitly told not to communicate with the parents of students in any that they would consider questionable.  If I need to contact a parent about grades or behavior, the administrators at my school encourage teachers to contact the parent by telephone because, unless the parent records the conversation, it cannot be used against the teacher later.  Due to the number of schools and teachers getting sued, this is what email communication as a teacher has boiled down to.  I think society has taken a turn for the worst in this regard.  I don’t think teachers should be fearful of backlash based on their communication via the internet, especially when the communication is work-related (about their child).  Sadly, I have to edit myself when emailing parents and usually just step away from my computer and pick up the phone.  I don’t mind calling parents, but I think I should be able to email them if I want to.  In my opinion, I should not have to worry about the details of an email message when communicating with my students’ parents, but with lawsuits and teacher investigations, that is what teachers of today must consider.

In technical communication, and in every area of work that uses email, the internet, and computers, we must consider ethical issues.  In the future, I would like to see the standards change.  I think that some limitations on computer, internet, and email use is acceptable to some degree, but I think trust in a competent employee can be much more powerful than constantly monitoring every aspect of an employee’s work life.