Category Archives: Reflections

With what I know now…


I mused last week about what it would be like to relive my college days with my present day mind.  While I had a great time in college, I’m pretty sure I missed a lot of opportunities to simply enjoy my stage in life because I was naive.  As the phrase goes, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

I’m 40 now … that’s not terribly old in the grand scheme of things, but it’s old enough that I’ve developed a tiny bit of perspective.  Most of this perspective is about which things and people I should care about and whether or not I should beat myself up over certain things (the answer to the latter is that I should not beat myself up at all).

So if I were to relive the glory days, the first thing I would do is to appreciate the time and youth that I had.  Seriously, college was the time of maximum freedom with minimum responsibility.  Not everyone is this way, but I certainly contained myself too often trying to be the person I thought other people wanted me to be.  If I were to relive those days, I’d also take time to enjoy the time I had with people I loved and things I loved doing.  The cliched response to the possibility of going back would be to live more debaucherously, but honestly, that’s not my thing.  I may party or play a bit more, but nothing crazy.  The real thing is to enjoy it … because it’s gone too soon and too fast.  I suppose lastly that I’d invest a bit more in my health and weight (I’m a fatty-boom-ba-latty now), so I wouldn’t have as large of an uphill battle now that I’m both older and fat.

All this being said, that made me think … in 20 years, what would I say about reliving my 40s?  What wisdom would I want to give my younger self?  I think, perhaps, that some of the lessons would be the same:

Stop trying to be the person you think other people want you to be,

Take time to enjoy the time you have with the people you love and things you love doing,

Party and play a bit more, but nothing too crazy, 😉

Invest a bit more in your health and weight … because it’s only going to get worse and harder if you don’t do it now.

Certainly, I have other goals that are important like my work and family life, but I would be wise to remember that whatever I endeavor upon to enjoy it …. because ultimately it’s gone too soon and too fast.

I think I’m going to go hug someone now…. =)

With deepest affection,

Doug “Optimus” Pruim (… because it sounds like “Prime” … because it’s Dutch.  Oh, the Dutch.)

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Reflections on Tech 637 #tech63713


Reflections on my time in Tech 637 with Dr. V:

Tech 637 (The “Social” Internet) has been an interesting class for me.  Since I’m from Communication and this is in the Tech school, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Dr. V studied in Communication, as well.

Tonight, we chatted about overarching themes from this course.  I was struck by how the human drive to be social manifests itself through the internet.  People connect online whether to each other, information, or resources.  The ideas from across the semester and lessons include: connecting, transparency, network, relations, info flow, power, collective, participation, uniting.

Our social internet manifesto for the evening included the following advice:

  • Don’t Drink and Tweet.
  • Don’t step in the Deep Web.
  • Don’t bother trying to control information. Individually, you are nothing.
  • Is that Freedom Rock? @StarkAnneR Turn it up!
  • Keep Calm and Hashtag.
  • No one ever wants “tea with the gov’t”
  • Only you can prevent distraction fires.
  • Power comes with participation.
  • Show us your Klout.
  • Stop, collaborate, and listen.
  • Tag your stuff. #tagyourstuff
  • Team up with smart people … they make you look better. (thanks, all)
  • Transparency is the best form of secrecy.
  • Transparency might compromise individual’s privacy and reveal your offline reality.
  • Weak ties are your strength.  Thanks, @mihaela_v!
  • When trolling, use the following hashtags: #umadbro? #burn #trollin
  • With great connections come great responsibilities.

Things that helped me learn:

The reading guides helped me assimilate the material quickly, and (to be honest) kept me ‘honest’ about how much I read.
Pushing me into the deep end of twitter with a hootsuite life-preserver was the best way for me to start.
I was amazed at how accessible the weak tie network of Twitter really is. Met some of my CMC idols…

Favorite Topics

Honestly doing the presentations was great. Loved learning about #lolcats
Rey Junco! I should have brought a bag for my head the day he spoke in class b/c he blew my mind. =)
The strength of weak ties was great … and illustrated by our involvement in Twitter.

Takeaway

The thing I’ll take away is a greater network filled with weak ties and several stronger ones now.

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Discussion seeds by Patrick O’Sullivan


In his paper outlining the Masspersonal Model of Communication, Patrick O’Sullivan (2005) poses several questions for further discussion.  I find them fascinating, and I pose them for you to ponder, as well.  In thinking about Facebook as a place where we have personal conversations in a public arena, O’Sullivan asks:

  • Why would someone share personal conversations with small or even large numbers of strangers?
  • How does the public nature of the message or exchange shape the process, message interpretations, and consequences for both the interactants and those witnessing the interaction?
  • How do these interactions differ from private personal interactions in outcomes?
  • How does awareness (or lack of awareness) of the public nature of the one-to-one interaction (one one or the other or both communicators) shape the communication episode and the outcomes?
  • What is the role of intentionality in shaping the interaction, such as when an interaction assumed and intended to be private is instead unintentionally made public?

Food for thought … if you figure it out, let me know! =)

OSullivan, P. B. “Masspersonal Communication: Rethinking the Mass-Interpersonal Divide” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY Online. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p14277_index.html

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Facebook Relationship Rules


In the 2012 issue of Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Erin M. Bryant and Jennifer Marmo wrote an article entitled, “The rules of Facebook friendship: A two-stage examination of interaction rules in close, casual, and acquaintance friendships.”  They reviewed literature on Facebook, computer-mediated communication theory, and general work on relationships and developed a list of rules for Facebook friends.  After checking the validity of their list with over 800 people, they settled on the following list of 36 Rules of Facebook Friendship.  (There’s other cool stuff about how the list is divided up and highlights various relational motivations, but that is for another time.)  Here are the rules … what do you think?  Would you add anything?

  1. Project yourself in a manner others would want to be associated with.
  2. Don’t post anything that will hurt a friend’s image.
  3. Don’t post anything that will hurt a friend’s career.
  4. Don’t post anything that will hurt a friend’s relationships.
  5. Respond immediately when someone leaves you a Facebook message.
  6. Expect an immediate response from others when you post on their profiles.
  7. Use privacy settings to control each friend’s level of access to your profile.
  8. Share information with close friends before posting it on Facebook.
  9. Delete or block anyone who posts something that compromises your image.
  10. Apply offline social rules to your Facebook interactions.
  11. Be aware that not everyone is honest while on Facebook.
  12. Use common sense in your Facebook interactions.
  13. Monitor your photos to make sure they are flattering.
  14. Always present yourself positively but honestly on Facebook.
  15. Know that all of your friends can potentially affect your Facebook image.
  16. Use Facebook to maintain your relationships.
  17. Use Facebook to communicate happy birthday with friends.
  18. Wish your close friend happy birthday in some way other than Facebook.
  19. Use Facebook to learn more about people you are just getting to know.
  20. Respect your friends’ time by not posting excess information on Facebook.
  21. Meet new people by adding your close friends’ contacts as your own friends.
  22. Only write on a friend’s wall if you are actually friends with them offline.
  23. Only send a friend a private message if you are actually friends with them offline.
  24. Only comment on a friend’s photos if you are actually friends with them offline.
  25. Only use Facebook chat with people you are actually friends with them offline.
  26. Communicate with your good friends using other methods besides Facebook.
  27. Don’t add someone as a Facebook friend unless you meet them offline first.
  28. Always realize that Facebook can expose lies you have told people.
  29. Remember information a friend posts about you can have real world consequences.
  30. If a friend deletes or untags themself from a photo or post, do not repost it.
  31. If you are ignoring someone’s message, do not commit other Facebook behaviors that will reveal you were on Facebook.
  32. Do not spend time trying to guess a friend’s motives for Facebook behaviors.
  33. Do not confront anyone using a public component of Facebook.
  34. Do not say anything disrespectful about someone on Facebook.
  35. Do not let Facebook use interfere with getting your work done.
  36. Do not post information on Facebook that could be used against you.

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Reflecting Online about Reflecting on Reflecting Online


My interests as a communication scholar lie at the intersection of interpersonal communication and social media.  (There’s a third road that leads to humor studies, but I hardly ever get to drive on that one.  Someday!)  Currently, I am exploring the question:

  • How do people evaluate advice through comments to Facebook wall posts?

This question is then broken down to:

  • How do people evaluate advice (in general)?
  • What are the unique features/characteristics of comments on Facebook wall posts as a communication medium?

For my question on advice evaluation, I am relying on Advice Response Theory (MacGeorge) for two reasons: one, because that is my advisor’s theory, and two, it’s really the only and best most comprehensive theory on advice evaluation out on the market today.  Advice response theory explains how message factors (things about the message itself) and source factors (perceptions about the advice giver) affect advice outcomes (how the advice recipient reacts the the advice).  This theory has been primarily tested in dyadic face-to-face situations, so it will be interesting to see how the theory works in both a computer-mediated environment, but also a social networking group setting.

My question on unique features of Facebook wall posts has sent me in several directions and led me to explore various theories on computer-mediated communication and social networking.  Some of the theories are The Hyperpersonal Model of Communication (Walther), the Masspersonal Communcation Model (O’Sullivan), online speech acts (Carr, Schrock, & Dauterman), and a few others.  The features about FB as a communication medium that seem to apply at this point to this discussion are that it fluctuates in its synchronicity, it is a shared space for multiple contributors, and it is a leaner communication medium (reduced non-verbal and social cues).

One of the more interesting concepts I’ve stumbled upon is “friendsourcing“.  Friendsourcing is like crowdsourcing, but with a more select group.  In this way, it is much more of a web 2.0 way of crowdsourcing ideas.  The reason I found this exciting is that while the idea has been around for a while (and people are talking about it in the business world), it is almost non-existent in academic literature.  It shows up in computer science literature about friendsourcing coding problems, and it shows up in an article about friendsourcing solutions through facebook for blind users looking for visual descriptions of objects from their friends.  I think there is a lot of mileage in this term, and it is time that this term made its way into the vocabulary of computer-mediated communication and digital sociology scholars.

One last thing I’ve discovered … the incredible work of the talented Jessica Vitak and Nicole Ellison (and friends) is going to become my new best friend. =)

Calling All Facebook Friends

Who Wants to Know? Question-asking and Answering Practices among Facebook Users

If you have any interest in this or ideas/suggestions for sources and directions, I’d love to hear them. =)

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Coordinating a class project with Twitter


When I was told that we would be doing a class-wide group project/presentation on social media adoption and uses, I was excited.  Class presentations are fun, and I’m okay with group work.  When I was told next that we would have to coordinate this whole thing using only Twitter, some of that excitement abated.  I like Twitter and all, but I just didn’t know how this was going to work.

Jumping to the end of the story … did we do a class presentation?  Yes.  Did it turn out okay?  Yes.  Was there lots of good information shared by several groups offering their unique perspectives?  Yes.  Was this a group of graduate level students who work hard and know how to do presentations?  You bet.  Was the success do to super smooth and coordinated tweeting?  Not so much.

While stories abound of flash mobs and revolutions coordinated solely on Twitter, we never really found our groove.  I can think of several reasons for that:

  • the technology is new to many in the class
  • some people just did not participate actively
  • because it is new we did not utilize programs like Hootsuite to keep track of everything
  • we did not utilize the class hashtag consistently
  • we did not create a unique hashtag for the event
  • the medium itself is not built for nuanced discussions because of its 140 character limit.

The class is filled with smart and capable people, and I’m sure this exercise would/will run much smoother if we did it again.  But this time can be chalked up to a “learning experience”.

That evening while we were presenting Dr. V pointed out that people have used this medium to coordinate revolutions and topple governments.  I’ve been reflecting on this statement and the similarities and differences of coordinating an academic group presentation and beckoning a mob of civil malcontents.  Perhaps we should also have a class project in which we foment revolution … Hmmm?  =)

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