Tag Archives: humor

After a nice hiatus, I’ll post again

I’ve taken this semester off from blogging … mostly because I wanted to take a break.  Every healthy part of me tells me that’s enough of a reason.

So I’m at the end of my MA at Purdue.  I’m working on my thesis, and I plan to finish and graduate by August.  Because after that, I’ll start my PhD work at Purdue in the Fall.  I’m going to be honest … the thesis has been kicking my butt.  Not because it’s been excessively hard, but because it’s been overwhelming.  The details, the revisions, the deadlines, the paperwork, the rules within the department, the rules within the school, the learning curve for Qualtrics, the learning curve of doing my own statistical analysis, the unwritten departmental politics rules, the schedules, the egos, the life that is my family responsibilities, and so on (by the way, if you’re ever looking for an example of polysyndeton to show your kids … this was it … sorry for the melodrama … I’m a grad student.)

My thesis is interesting, so that’s good.  My biggest problem right now is that people are unable or unwilling to complete my survey.  I’m looking for info on people’s evaluation of advice on Facebook.  What I’m finding is that one group says they never talk about anything personal or advice related, and the other group just drifts off mid survey when I ask them to tab over to Facebook to look for something.  I’m getting some data, but it feels like there is a ‘leak in my boat’ as it were.

p.s. If you want to take a survey … go HERE! 😉

In any case, I hope everything goes well.  While I am intrigued with computer-mediated communication, I would also like to branch out to study humor more in depth.  I’m a super huge fan of the Benign Violation Theory, and I’m all sorts of geeked about the opportunity to start exploring it through research.

Alright, that’s it for now … I think I’ll go ahead and get out to enjoy some of this nice day.  Thanks for stopping by, my friend.


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Filed under Humor

Time to come clean … and recant on Hootsuite.

A few weeks ago, our beloved leader Dr. V took our whole Tech 637 class at Purdue and threw us in the deep end of the internet.  She tied Twitter to our left hand and WordPress to our right.  As we began to collectively drown in the fullness of socialized media, she slapped a Hootsuite snorkel in our mouths and told us we could use that to breathe.

Trusting our benevolent pedagogue, I started using my new life-sustaining apparatus, and at first it was new and awkward.

I even wrote about it and (much to her chagrin) I called it Hootsuite …. or should I say “HoosGotADHD”.  The reason was because at first everything was so hectic and foreign, and I didn’t even know where to look or how to use it.  I also mentioned in this blog post that someday I might think this was the best thing since sliced bacon (paraphrasing).

So now, several weeks in, I need to re-address this issue …  to both come clean and also recant.

Now that I’ve been using this for several weeks I must say… I not only like the program, but I can say that I view it as a necessary tool to tame and use Twitter (and other social media) effectively.  I have several active feeds that I have developed, and they help me keep track of my class, my computer-mediated communication scholars, my humor scholars, and even a fun one #addawordruinamovie.

It still has some bugs, and I haven’t quite got everything down pat, but as of now … I’m a convert.  I no longer am being forced to drink from the firehose … but now I can sip from an assortment of pleasant springs.

I know I’m mixing all sorts of metaphors throughout this post … sorry about that.  Sometimes I just feel like mixing it up. 😉


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Doodle Time

Social Media in Real Life

Source “Social Media in Real Life” by Sarah See Andersen

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Filed under Humor

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. =)


Filed under Links, Reflections

Cell phones and the fear of being alone

Dr. V. from my Tech class posted a nice reflection on Louis CK‘s interview on Conan and his rant Cell phones and the fear of being alone.

The questions she asks at the end of her piece are:

  • Can you try to pay attention and notice when you are using your phone to avoid being alone?
  • Can you try practicing being alone, just sitting there, without music or any other stimulus, for maybe 5 minutes every other day, and see what happens?

I find this discussion about cell phones and how it changes the way we interact with the world to be very interesting.  For me, I did not have my own cell phone until I was 26 years old.  I made it all the way through high school, college, and grad school without this tech.

While having this ability to instantly connect with anyone has its value, there were also side-benefits to the unplugged life.  There was a point in my life when I could go away and truly be away.  I could be alone … truly alone.

Now life is very different … and very connected.  Don’t get me wrong … I love it.  I love being able to call my wife, find my friends, get directions, etc.  And now, when I look down and notice that I have no service, I panic just a little bit because I’m off the grid.

And like Louis CK’s rant … it’s partly because that makes me realize something larger about the human condition (a fear deep inside) that I am alone.  It’s just me.  And someday I’ll be completely off the grid.  Which is scary … in the best way … because it reminds me that I’m alive, my own person, responsible for my life … and that I should probably find some better reception if I’d like to check my messages.


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Blog Reflection: Why are Generation Y Yuppies unhappy?

Why are Generation Y Yuppies unhappy?  That is the question this Huffington Post blog explores, explaining clearly why your life sucks (or at least why you think so).  The equation they use is Happiness = Expectations – Reality.  Interesting enough… and food for thought.  (Some of this Huff blog is NSFW, so avert your eyes before you get to the potty word!)

I’ll be honest … I usually take issue with these types of broad, sweeping sociological statements.  My issues usually are: people treat generation Y as though it were a monolithic entity, the basis for the claim that they are X, Y, or Z is often not established, these things conflate correlation with causality, and also I feel jealous because I’m too old for Gen Y but too young for Gen X.

In any case, my Technology class last night discussed online self-presentation and what is “the self”.  We talked about performativity by Judith Butler and wrestled with what it meant to present, perform, and or exhibit oneself online.  One thing we did not address directly yet was the compulsion for people to present an overly positive image online and/or the sociological side-effect of comparison of our personal knowledge of our actual lives with the projected image of other’s online lives.

The “Why are Generation Y Yuppies unhappy?” blog proposes an answer in the last section of the piece.  Its initial premise is that “Happiness = Expectations – Reality” … and for this connected generation, the digital house always wins.  There is some research to support these claims, as well.

This poses an interesting question for me to self-reflect on: Is my social media use making me unhappy, and if so … what should I do about it?


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Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone By NICK BILTON

Response to Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone By NICK BILTON

This past week a heartfelt-comedy video has been circling the interwebs.  The video chronicles the life of a comedienne living a hyperbolized life of friends with smart phone addiction.  Nick Bilton’s piece in the New York Times ponders the success and message of the video and makes a some conclusions (many of which are regarding the connection between media and food).

The question is “Why does it seem that people are obsessed with their phones and social media?”  I liked the piece, but I’d like to add a few more concepts to the discussion … namely Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Social Identity model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE), and strong/weak ties.  These concepts have helped me recently parse the idea.

First, psychologist Abraham Maslow pointed out that one of the five major motivations of humanity is to be social (physical, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization).  Once our basic physical and safety needs are met, we are designed in such a way as to crave connection.  We are social beings; we need others … something that says I’m not alone.

Second, social science and communication researchers have given us the social identity model of deindividuation effects (SIDE). Basically this says that without other non-verbal cues present, we fill in the blanks about others with our own guesses about them.  In short, we tend to form idealized versions of “the other” through computer-mediated communication because we lack the immediate cues to tell us otherwise.  Our computer friends are the best friends because they are in part figments of our imagination.

Third, one sociological phenomenon is described as strong ties versus weak ties.  Basically, people have strong relationships and weak relationships … and we generally tend to maintain strong ties rather than develop weak ties.  This is the path of least resistance in relationship formation.

When I ask myself, “Why do people seem addicted to their smart phones and social media?”, these ideas give me at least a framework to approach the question:

  • People act this way with their phones because we have a deep urge to be socially connected.
  • People act this way because their online friends are the best friends that anyone could ever imagine … because they are somewhat imagined.
  • People act this way because it’s more comfortable to interact with the strong ties rather than interact with the weak-tied, scary world around them.

There is obviously more to this than these three … but these at least help me to think about the issue.

Okay … that’s enough rambling for the morning … I should probably put down my screen and enjoy some real-world Labor Day with my family. =)


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Blown Away (in the best way) by Google Hangouts

While I consider myself to be pretty technologically savvy, there are always dark corners and unexplored alleys of my social media landscape.  I was thrust into one of these new places this morning as my computer started ringing, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Flipping around from link to link, I noticed quickly a box that said “Bert would like to start a video chat with you” on my Google homepage.  While I knew video chatting technology existed, I was unaware of this Google Hangouts feature.  (I’ll also admit that I’m not a big Skyper or video chatter … so most of this is new to me.)  Since I absolutely adore Bert and haven’t spoken in two years, I decided that I needed to figure out what to do postehaste!  I clicked on the link and had to download/install a little program, and I was worried for a moment that this process might take a long time.  It didn’t.  In fact, within a minute’s time, the video chat was initializing.  A window with my face popped up, and noticing that the angle of my laptop made my double chin a bit pronounced, I had to slightly adjust my animated “selfie”. 

On the screen the words appeared, “Waiting for others to join the conversation.”  This lasted a few moments, and then there it was … my friend!  How amazing!  We spent four years in school together, side by side.  We were the peas in the proverbial pod.  We had loads of good times and have shared wonderful moments of life together.  Since this happened years ago, we formulated our friendship back in “pre-cell phone” and “pre-social media” times.  Granted, it was on the cusp of the technological movement, but I wasn’t particularly an early adopter.  Then we graduated (and by design of the jobs that we would take), so we would never live near each other again.  Life went on … separately. 

But then something amazing happened … technology.  Cell phones, email … better yet Facebook.  We started being able to connect more and more.  This was all good; in fact, great.  But then this morning … we (I) crossed into yet more new and more wonderful territory.  Thousands of miles away … I could see his smiling face again.  See the emotions.  Tell our old jokes … the ones without words.  The ones with just a look, a smile, a pause, a glimmer in the eye.  I could show my kids, my life, my cat, my whatever I wanted.

Why am I rambling about any of this?  Because this is the beauty of social media … and the reason we will continue to strive to make more.  The connection, the love, the togetherness, the realtime.  In a word … the social.   

I’m writing these blogs because of a class that studies social media, the social internet.  Some of this study can seem clinical, numeric, calculating, diagnostic … but at its core, no matter how much computing, machinery, technology that we find on top of it … it is messily, chaotically, wondrously, beautifully, fundamentally human.  It is “social” media.

Thanks for phoning me on “the Google” this morning, Bert.  Love you, man. You have no idea how good it was to see you again. =)


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Why Floundering is Good

This is a nice little article on the benefits of strategic floundering.  I’m both a teacher and a student at Purdue.  Floundering is what I do best. =)  The learning paradox is that you learn best when you know least what you’re doing … in theory! 

In all honesty, I’ve used this pedagogical technique quite a bit and to good effect.  As a learner, it can be a bit daunting and unsettling to experience being adrift, but it comes with great reward.  The key is trusting the process, not being abandoned, and reflection.  So go ahead, my friends, get lost!


p.s. perhaps this is the guiding principle to my social media immersion process this semester…? 😉


August 22, 2013 · 1:07 pm

Trying Hootsuite …. or should I say “HoosGotADHD”

As part of my exercise in social media immersion (being a new blogger/twit?, it feels like social media waterboarding), I’ve jumped into Hootsuite.  My first reaction can best be summed up by a quote from the movie UHF, “You get to drink from the … firehose!”  Wow … that’s a whole heck of a lot of social media in one place.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it, and someday I’ll think this is the greatest invention in the history of inventions .. but for now, I look like the GIF of a cat on crack watching a tennis match.  (That may be a tad overstatement for humorous effect, but I do still feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to look yet.)

With that ringing endorsement, I’m sure you’ll all want to jump right in.  If so, you can find them at hootsuite.com.



Filed under Tools