Sunday, November 14, 2004

Smart Mobs & Flash Mobs

With new types of communication emerging within organizations, technology for temporary use has been created. These technologies are used for one single task and then disposed of. The two types of temporary technologies are smart mobs and flash mobs. These two technologies can be used in both temporary organizations and traditional organizations.

Smart mobs if you go to this link will tell you that smart mobs are a "group that behaves intelligently or efficiently because of exponentially-increasingly network links." An example of a smart mob would be using text messages. Flash mobs are a "group of people who assemble suddenly in a public space, do something unusual or notable and then disperese." If you go to the flash mob link it will also tell you about how flash mobs are usually created via the internet. They are called flash because they usually disappear fast.

I agree with Courtney when she said that "temporary organizations form but can also help the organizations that are already established become more sufficient." By this she means that that these technologies can be used not only in temporary organizations but also in established organizations(traditional organizations). For temporary organizations, the flash mob would be very helpful and all they would have to do is follow what the person in charge posts on the internet about a certain event. Even if a person was to be put in a group for a short amount of time a smart mob like text messages would be helpful because it is fast way of getting in contact with someone without really interupting their daily routine. In a established organizations these two technologies would help to make business run smoothly. If you were to have a problem you would be able to get into contact with the person faster rather than having to wait for them. Like Danielle, I agree that these technologies increase productivity. Which when it comes to business is important. The better the communication in the organization the smoother things will run. Smart mobs and flash mobs are both useful forms of communication within either a temporary org or in an established orgs.

The benefits of both of these technologies are that they help make better communication and they are fast.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Weblogs, Aggregators, and Wikis in the Org.

An interesting comment I read on Meghan's blog about weblogs, etc. was when she said this "with the rise in new technology, memoes, emails, and meeting are slowly declining." Which I agree with because alot of problems occur with email and some people may want a more reliable source of up-to-date information. A problem with email can be not getting it in time, if you want to get in touch with a co-worker and they don't get you're email that can cause big problems within the company. Elizabeth mentions that "flurries of e-mails creating redundancy making it hard to distinguish signal from noise, and increasing the likelihood that important messages will be obscurred. " Which in other words means that the person will not get the message.

In learning about these limitations of email within organizations you may ask yourself what could could make communication easier? The answer to that would be the new additions in the workplace of "digital tools." These new digital tools are weblogs, aggregators and wikis. I think these additions to organizations are going to help the communication within the organization. Weblogs are a way of giving up-to-date information to the public. In our class we have learned to put what we learn about chapters or other things in our weblogs so that our classmates can see what we think or to help them understand something. Weblogs in general archive and categorize information. This website talks about the use of weblogs for marketing and other things. This website also talks about how weblogs are a place for people to look up information and to communicate to other people.

Aggregators are also good things to have in an organization, they help to give you up-to-date information. Wikipedia has said that a news aggregator "is a piece of software or a remotely hosted service that periodically reads a set of news sources, in one of several XML-based formats (primarily RSS), finds the new bits, and displays them in reverse-chronological order on a single page," news aggregators help to avoid a "flurry of emails." Everytime I go to my news aggregator webpage I am able to see who has posted something new. It's a very good way to communicate with your peers.

Wikis, if you go to this website tell us that they are "special web sites on which anyone can post material without knowing arcane programming languages. Likewise, anyone can edit them." But, if you wanted to go back and change it you would be able to because everything you add to the webpage is archived. Danielle mentions that "Wikis are a great way to quickly share ideas, which is why they are named wiki, which means “quick” in Hawaiian." They are not only quick to use they are easy, too.

With all this said you can see why and how all the weblogs, aggregators and wikis would be able to impove communication within organizations. They are much more efficent than emails in receiving information from co-workers right away and without distraction.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Problems with Command and Control Model

The essay "Unmade in America: the true cost of a global assembly line" presents various problems with the Command and Control model. The Command and Control model relies on outsourcing. Outsourcing if you go to the link can be when a "service or product" that is produced by a third party(outside the U.S.) in order to lower the costs. This is because it becomes too expensive to produce products in the U.S.. The Supply Chain is very similar, but it is when parts are from other countries and to add that there is also no single site for each production.

Dell, a well known personal computer manufacturer is known for outsourcing. When companies like Dell outsource to a variety of places alot of problems can occur. They call these problems a "red light." One of the problems that may occur is that if something does go wrong you will not be able to fix it right away and in some cases it affects the economy. Which is the case in September 1999 when an earthquake hit Taiwan and stopped the production for a couple of days which made the stock go down for Dell. The same happened in a more serious situation on 9-11, after the attacks the borders were closed and nothing was allowed in and because of this they didn't get any of their supplies. The companies this affected were Ford and Toyota.

In Sarah's post she mentions that "because big manufacturers have almost no inventory in which to rely upon if there were to be any malfunction in the assembly of a product, and are often not invested in these commodities that are spread out around the globe, national economy could be destroyed." Which is a good point because what would they do if something actually went wrong. This essay also mentions that we are too dependant on other countries for production and customer service. One common problem that happens with Dell customers is that if a person needs help they might end up talking to a person India and that might not help them at all.

Aubrey has stated that "we as humans are flawed. While moving at a deadline driven, competitive speed, we are far too busy to consider the issues at hand in terms of the affects of our foreign dependencies within the global assembly line. Not to mention, the dangers of these dependencies in a time when the world is growing increasing sensitive of their individual power and possible hostility toward other powers." I think this is an extremely valid point because if something goes wrong in another country it is going to affect most of the production that company produces. An important statement that stands out to me in the essay is that "the growing reliance by the entire industries on single sources of supply-- violates one of the most basic rules of manufacturing, which is to always have an alternative ready." Which leads to the question do they even have alternative if one of the supplies doesn't come through or will they just have to completely halt production until they can get business back on track.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Social Network Analysis

Social Network Analysis , also known as SNA is "the mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers or other information/knowledge processing entities." The people, organizations and groups are called nodes and each node in the network is connected by a link. The link that connects the nodes "show the relationships or flows," from person to person. Danielle in an easier way stated that SNA is chart that shows the flow of the communication from sender to receiver. Danielle also makes a good point when she said "not only does SNA show a chart analysis, but it also gives a mathematical analysis of these courses of communication and relationships." In the network the centrality of a node can determine how important that node is.

The Kite Network which is the chart that Danielle was referring to was
created by David Krackhardt. David Krackhardt a professor at Carneige Mellon University thought that if two nodes interact on a daily basis they are connected. The network helps to differentiate the centrality measures of three things. Those three things are closeness, betweeness, and degree. The degree is the measures activity and is the amount of links that a node has. The more nodes a specific has links to the more active it is considered. Betweeness is when a node is between "two important constituencies." Nodes that have high betweeness tend to have more of influence in the flow of the network. The benefit with closeness is because when nodes have short paths they are more capable of watching the overall flow of the network.

Some more important terms in SNA are boundary spanners, peripheral players, and network centralization. Boundary spanners are innovators and are capable of sharing their ideas and turning them into new services. Peripheral players are connected to networks that are not yet displayed. Network Centralization can be either very centralized or less centralized. Very Centralized Networks have only have a couple of central nodes. Less Centralized Networks have "no points of failure."

On a closing note, I think it was a great idea when Stephanie Carino mentioned Kevin Bacon and "six degrees of separation" game because the SNA and "six degrees of separation" do have alot in common. One main person or organization is connected with other people that it has or is connected to and as Stephanie said that would be the people he has worked with in the past.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

"Meaning is not in words, or in people, but in the network"

After re-reading a small section in the text I can see how the quote "meaning is in not in 'words', or in the 'people,' but in the 'network'" makes sense. I say this because we learned that words don't mean the same for everybody and then they go on to say that meaning is in the people. But, in some sense there is some meaning in people and in words. Here is some helpful backround information on important models and people we have used before we have gotten to talking about meaning in the network.

It is important to reiterate what Courtney said in her post about what source means for both Shannon and Weaver. She writes that "Shannon and Weaver, "source" is all things possible that can be constructed plus the statistical probability of how and when they are uses. Sources always change." Roman Jakobson on the other hand refers to "source" as "code." If you go to this website Roman Jakobson you can learn that Jakobson was a Russian linguist who did alot of work on the functions of language. He also goes on to say that "there is not one code there are various codes and these codes are composed of various 'subcodes'." These subcodes can be considerred as dialects or text messages. An example of a subcode could be if my sister and I had a certain language that we only knew and nobody understood except for us. To understand the language you have to know it.

A very good point made by Danielle was that "networks are also made up of signs, signs being the signified and the signifier. The signifier is a symbol and the signified is the meaning behind that symbol. As Saussure argued, you can’t fully understand a sign without the context that it lives in." All of this is important to understand why the meaning is in the network.

We already know that the problem with the Shannon & Weaver model was that it didn't show us what things meant. With Saussure came new ideas of signifier and signified and more of importance on meaning by designating the signified to represent the concept and the signifier representing a sound image. With Jakobson we learned the importance of subcodes.

We have learned that the source is the "ensembles of all possible messages, the probabilities that predict occurences in actual communication." We have also learned that the "source is abstract" and that "the network is the source embodied by real people in a social system and that when we communicate we share our "knowledges of the source to share meaning, and changing the statistical properties of the source as they do."

Dave has told us that the reason why meaning is in the network is because the way we learn our language is from our "exposure to a variety of people and messages in a particular social space,"and "as participants in that social life, we are part of the network, and that is where the meaning lies." By this he means your personal experience or your culture has an effect on how we interpet language and that when we are communicating we are part of a network.

I think an example of this could be using the signifer "father." Most people would just look at this word from their own experience and assume the signified would be a parent, but, in this case it's not the only signified. Another signified of father is a religious figure. An example of putting this in a situation could be say you were to have a foreign friend that didn't know anything about religious figures at all and came to church with you and your family and as you were leaving and you said "Bye Father." The friend might get confused and think that you are saying bye to your Dad because she may not know that father also has a sub-code as a religious figure/term. Father isn't just a parental figure it is also the title of a priest(ex. Father Mc Carthy). Father is a signifier with many signifieds depending on your culture and your experience is how you interpret it.

The idea we get from Derrida is that " to 'deconstruct' is to take an idea, institution or value and understand its mechanisms by removing the cement that makes it up," Which in this case would be looking at all of things in the network seperately including things like signifier and signified or the source and message being sent in the S & W Model.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Response to Shannon & Weaver Model Part II

In my previous post on Shannon & Weaver you read about what the model consists of and how there are some problems with it. One of the things that was said was that it doesn't tell us what things mean. Which is important to know because just because you send the message doesn't mean it is understood. We have learned that "messages are composed of symbols" and not given meanings.

In the Shannon & Weaver paper 2 we learn that the study of "signs" and it relationship to symbols and meanings is called semiotics. This link also gives this definition and several more. Ferdinand de Saussure which if you go to this link gives a brief history on the man and states that he thought that signs consisted of two things a signifier and the signified. In class we have learned that the signifier is a "sound image" and that the signified is "a concept" that is associated with the signifier.

In the paper we also learn that Saussure differs from Shannon & Weaver in that he had a theory on signs and they didn't. What Shannon & Weaver consider to be a symbol is what Saussure would consider to be a signifier. Saussure trys to fit his theory into the Shannon & Weaver Model in hopes that he would be able to elaborate on the model in that the model wouldn't just consist of codes and how they are transmitted and try to explain human communication further.

I thought that Saussure gave a very good example when it came to the word "tree." Tree as a "signifier" is the same when its signified. The latin translation means tree so when it comes to the word "tree" you can't consider it meaning otherwize. Which is probably not the same in other cases because the word doesn't always have a relationship with the signifer. A way to understand this is the example in the paper of "sister" and that it signifier doesn't have any relationship to the word.

I along with Danielle and Rosalyn agree that Saussure's study of sematics helped us to understand the study of human communication better.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Response to Shannon & Weaver Model

The Shannon & Weaver Model on this link shows that information goes through several stages before it reaches its destination. The stages are information-transmitter-noise source-receiver-destination. Later on in this post you will read that this model also has a couple of problems with it too.

I along with Melissa agree that the model also looks like a telephone wire. It also has the same process in which you talk into the phone, the message is transmitted through soundwaves in the wires and reaches the other persons phone and the destination is reached when the person who is on the other end understands the message you are sending.

As we learned in class and in the paper on the Shannon & Weaver Model redundancy is important especially when noise interupts the process of the message going from sender to receiver. Nicole has stated that problems occur in our life when the message gets distorted. Examples of this can be when you are on the phone talking about something important and you have static on the line and the person on the other end either doesn't understand the message or completely doesn't hear it at all. Which can cause a big problem depending on how important the message you are giving is. If you were trying to tell a person something bad has happened and for some reason you either lose your signal or static occurs they can miss an important message.

Redundancy , which if you go to this link will show you that redundancy is repetition when an error occurs in the message. This is helpful when noise occurs because if you don't get the message fully the first time, you have another chance when it gets repeated.

Finally, the problems of this model are that there is no feedback, it's a one way model and it doesn't tell us what things mean.