Dilbert and Organizational Communication

I saw today’s Dilbert, and it speaks to so many issues I (we?) confront in organizational settings. Saying things in “code,” clear communications, authenticity, morale, internal political power, saying and hearing what we want to hear to get work done—these are all things that made me chuckle when I read this.

Wonder if there are any organizations where this is not present? Perhaps that is the organizational Holy Grail?

Autoethnography Listserv Discussion Heats Up

I have not been blogging much recently, as I have been slammed with the simultaneous wrapping-up of two classes I am teaching: Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design and Research Process and Methodology. I do have a lot of material to share and reflectively work out on my blog, but for now I have been refining my lessons, correcting papers, and helping students with projects / research / practice.

One thing I have been reading with great interest in the last day or so has been the increasingly heated discussion on the Autoethnography Listserv. While autoethnography is a favorite qualitative research method of mine, I have never seen such an interesting discussion that revolves around some incidents that appeared to happen during the NCA conference in San Diego, held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt that has recently been embroiled in the Proposition 8 controversy in California.

The experience seems especially interesting, given the conference’s theme of “unCONVENTIONal.” This is well worth some attention in the wider community of scholar-practitioners.

Twitter Admits Reliability Is Valuable?

Did I read the last two posts on the Twitter blog correctly?

They stated “You may have noticed we had an outage last night/stretching into this morning,” but instead they should have admitted that their service in the past few days has been intermittent at best.

On the heels of this, they then began today’s post with “We have a stated goal to make Twitter a reliable global communication utility. ” Really? Are they serious?

They have to know their service glitches have been lampooned in the blogosphere, and their credibility has seriously eroded as being a reliable (aka business-able) communication and microblogging (liveblogging?) tool. Many of us have started to rely on Twitter as a communication tool (via Web, BlackBerry, a whole host of applications, etc.), using it from everything from liveblogging to self-marketing and branding.

I know whenever I tell colleagues and friends about Twitter, the platform sounds so silly until I show people how it works and how I use it. Now, I really love Twitter. I like how my Tweets get archived daily on my own blog. How I am able to join a new organization and suddenly begin to have other people interested in reading my daily Twitter musings.

I really hope Twitter becomes more reliable. While this all this costs money, is there enough financing coming in to create and maintain the very reliability we all expect? 

Twitter in the Classroom

twitter It is nice to see some college classes making use of current technologies that are all the rage in the private sector and amongst early-adopters. It is another thing for a professor to formally integrate this by having students sign up for their own accounts.

Such is the story in the recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, where a professor uses Twitter to interact with his students. Thankfully I saw this article in my newsreader on the Twitter blog. While I applaud the effort, it will be wonderful when non-technology or media faculty begin integrating these technologies into their syllabi for their educational value alone, even beyond the technical “wow” factors. This is a wonderful start, and reminds me of when I taught high school years ago and began using email with students to review for exams and work on assignments back in 1997. How times have changed.

I wish I would have tried this with my class that just ended. It would have been great to discuss current news stories, share ideas about upcoming assignments, and even debrief what was learned. This debriefing is where I believe much learning is done, yet it is the connection between what happens in the classroom and how that gets realized in life that formally gets overlooked in the race to “do the assignments.”

I would be happy to speak with any of my former students via Twitter.

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Target Does not Care About Bloggers?

It seems bloggers are not welcome shoppers at Target.

One of my colleagues at NYU Stern pointed out a disturbing article that is fit for a discussion within a communications course. Today’s New York Times reported that Target snubbed a blogger from Shaping Youth who complained to the retailer about its seeming insensitivity to women in one of its current ad campaigns. Rather than provide an informed and sympathetic response to this audience of concerned shoppers, Target appears to have replied that it does not communicate with new media.

Huh? With all the edgy commercials and friendly feel of its stores that it tries to promote, it seems customers who question innuendo within its advertising just do not matter. With all the work and cost involved in television media advertising, is there such a thing as an accident or something that is not planned? Doesn’t the Target symbol of a bulls-eye have several connotations? Since when is it good policy to offend your customer audience and then not want to discuss it? Smells like a potential public relations nightmare. Doesn’t Target realize how online communication can spread in ways far more widespread than traditional, static media?

Too bad my Business Communication course just ended yesterday, as we could have had a field day with this one!