Communication is KEY!

So with the mention of my “Group Blog” in an earlier post, I want to elaborate now on the inner workings of the behind-the-scenes communications that go on.

In class we did a communications exercise which was EXTREMELY fun! We were told very vaguely what was going to happen, and given a few minutes to decide how we were going to communicate (cell phones was our method of choice). We were sent all over campus to get distance between us that we needed for the exercise and the game begun! Once in place we were told this was going to be done completely on Wikipedia and the game was going to be called “Find Your Way to Dallas”. The object was to navigate through Wiki pages given an ‘origin’ page and the end goal was to find the “dallas” wiki page in the fewest number of clicks, ONLY by clicking on links in each Wiki page. Example: Start on Jimi Hendrix Wiki, and find your way to the Dallas Wiki in as few clicks as possible. The twist was that we had a really short time to complete this in; 3 minutes to be exact! Wow 3 minutes went by quick each time.

In the end my team didn’t win, but I honestly didn’t care because we all learned the value behind quick communications and resourcefulness. The decision to use cell phones was great, but could have been improved with using some sort of IRC chat since it’s instantaneous and able to be viewed by all who are participating. That was one half of the reason the winning group came out on top. The other reason was one that my group completely didn’t think about; the ‘Find’ feature on your browser window! Those two factors allowed them to literally blow past us as competition.

I used copy and paste shortcuts which gave my group a slight edge. I also used the ‘group text’ feature on my phone to send messages quickly to the whole group. These both came in handy but with only 3 minutes on the clock I see now how the IRC chat could have made things much more simple!

As group leader I was set up to coordinate and therefore my duties were slightly different and emphasized the beauty of delegation. I had 4 group members who were all doing the Wiki searching, so I tried to focus on collaborating more and preparing for my group members answers, and assisted with the Wiki searching as a secondary task. As I type this blog, I’m realizing now how much our hierarchal form of communication emphasized trust between the group. I was forced to trust that my group members would do their part in quickly searching and they would only submit correct answers, while the group trusted me to explain everything so they could understand what I needed them to do and represent our answers as quickly as possible. Once answers came pouring in, they also had to trust that I would choose the shortest answer which would hopefully lead to a victory.

All-in-all this was an awesome experience and I think it pulled us together as a group! Let’s see what our professor has up his sleeve next!

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CC That or I’m Totally Stealing It. *yoink*

Our choices on Creative Commons Licensing was fairly simple in my opinion.

Allow commercial uses of your work?
-No way. If you’re going to try and publish our work, we better know about it. (SPECIALLY if you’re making money off of us?!)

Allow modifications of your work?
-Sure, as long as it’s significantly altered, and as long as you share your work alike. We created some things from those who have shared before us, we are sharing too, so why can’t you? It only seems fair!

Everything else gets chosen from those, attributions specifically. Don’t just take our works and expect to be able to claim them as your own!

Fairly simple stuff, very important though I would say!

Copyright Laws are “srs bsnss”…

Copyright infringement can get even the most experienced or inexperienced person into big trouble. Avoiding copyright infringements seems like it would be easy, just don’t claim others work as your own; but it isn’t always that simple.

In the world of blogging, specifically related to recipes and reviews, we see a lot of grey areas. What I’m seeing is no clear cut defined norms within the society, and even the copyright laws leave plenty of room for interpretation. The implicit norm seems to be that general instructions are RARELY targets for copyright lawsuits, mainly because there aren’t large sums of money at stake. The society as a whole is really built around sharing and to violate this inherent unspoken ‘law’ would surely bring a negative light on to anyone taking these measures.

Legally, we see the same kind of grey area. The listing of a set of ingredients is NOT protected by copyrights, but the pictures and detailed instructions related to the recipe are. Supposedly if you change enough of the instructions though, it becomes your own. One exception here are books of recipes, basically compilations. If you explicitly post multiple recipes or a whole book of recipes then, as opposed to specifically violating copyright laws of a single recipe, you move in to a larger area of infringing on the copyright of a book as a whole.  So all of these things taken in to consideration, as long as you’re not explicitly claiming, “This is MY recipe!” and it’s clearly not then my opinion is that you’ll be fine.

Birds of a feather…

So, my topic today is going to be a great transition into introducing a group blog project I’ll be a part of. Cultural food genres and reviews will be the topic, and we expect to have some really interesting subjects up for our readers! One of our authors plans to implement gluten-free recipe reviews, we’ve talked about quick-meal reviews, vegetarian suggestions, etc. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I think you guys will love it, so stay tuned for more info.

I did a little research to get the creative juices flowing and also tried to get an idea of exactly what is making other similar blogs out there successful or popular. One of the first things I noticed was that successful blogs aren’t necessarily just the ones with the best content. While content is great (and essentially what a blog is supposed to be about), you have to realize the age we’re in. This is a time where attention spans can last seconds. If the reader isn’t entertained and amused then it becomes much easier to simply move on.

Therefore on the flip side of this, in blogs with a mound of shiny objects and glittery buttons without the substance, my attention fails just as equally. Both content and design must be balanced in order for your readers to stick around long enough to read and also sway them to actually return.

Simplicity and relevance seem to be huge factors to success as well. Even with great design and content, too ‘much’ or unrelated content for example can force attention to be lost. I’m referring to relatedness in this context, as that which is between each of the topics on an internal basis, as well as between subject and visitor.

Using these points as a solid base, I’m excited to move forward knowing that my potential to create a successful blog has greatly improved! Comment and tell me what you think!

Blog, tweet tweet… Blog. Tweet.tweet.tweet.tweet…

First topic up is going to cover some of my history with blogging and social media; as well as some initial impressions of the WordPress suite and Twitter. Definitely a great intro post to give people a feel for my style and opinions.

I guess I could say the world of social media came into my life with the advent of Myspace. I used blogging within this medium through most of my time in high school, usually as an outlet for relationship issues, personal exploration, etc. Reflecting back… that might not have been the best idea, but honestly what’s done is done. No regrets right?

Just a side note, but I wholeheartedly believe that there were two reasons Myspace came crashing down:

-The obvious enormity of Facebook, but also

-The enormous changes they made in customization eventually brought on a user lead decrease in usability and accessibility.

Where I currently stand is much more involved, and extremely exciting on a personal level. As an EMAC major I’ll be specializing in social media marketing, user data collection and analysis, Search Engine Optimization, PPC Advertising (among others), etc. I’m a total nerd… I know.

As far as my initial reactions go, I’m honestly in love with WordPress as a whole. I’m surprised that I hadn’t gotten involved sooner! Every time I heard friends talking about owning websites that they controlled with WordPress, for some reason I was picturing something MUCH more complicated and only for the highly experienced. Strictly from a UI experience WordPress dashboard design is amazing. It’s simple to understand and extremely easy to navigate!

Twitter I’ve actually been using for a while now, and tweetdeck is my platform of choice to keep this updated. It’s fun, addicting, and I think the reason it’s become so popular so fast is due to it’s simplicity and focused nature. It’s not full of fluff or complexity, it’s just socializing… in it’s most simple form. I’ll post another blog at some point with all of my twitter accounts and everyone reading should totally follow and tweet me. I’ll follow you too and we can all stay connected and experience this together!

Thanks for visiting! Let’s keep in touch and melt faces with these blogs and tweets!

Ok, here we go!

Welcome to the most amazing blog EVER! If you enjoy these topics or just think I’m amazing, take a sec to subscribe by RSS feed or by email!! Overall, these topics will be determined by my ATEC 2321 class led by Prof. Fomiglietti, but I will be throwing in my own twists in an attempt to make them as fun and interesting as possible. Without further ado, let’s get started shall we?