Katie Kelsey’s Blog

Course in Review

In this week’s reading Martin (2015) discussed the concept of leaders as heroes. Through this type of leadership, leaders feel the need to save their followers or provide the answers instead of guiding followers on the journey (Martin, 2015). She continued by stating that leaders work to do things right, not necessarily to do right things (Martin, 2015). This last part really stuck out to me. I’ve been thinking about my work and how some of it is driven by wanting to produce the correct result for those who supervisor me, but how much development am I providing to those that I supervise? Am I providing an open space for them to learn, develop, ask questions, and grow? As a leader, I feel like I should be providing those spaces, but it can also be hard to achieve when sometimes you need the data or the raw information. The question I am left with, is how do leaders combine both skills – being developmental and managerial?

Additionally in Martin’s (2015) article she talked about the idea of creating systems that are better for more people instead of trying to win the system. As I have reflected on her words, the word integrity kept coming to my mind. Leadership is about integrity. It is about doing what is right, even when no one is watch you. It is about being honest and trying to provide a better world for those around you. Leading with integrity can be challenging, especially when there are competing messages in social media, on the news, and being lived out by prominent figure heads. I think teaching integrity in leadership can be difficult too because it requires a bit of humility and patience.

Martin (2015) continued by discussing the characteristics of the social artist. I appreciated the point about finding the potential in others and letting people do work that wasn’t thought possible. For me, this is one of the best parts of being a leader. I enjoy helping people find what they enjoy doing and are good out and watching them run with it. I think it can be hard sometimes as a leader to “let go” of how you think something should go to allow others to blossom, but when you do let it happen the results can be amazing (or least in my limited experiences they have been.) It is also through those moments that followers then feel trusted and a better work environment can be created.

All of this to say that my major takeaway from this course is that there is real value in being adaptable to new technology. As Martin (2015) shared it is important create open spaces to let others [who may know more than you] create and educate people on the changing technology. This can create a more open, efficient, and creative working environment which in the long-run will benefit the team and the workplace. I will also be taking away that it is important to continue to research and stay up-to-date on technology trends. AI is something that is only going to continue to develop, so it will be increasing important to understand how it works and how it can be woven into the workplace to create more efficiencies.

Based on what we have learned over the past seven weeks, I have begun to reach out to those within my organization to help me understand and integrate technology more into the work my office does. For example SLACK has been woven into my front desk operations. Desk workers are able to see what tasks need to be done at the beginning of their shifts and can leave notes for those who come after them. It has been great! I have also begun to ask more questions about how technology can be used across our division to create more efficiencies. I think this one may be a little tougher due to the age ranges of the directors within out division, but we are starting small and working up.

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Adaptable Technology

Technology is an ever-changing beast. Once you think you’ve figured out one piece of it, it develops further or there is a new trend. As leaders it is important to keep an open mind, try new technology, and allow yourself to be taught by younger generations (or those that might know more than you.) In my current profession I work with 18-22 year olds and the means by which they communicate are always adapting. For example, two summers ago they were using GroupMe to accomplish tasks as a team, now they are using SLACK. Without their assistance I would have no idea how to use these tools, or be able to accomplish as much as we have been able to. I have found that as a leader I have needed to be flexible with the way in which I communicate, not the message I am sending.

There have been several advancements in technology that have enhanced the work that I do daily or for projects. For example, the creation of drones has allowed my institution to collect video footage from different angles which produces videos of different quality. Drones have allowed us to collect data and see new areas of campus. The downside to drones is that when abused they can collect information that infringes on someones privacy. As an institution we have had to create a drone policy, which ten years ago wasn’t even on our radars, so as leaders it is important to adapt with trends to protect the safety of those you serve.

Kevin Kelly (2016) discussed the topic of artificial smartness. Through his explanation he stated that artificial smartness is teaching technology to respond or interact. He uses the example of video games and how they can now play against a human player. As I’ve been reflecting on this topic I began to think about how technology has created conscientious free thinking (Kelly, 2016), which helps us think differently. This kind of thinking can help streamline projects, creates more efficiencies, and provides people more time to focus on other areas of work. On the other hand, this type of technology doesn’t provide the emotional support that employees need or desire to provide fulfillment in their work. In my work, while technologies such as laptops, the internet, or social media help my do my work, it can’t replace the social or emotional pieces that my work requires to create a educational and developmental setting for students. Kelly (2016) went on to discuss the creation of robots, which would create a whole new type of job and eventually as humans we may not know what we would do without them. While I believe that robots would enhance productivity in some occupations I don’t know if I ever see technology fully replacing humans in work.

Additionally, Weinberger mentioned the concepts of permission free and public elements of technology. Through permission free he discusses how people can post, link, and share information at will without anyone or anything stopping them from doing so in terms of sharing information. He goes on to share about public elements meaning that what you publish or post is open for all to see. In both of these elements I find myself thinking about the negative implications of these elements. I recognize that there are many benefits, however, I sometime find myself concerned about the negative implications of allowing people to post anything and everything. In my line of work I see the darker side come alive when there are roommate conflicts or when someone posts something about their ex-boyfriend which then causes issues. I believe technology has helped advance us in many ways, but I still believe that there are some things that technology can’t do that humans need.

Social Media Ethics

We live in a world that allows people to be constantly engaged and connected with one another. As such the desire for ethical communication is an ever present need (Berg, 2017). In the public relations world, communication can be delivered at much faster rates due to social media so it is extremely important to have the best crafted message delivered by the most effective method to audiences by someone that is thinking of situations from multiple angles and using intelligence to create the message (Berg, 2017). People authoring social media accounts for [major] companies or the government need to use etiquette and provide honest communication to create buy-in or trust in readers. (Fearn-Banks, 2017).

Social media can include (but is not limited to) Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Snapchat and/or Instagram. These forums provide platforms for people to communicate information to another at speeds much faster than even five years ago. With these social media outlets people have the ability to share content that is emotional, dishonest, ethical or factually driven. Social media opens the door for people to share all types of information to impressionable people, which makes it even more important for people to use their ethical compass when posting to ensure people are receiving correct information instead of “alternative facts.”

When public relations works in the public’s interest it demonstrates its moral integrity, professionalism and commitment to civic responsibility (Brunner, 2017). While intentions might be good, it is extremely important for people using social media to use caution to share messages, and to provide factual information when reporting news, stories, or sharing information. This can be increasingly difficult in times of uncertainty, turmoil, or controversy. When people struggle to find their ethical compass, the ethics gap will grow creating a cyclical pattern of poor decisions in the use of social media (Berg, 2017).

In other professions such as healthcare, professionals work to maintain the privacy of their patients, appropriate boundaries and help patients and their families make difficult decisions. While this has not changed the speed in which complex issues can be publicized has increased (McKlindon, Et. Al, (2016). This presents a new challenge for healthcare professionals and other similar professions while they try to maintain the ethical reputation of themselves, their hospitals, and their profession. Professionals need to set boundaries and use guidelines that protect themselves should an issue arise.

In general, social media is a power resource that needs to be used with caution. Many impressional people rely on social media to gain insight into situation and even in some instance use it as their sole method to receive news. While social media can provide fast information is it up to the person authoring the message to provide accurate and honest content.

References

Berg, K. T., (2017). Trends in public relations: Exploring the role of ethics as it relates to social media and crisis communication. Journal of Media Ethics, 32:1, 61-66.

Brunner, B. (Ed.). (2017). The moral compass of public relations.  Journal of Media Ethics,New York, NY: Routledge.

Fearn-Banks, K. (2017). Crisis communications: A casebook approach (5th ed.).  Journal of Media Ethics, New York, NY: Routledge.

McKlindon, D., Jacobson, J. A., Nathanson, P., Walter, J. K., Lantos, J. D., Feudtner, C., (2016). Ethics rounds: In the eye of a social media storm. Pediatrics: 138: 3.

The Internet

The internet is a powerful resource and tool. Aaron Smith (2015) shared that the internet allows people to search for job opportunities and apply for jobs online instead of having to use a personal network. While there may be an ease to applying via an online application the engaging parts of applying for a job still remain a challenge for many people. Creating a resume and communicating with potential employers online may be more difficult than having a conversation in personal (Smith, 2015). While online resources are being utilized by the majority of people to search for jobs, there are still low numbers when it comes to that being the most important tool for people (Smith, 2015). That said smartphones are a major contributor to the use online resources. People use smartphones to job search, apply for jobs, shop online or look up information. It doesn’t take much effort to use and it provides results quickly.

Networked workers create an open communication line for work to be done. Jarche (2013) shared that management creates more barriers in a network which slows productivity and creativity. Networked workers bring flexibility and quick communication to an organization because there is an open and free path to communicating with others. The challenge of networked workers is that there is limited structure and there could be too much free flow of ideas and not enough work getting done.

There are many positives and negatives of having free internet access at work. The benefits of the internet are it allows for quick communication, searching of information, and provides an easy way for people to connect and share. The downsides to the internet are that is provides employees with a means to be distracted (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) at work, and there can be the expectation to always be available to work.

Though there are many challenged brought on by the internet some of those challenges can also be turned into a positive. For example, a challenge is that people are connected through social media which means that a lot of personal information can be shared and many employers have to have conversations about social media etiquette. The positive of this situation is that people can notify each other and keep people updated on what is happening in their life.

Changing Work

I work with 18 to 22 year olds who have never lived without the internet, cell phones, or the ability to connect with people digitally. They do not know a world of dial-up internet or needing to memorize a friend’s phone number to call using the home phone or landline. The work I do with them has changed dramatically because of the web. They have the ability to look any and everything up in a few short seconds. Additionally, their lives are shared more freely through social media outlets (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc). The issues we see with college students and work through with them a slightly differently than they were even ten years ago. Technology has given students an outlet to passively communicate with another without having to actually communicate with one another, which is when I need to step in as a leader to help the situation.

I do not believe this to only be the case with my field of work. I think the web has allowed companies to market differently and to a wider audience, it has cut down on the amount of time and resources needed to communicate information, and it has created a forum for people to connect in different ways. For leaders, I think the web can be a useful tool if it is being used and harnessed appropriately, but it can also lead to problems if abused.

In Weinberger’s talk he mentioned that the internet can be whatever we want it to be, which in some ways is exciting because it could lead to innovations and creativity. However, he went on to give the example of the pocketknife in which he described the internet as something that started out as practical but it just keeps growing. He went on to talk about how we don’t filter out but filter forward. More and more information is added and we include everything, which can be confusing and valuable information can get lost.

Wirearchy as both a leader and a supervisor within my organization would suggest that I should pay close attention to how and why people are connecting, the different systems that allow for collaboration, and the value in listening closely/deeply. In my work, I believe those things to be true and valuable. Much of the work I do is with people and helping to create experiences that enhance their college experience. In order to do that effectively I need to be able to listen to their needs, I need to connect the right people together and I have to be able to collaborate, so wirearchy, or establishing a dynamic two-way flow of trust, connecting people and knowledge is very important in the work I do.

 

Knowledge?

How knowledge is conceptualized impacts how systems and strategies are designed (Dixon, 2009). I’ve been thinking a lot about that statement this week in regards to the work I do with college students. Saving files electronically provides the ability to keep historical data for future referencing of events, practices, policies, and information discussed in meetings. By using technology we are able to maintain files more accurately and transition people from position to position in a more seamless manner. Dixon (2009) outlined three categories (leveraging explicit knowledge, experimental knowledge and collective knowledge) of capturing or documenting knowledge that play an integral role collecting information. To that point, technology is very useful, however, what technology doesn’t convey is the emotion felt in those meetings or discussions, which can play a very important role in transitioning someone into a new position. Providing context for some information can be more valuable than the actual information shared, which I think is sometimes hard for technology to capture.

I appreciated Dixon’s (2009) perspective on knowledge “know how” in that she said that it can be very difficult to save or put into databases. It is context driven, meaning that it is obtained through observation and that it needs someone else to explain the situation for a true understanding of the topic (Dixon, 2009). She continued by stating that information is continuous and therefore knowledge is too (Dixon, 2009). Furthermore, she stated that frontline employees hold important information (Dixon, 2009). In my professional life, I supervise seven people, and rely on them to convey information to me for our area to function. They interact with students from various parts of campus and through very different experiences, thus they hold different information, which is all important when as an office we provide programming and leadership experiences for students. Without their knowledge, as an office, we wouldn’t be able to provide meaningful experiences that are relevant to the current population of college students.

Fr. Kolvenbach in his address to the Jesuit communities in 2000 shared that when the heart is touched by direct experience it is more apt to change. As I read Jarche’s article, Fr. Kolvenbach’s message kept coming to my mind. Jarche (2016) stated that learning is easier than remembering and acting. While I don’t necessarily disagree with this line of thought I kept thinking about how when someone is learning something, if that piece of information is engaging and connects with them personally, than it is easier for it to be remembered and thus put into practice. So I find myself thinking that to close the knowledge loop, information needs to presented, shared, and stored in a way to is useful to people and engages them in some fashion. It is also something that needs to be practiced for it to become apart of someone’s routine.

Weinberger (2011) stated that knowledge used to fit into perfect box, but through the Information Age this notion began to change. Filters on the internet, which once provided protection of information, now provide an opportunity for more voices to be heard. This can skew what information is correct and which is opinion. In some ways filters created chaos and in other ways filters provided a forum for people to share their opinions. The placing of information on the web also allowed for more information on a many more diverse topics to be shared (Weinberger, 2011). Again, I think this can be very beneficial, but also has its drawbacks. Since the internet provides information at a rapid base it can be hard to keep historical information relevant. Information that is accurate can be buried by comments, thoughts and opinions which can be consumed by the reader and affect their perspective on the topic.

As a leader I think it is incredibly difficult to manage knowledge that is socially developed. Through my job I deal with students issues related to information posted on Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram and other sites. Some of this information is positive and lifts up people, however, the internet and social media outlets have also created a space for students to tear each other down. Roommates will sit in the same room and send unkind tweets to each other, but won’t have a conversation with one another. That information is then shared with others and is logged in the web of the internet for all to see, which can be hurtful and damaging to people. So as a leader at a college, I think it’s important to educate and talk with students about the affects of social media. We have to be creative and repeat the message several times, but my hope is that it sticks for some of the students.

1.18.17 – Prezi

Prezi was founded in 2009 with major offices in San Francisco, Budapest and Mexico City, and has over 75 million users worldwide. TED was one of first major investors of this product, followed by an iPAD application in 2011 (Nakano, 2016).

Prezi is a presentation format that allows users to use visuals to tell their story or provide information to people. It uses a map-like format that provides users the opportunity to jump from one image to the next as they provide information. The tool allows users to zoom in and out, use pictures, text, shapes and designs to enhance the content. This sort of presentation style is considered “conversational” in that it provides a more free flowing movement between topics compared to that of a traditional slide-based presentation.

In the 2016 State of Presentations Report (Nakano, 2016) shared that Prezi’s survey its users and discovered that presenters are breaking tradition to adopt new methods to visualize their content. Additionally, Nakano (2016) reported that there was a rise in conversational presenting, which is a method that allows presenters to dialogue in a dynamic fashion while presenting.

While this tool provides an innovative way to present information, this style of presentation with the zoom does not allow items to be read aloud, so users with sight disabilities may find it hard to use this tool. Additionally, the zoom feature also could produce nausea in audience members, so the company created tutorials on how to avoid excessive visual stimulation. This tool can also be hard to navigate if changes need to occur to the presentation in terms of adding in an image or content. When doing this the user needs to re-map the path, which can be time-consuming depending on how long the presentation is. Lastly, some critics have stated that there is a lack of font and color options for users to use to spice up their presentations.

In education this tool can be used in a variety of ways. Professors can utilize it in the classroom to provide a variety of presentation methods for course topics. Student Affairs professionals and administrators can use it in university business presentations. This style lends itself to be more conversational, engaging, and free flowing which is helpful when trying to connect with 18 to 22 year olds.

Through my experiences with this tool, it has provided me with the opportunity to be more creative in my presentation style. What I mean by this is I was able to deliver the information in a fun, out of the box sort of manner that kept people interested in what was on the screen. The presentation that I was giving was to parents of incoming students to the University about topics that they would experience while on campus with us for summer orientation. This presentation style allowed for a more conversational type of presentation, meaning it was very interactive between presenter and audience.

Reference

Nakano, Chelsi (2016). The 2016 state of presentations. Retrieved from
http://blog.prezi.com

Week One Assignment – 1-12-17

In this week’s reading it was shared that creativity can exist without having to settle or be tied to one thought process or idea (Florida, 2005). Through his article he went on to discuss the flat world hypothesis and how population and economic activity may be spiky while innovation tends to be very concentrated to certain parts of the globe (Florida, 2005). What really resonated with me was the idea that creativity is more effective and free flowing when those innovators are in close proximity to one another (Florida, 2005). This make sense in terms of being able to share ideas, brainstorm, and feed off of each other while being innovative about projects, products, and advancements. Take for instance the example that Friedman (2005) provides in chapter one of The World is Flat about visiting Infosys Technologies Ltd. Through this example he demonstrated the power in people from across the globe sharing ideas, communicating, and collaborating though online means. Additionally, he touches on the value of online communication and how it provides people with the capabilities to do their work for any location across the world, which can simplify, expedite, and provide opportunities for outsourcing at cheaper costs (Friedman, 2005). Bostrom (2015) shared that technologies have allowed the human race to continue to evolve how we communicate with each other. Friedman’s (2005) concept of work flow software supports this idea stating that machines have provided the ability to remove humans from the process and allow machines to talk to each other. This concept along with his other nine factors, complimentary software and the internet helped create the opportunity for flattening across the globe (Friedman, 2005).

I believe that Bostrom’s talk more aligns with Friedman’s perspective. Bostrom discusses the evolution of artificial intelligence as a process or a trickle effect, similarly Friedman describes the flattening effect as something that took time and was done incrementally. I think both people try to provide a realistic perspective regrading the growth of technology and the affect it will have on the human race through providing the potential positives and negatives in the rise of technological advancements.

For me, this information is very relevant in the work I do with students. Technology is an ever evolving tool that college students use. It seems that something new is always on the rise or is a new craze that students are using. As an administrator I am constantly learning about new means of communication that students are using or new tools for learning within and outside of the classroom. I think these article have provided context for the growth in technology and where we might be going in the future.

References

Bostrom, N. (2015). What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/nick_bostrom_what_happens_when_our_computers_get_smarter_than_we_are

Florida, R., (2005). The world is spiky. The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved from:
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/coma/images/issues/200510/world-is-spiky.pdf

Friedman, T.L., (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. Farrah, Straus and Giroux. Retrieved from: /wiki/file:worldisflat.gif.