Communication is the Name of the Game!

Ah, teamwork… That scary word that even some of the most extroverted personalities fear.  We’ve all probably had some memorable experiences doing group work that we wished had gone differently.  Luckily, we’ve been given tools to help overcome the anxiety that is attached to trying to collaborate with other students.  Ken Haycock and Enid Irwin both hit on one core theme that stuck out to me in their insights with how to foster successful teamwork — and that was communication.  Communication, like with many interactions even outside of school, is what seems to drive productive, meaningful work.

Irwin mentions a few times the importance of “attitude and planning” which lead to “participation, communication, and team goals.”  Both attitude and planning require the ability to openly talk to peers and teammates.  Attitude might not seem like it would fall under the broader umbrella of communication but I think it has its place.  If our personal attitudes or someone with whom we are working with is less than stellar it’s important to be able to discuss it by either vocalizing why we are feeling unenthusiastic in order to resolve it.  Conversely, if we are enthusiastic it’s important to present that to our team as well, instead of remaining silent.  This also brings the need for a self-awareness of how we are perceiving our place in the group, or being in tune with what others may be feeling.

Haycock on the other hand presented something that he called “courageous conversations” that I really struck a chord with.  He stressed the importance of, even though it may be uncomfortable for some of us (myself included), to set forth ground rules right from the get go.  As a team we should be able to convey what we deem important to being a successful group and also the certain things that we may get irked by such as not being on time or staying on task.  For myself a lack of communication itself is a pet peeve.  We all have circumstances that present challenges and may affect group work but being responsible and letting the other members of a team know what you are struggling with or that you may not be present for a meeting is key in keeping group work effective.

One of my biggest struggles with group work in my undergrad studies stemmed from the fact that I was a bit older than most of my classmates and felt like many of them did not want to be there and did not value others time.  Fortunately, I don’t think too many of us are in the SLIS program because we felt like we had to.  We are here because we want to be!  We all know how valuable our own time is with our busy lives, and I think it will be easier for us to value the time of our classmates when it comes to group work.  Staying organized, creating calendars or keeping planners, and being proactive in setting schedules for ourselves in addition to communication should help all of us make the most of our time here together.  Now let’s get to work!

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the inaugural (untitled) first post.

I just finished reading the blog posts I wrote last January for my Tumblr, which promptly went dormant come February.  It’s been really interesting to see what my aspirations were and how I have changed even in those few posts from a year ago.  And not just from last year but in many previous years.  I seem to have a habit of wanting to write more, starting a blog, and then forgetting about it or deleting it when I don’t feel comfortable or happy with what I’ve written.  I will be the first to admit I am my own worst critic. I’m working on that!

I still have access to one of my old LiveJournals I kept from 1999-2005.  I can’t believe the Internet even had such a thing as LiveJournal (basically an early form of blogging/digital diaries) in 1999.  It seems so long ago, and in such an ancient age (B.F. – Before Facebook) of the Internet.  What I appreciate about what blogging has become is that it isn’t all just people’s daily comings and goings.  It is so nice to be able to share information in a setting that can be tailored to each individuals own interests.  Not to mention the capacity to integrate a multitude of other media and link easily to other social networking platforms.

Social networking is something I have come to have a very love/hate relationship with.  I also remember, like LiveJournal, my first semester at SFSU back in 2005 when someone I had met on my floor in the dorms said “Have you heard of Facebook? It’s like MySpace but you have to be in college with a college email to use it.  Sign up!”  And my how far we have come since then.  Sure, it’s nice to be able to connect with family and friends I don’t live close to, but am I the only one that feels obligated to “Friend” every “friend” that I went to high school with?  I actually recently deleted my Facebook for an indefinite amount of time to see just how much it affects the way I will be able to interact with the people I consider close friends and family.  

Here is an article, 7 Ways to be Insufferable on Facebook, that makes me laugh but also has some truths to the way social networking is manipulated by some people.

I, personally, happen to like Twitter a lot more.  I have a more secluded group of friends who share similar interests and it’s given me access to communicate with different companies and public personalities in a personal way.  I get real time updates from San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency about bus route delays and funny quips from my favorite comedians all in one feed! As I approach my professional career I’ve started wondering if maybe I need to create two separate accounts.  I don’t post anything I would be embarassed by but I am definitely more no-holds-barred.  I can be a witty cynic at times, but still have insightful and thoughtful things to say in 140 characters!  Something to consider more seriously in the coming weeks, I suppose.

Regardless, there is no arguing that social networking has major advantages to the way our modern lives are run.  It’s that tricky fine line between how we use it and how self-aware we are of what we are saying that can make or break what we get out of it. 

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