Sunday, February 23, 2014

Online Romeo

If you didn't already get this from the trailer, this TV show "Catfish", is about people trying to figure out if their online love is actually who they say they are.

Online love?! This wouldn't have been said 20 years ago, but in this day and age, their are countless couples that are developing relationships just from chatting over the internet. Just look at all the sites meant for online dating. They range from the general (Eharmony) to the specific (Farmers Only).

Do these relationships, Computer Mediated Relationships as they are often called, share the same intimacy as relationships that develop face to face? That was the question that we were asked. The following is my answer (Warning: please don't hate me if you have an online relationship)

We can answer this question in terms of Social Information Processing Theory. This theory details the development of online relationships. There are a few assumptions that I think both explain this theory and explain my own answer.

Now let me first say, if you have an online relationship and it's working for you, go for it. Who am I to judge, I've never been in one. This is just my own opinion.

Anyways, here they are:
1. It provides unique opportunities to interact with people.
2. You are more likely to develop a favorable impression of yourself.
3. They require more time and more interactions to become intimate.

As far as the first assumption, it totally is a good way to meet people. But, that's exactly it, meet people. I think that eventually you need the connection of sharing a personal space.

The second assumption, you are more likely to develop a favorable few. Yes, this is totally true. And sure, even in face to face dating, you tend to put on a front till you get to know someone. But I think that it is our flaws and the quirks that make someone know the real us and like those things, I don't believe you can learn that from someone that can calculate their answers. It works with the picture above!

The third assumption, they require more to develop intimately. While it may be easy to reveal more behind the screen, that is not the only sign of intimacy. After a while, there will need to be more forms of intimacy.

You could look at this a totally different way. There is even something called hyperpersonal perspective which suggest that online relationships can become even more intimate than those that are face-to-face. 

And there is no reason that couldn't be true, but you need to eventually move it to a face to face interaction. You need to see the person, get feedback, be vulnerable and not think through every move. 

I would always be worried personally about warranting. A part of this theory that says, "the perceived legitimacy and validity of information about another person that one may receive or observe online". 

Now, it may not always be cat-fishing situation, but when people can calculate their answers, the information doesn't always reveal itself in the way it should be. 

I don't want to seem like a devils advocate, I think that all relationships are unique but as far as relationships becoming intimate, I think that we are wired to want to be with someone face to face.

But who knows?! Maybe I'll look back at this post years from now and wonder how I could think this way.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

No... I'm sorry to tell you that this post has little to do with Beyonce. She's just there to get you to click the link! Also, she is totally the fiercest person on the planet so she had to make it on a blogpost.

But really, click the link! That has a little more to do with the post that you're about to read. 
                ....and yes, it does have to do work #sorry.

So let me get to the point, we're going to talk about Organizational Culture Theory. In addition to hearing all about this theory, you also get to hear about my work life (yay you!).

I've been working as part of International Services for close to a year and I am very lucky to do so.

My work is considered an organization and thus it has some basic assumptions we can follow according to this theory. 

1. The people in the organization create and maintain a shared sense of organizational reality, making it easier for them to understand the values of the organization.

2. The use of interpretation of symbols is super important to understanding the organizations culture.
(more on this below!)

3. Each organization has their own and unique culture and interpretations within these cultures can vary.

So these symbols we mentioned are important to the organization. They define the culture and help understand it as a whole.

Ill give you an example of each and compare it to my own work culture. 

Physical symbol- includes such things as building/decor and dress. The dress of our work is on the casual side. Most of the full-time employees wear business casual, while the student workers can more informal styles. I personally wear yoga pants 4/5 days! This makes the office as a whole more approachable and relaxed.

There are also behavioral symbols- ceremonies/rituals/customs. This is like when someone leaves or office, they always get their own lunch to say goodbye. Usual fit with ice cream! 

Verbal symbols- jokes/names/metaphors. My favorite student worker is called Simon (his name is Trevor) because his sassy nature reminds us of Simon Cowell.

In addition, one big part of the office culture is performance. West and Turner (class text, check citation below) suggest that this is "a metaphor that suggest a symbolic process of understanding human behavior in an organization". 

These performances can include rituals which mean they are performances that are regular and reoccurring. Such as personal, task, social, and organizational. Other performances are passion, social, political and enculturation. Obviously you don't want to read about all of them so let's go through a few and you'll get an idea of how they operate!

Social performances- these show cooperation and politeness. My personal job entails mostly individual work on the computer. I'm in an area most people don't pass. But, if anyone walks by, it can be guaranteed that both of us will wave hello and say general greetings.

Then there are passion performances, stories that we tell. Every time we come back from checking immigration documents of 1000 students, you can guarantee that we will have stories to share.

Working on the computer makes a lot of my work checking different programs and emails. Making some of these personal rituals. My boss and I often participate in task rituals together, going to Immigration Check ins, Visa checks and other projects.

My job as you can see, is a more approachable and casual environment, as far as a student worker goes. These rituals and performances and symbols all help to dictate that and dictate the culture of the organization. 

I'm sure you're about done hearing about my own job. But, if you want to learn more about these rituals and performances, check them out for yourself. I bet that they can apply to your own organization or work!

Credit to Richard West and Lynn H. Turner for their book "Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Application" for helping me out with the assumptions and quotes! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I am a Feminist. Don't be Afraid.

Let me please introduce you to Liz.

Liz Lemon is a character on the tv show 30 Rock. As her boss describes her, she is a feminist. 

Does that scare you?! Because most people are afraid of feminism(ists). Most (not all) people still believe that feminists are men-hating, bra-burning, no shaving, yelling monsters. 

Be honest, this is probably what you thought of.

Yes, feminists tend to be outspoken. But, to me, it is what the theory and practice of feminism needs. 

We were posed a series of questions about Feminist Standpoint Theory in our class. The first was this to analyze the following statement.

Dominant groups in society have little motivation to understand non dominant group.
I believe that in accordance with the Feminist Standpoint Theory (FST) that this would be true. Let me explain why.
There are five assumptions in FST are assumptions that they believe dictate the way the world works. I will try and explain them in basic terms, so both you and I are on the same page.
1. Having social classes makes it hard to understand how people interact.

2. When the classes (groups) are different, they will believe the others lives are opposite of their own. Trying to understand the dominant group can be negative and often not the whole story.

3. Whatever the dominant group believes, the rest of society is expected to follow.

4. The lesser of the groups have a vision that represents struggle and achievement.

5. Understanding the lesser group can open your eyes to the inequality and can help us create a better world.

Doesn't seem too complicated, right?! Yet, I believe it almost perfectly answers the question we were first asked.

The dominant group are living in the world that they want. They create it, while everyone else just lives in it. Often, their motivation for understanding, would come from a selfish standpoint of trying to improve their own world.

Otherwise, what motivation would the dominant group have? Now, this is making some large assumptions. But, unless they have some underlying drive or passion for the lives of others, they wouldn't have a reason to understand the other groups.

Even though this statement is true, it is what Feminists are trying to fight against. Another major part of FST is that knowledge we gain, is mostly produced by our place in society. We walk and talk like those around us.

The dominant group is talking in their own way, their communication is different. But, understanding how others communicate can be monumental. It can change our world and as feminists believe, it can change it for the better.

There was one last question we were asked...

Does this statement lead to the common belief that feminism is inextricably linked to activism?
My answer is yes, and I believe that other feminists would feel the same (yes, I just admitted to being a feminist). It may not be activism in the protesting, yelling and chaining yourself to buildings way. But activism in making a concentrated effort to have people understand your world and in turn, understanding theirs.
The dominant group may have little motivation to understand the lesser, but that doesn't mean that the war is loss. Make the subordinate group the dominant one.
Be a Liz Lemon, don't be ashamed. 

Credit to Richard West and Lynn H. Turner for their book "Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Application" for helping me out with the assumptions.