Sunday, February 23, 2014

Working as One

            Have you ever had that friend that when you are standing in a group of people they just walk up behind you and rub their butt on your leg and you just start laughing but everyone else just has that look of awkwardness? Or you have those certain inside jokes with family and friends, which is what is a part of Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT) by Ernest Bormann. What this theory is the sharing of similar interest through communication with the use of tasks, that allows the group to get work done, and social functions, help the group have fun and enjoy the work they are doing.
            There are many aspect of this theory that help you to understand SCT better, one part of it is the dramatizing message that according to Bormann is the comments or actions done by a group member that is imaginative, paint a picture in your head and are usually not related to current situation. Such as in the anime show Beyblade, it’s one of my favorites, there’s a scene that happens in the ninth episode of the first season where the characters Kenny, Max, Tyson and Ray are talking about their other member Kai who has walked away and then out of nowhere Tyson yells, “Who’s up for some pizza!” This caused Kenny and Max to look at him like he was crazy but Ray started to laugh at it. Here’s a video with this scene, start watching at 17:40. This is what a dramatizing message does it causes you to react.
            This scene also is related to the next aspect that is the fantasy chain which is when others in the group contribute to the message and create a story around the message (Bormann). In this scene from Beyblade the others start to agree with Tyson on getting food and the story gets bigger. The same thing happens when working on a group project and someone brings up a TV show that they watch and the others say that they watch it too and then everyone starts talking about the show and what happens. These fantasy chains can even become public the more you share the story with other people outside the group, they may not get the reaction as quick but they still get it and share what they think about what was shared at the beginning.
            The next aspect is the symbolic cue or something that triggers the memory of that first response to the fantasy chain and message (Bormann). This can be anything, for me it refers back to what I said about your friend coming up to you in a group of people and rubbing their butt on your leg. This is something my best friend, Devin, does to me often and every time she does it we just act like it’s a normal thing that happens, but to others its weird and awkward and they end up walking away then Devin and I just start laughing. It can be this or it can be someone saying something from the TV show that reminds everyone of the moment. This also can be inside jokes that you have with friends and family, for example the show Whose Line Is It Anyway, they have a lot of inside jokes that can happen in one show that they use throughout the rest of the show, check out this video of their inside jokes to get a better idea:
            The final aspect of SCT is symbolic convergence where the group members develop a unique mind set, members become more of a team not a me, and there’s cohesiveness between them (Bormann). For example in high school I was a part of the dance team and being a part of that team and group we had to work as a team and make sure that everyone was on same page. So for the unique mind set of the dance team we had to be able to learn the moves and help each other out. We were a team and no one was to being anything outside the group to practice.  As for working with cohesiveness, we had to learn to be one unit and work united. As a dance team you have to move as one unit not separate people, because if one person moves outside of the unit then points can be taken away from the total score. During the state championship there is a moment went all teams dance together as one unit in what is called the Grand Finally. Here is a video of the 2012 state Grand Finally to show the cohesion that all the teams have even though they are competing against each other.
            By going through these steps, even though we don’t even know it, can help us break down that wall we have when it comes to working in groups and helps us to realize that we all are reaching for the same goal. Like in school projects it’s getting a good grade and doing your part so that the others don’t fail. And then this can help there to be a better group communication by that fact that you found those similarities between members and you can talk to them outside the group project and just being able to count on them when you are in a tight spot.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Social Media and Texting Challenge

                We all know that when the internet was invented and we were able to access it anywhere from any device, we stopped talking to people on the phone and choose to text them instead. We also use social media like facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and tumblr, known as Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), to communicate with the world and others. Due to this we become dependent on those things that we can’t go a single day without logging on into one of these social media websites or texting someone about our day instead of choosing to call them and hear their voice.
            Another part of this concept is the theory discovered by Joseph Walker called the Social Information Processing (SIP). In this theory Walker explains that relationships can only grow if both parties participating exchange information about one another to then form impersonal impressions of who they person is they are talking to. By combining Sip with CMC, Walker explains that when we engage in CMC we are missing the non-verbal and verbal cues that we see in face-to-face communication that helps us to create a better understanding of who that person is. With CMC we are forced to create that person with just the words they use and how long it takes for them to reply to our messages and that can always make the person seem like they really don’t want to talk to you because they don’t reply right away or that they could be mad at when they say, “oh alright,” because you don’t what tone they are using.
            In order to better understand how much we depend on CMC and SIP, I have taking on a 48 hour challenge of not using any type of social media. However, through doing this challenge I only mange to make it for 12 hours and the reason why I cracked was because I received an important email from an advisor, and I didn’t have her number to call her, that I needed to reply right away to. It wasn’t very hard for me to not use CMC, I guess it was because I let anyone who I usually talk to what I was doing and although my roommate kept texting me from her room when I was in mine, I just went into her room to talk to her. I think what makes going through this challenge hard are those messages from people in our lives that we only have the use of CMC to communicate with them. Yet, really enjoyed trying out this challenge, I was able to get a lot of homework done that probably wouldn’t have gotten done otherwise.
            I suggest that everyone should try to do this 48 hour challenge of no social media or texting and for you to see how long you can last, then reflect on why you cracked.