What Makes a Good Villain?

Here are the main points I gathered from the assigned podcast (found here: http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/03/23/writing-excuses-episode-7-villains/)  on what makes a good villain:

A good villain:

  • is relateable/understandable
  • has flaws (it makes them more interesting)
  • Makes life tougher for the people in the story that we like
  • thinks he’s the hero of his own story
  • occasionally uses ends that justify the means (sometimes people like to read this kind of plot twist)
  • is logical

There are two types of villains: the understandable/everyman villain (ex: Gollum) and the superman villain who is all-powerfully evil (Ex: Sauron).  An all-powerfully evil villain is as evil as can be, and they’re kind of boring because they’re more of a static force of nature.  An everyman villian is much more interesting, because they have personality.  People can look at the villain, and understand why the villain is evil, whether or not they agree with the reasoning.  Good villains are smart, think things out, make sense, and are relateable to the readers.  

 

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Community Involvement

I decided to make this interesting and answer most of the odd questions.

1. In Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community,” he discusses a decline in social interaction in the 20th century. He talks about how engagement has declined in various organizations, religious services, club meetings and other communities. How can a person’s education predict his/her level of involvement in civil life? 

I feel like the more a person has been educated (whether it be through years of experience in a field or just a classroom education), the more they realize how important community structure is for success.  I think people who have been more educated are more likely to recognized a desire or civil duty to get involved with religion, clubs, and other community.  The probably also have better jobs, which means they make more money while working fewer hours, which means they probably have more time and means to participate in community organizations.

3. One form of social capital is official membership in volunteer organizations. According to Putnam, there are three main types of volunteer organizations in American society: (1) Community-based organizations, (2) church-based organizations and (3) work-based organizations. Which of these types of organizations do you get most involved with? 

Would a work-based organization really be a volunteer organization if you’re getting paid for it?  Just a thought.

I am most involved in church-based organizations, because that’s the easiest way for me to be involved.  I’ve been a member all my life, so I’m already at church.  Therefore, it’s easier for me to be involved with church.  Besides, our church is all about volunteering service.  That’s what we do.  When I want to volunteer, I usually do it through church, or through Y-Serve (through BYU, which is sponsored by the church).  So, just about all my volunteering is with church-based organizations.

 5. Putnam gives a few examples of informal social connections in his book and characterizes two different types of people: Machers and Schmoozers. Machers are people who make things happen in the community and are all around “good citizens.” They follow current trends, follow politics and work on community projects. Schmoozers are people who spend time in informal conversation and communion. They tend to host dinner parties, play cards and throw barbecues. Are you a Macher or a schmoozer? What characterizes you as such? 

(Side-note: this question caught my eye, because I speak German, and  “der Macher” is the German word for a doer.  Schmooze sounds like it should be a German word, but it’s not. )

Can I be a schmachzer?  Like a mix between the two?  Maybe with a slight tendency towards schmoozing?  Ok, a heaving leaning toward schmoozing?

I think people would love to be more involved, but they have a difficult time finding the time to do so.  For instance, in high school, I used to watch the news with my parents.  I knew what was going on, and I had opinions about it.  Now I’m in college.  I don’t have a TV connection (we have a TV to watch movies, but we don’t actually have network or cable tv because it’s such an ancient TV and the cable connection in my apartment doesn’t work).  I don’t watch the news.  Occasionally I get updates on the news from the New York Times app, but overall, I don’t know a whole lot about what’s happening in the world.  I would love to know more, but I would rather spend the little free time I do have to know what’s going on in my immediate bubble.  So, I get on facebook instead, or learn about current social trends or what my friends are doing.  Or, I watch a movie with friends, or just spend time talking.   Sometimes we’re just silly, sometimes we actually have serious conversations about society, cultures, value systems, etc…   I like to make time for service projects occasionally, but overall, I like to try to help the people around me.  Sometimes I’m not very good at it, but I try.  I guess maybe many Americans tend to be more involved in their smaller social circles that it’s harder to measure involvement on the larger community scale.

Top 10 Influencers & Key Words

Here are the Top 10 Professional Influencers for WesterCon:

  1. Cory Doctorow (witer, blogger activist): 314 K followers
  2. Brandon Sanderson (Author): 60 K followers
  3. Fantasy Ficiton (Fantasy forum comunity, @Fantasy Fiction): 29.4K followers
  4. Mary Robinette Kowal (hug0-award winning author and professinoal puppeteer): 10.9 K followers
  5. Howard Tayler (cartoonist, author): 7,268 followers
  6. Dan Wells (author): 5,640 followers
  7. Larry Correia (author of NYT-bestselling Monster Hunter series): 3,691 followers
  8. Chris Garcia (fanzine editor, museum curator, co-runner): 824 followers
  9. Kevin Standlee (@KevinStandlee, he’s a fan, but could have connections to many professionals or aspiring writers): 412 followers
  10. Bobbie DuFault (writer for Microsoft, is following WesterCon67): 229 followers

Keywords:

Keword:                            Total Pages:                                     Avg. Monthly Searches

writing contests 54900000 8100
steps to writing a book 121000000 1300
writing books 1080000000 720
tips on writing a book 145000000 590
help writing a book 832000000 210
creative writing courses 57800000 480
online writing courses 727000000 1300
writing a novel 199000000 2900
how to write an ebook 164000000 1600

Hello? Hello? Are you there? You’re Phubbing.

Can you hear me?  I see you  curled up on the couch, but where are you?   Oh, your thumbs are flying.  You must be texting.  Now you’ve got headphones in.  You must be watching a YouTube video.  Now you’re swiping the screen.  You must be scrolling through facebook, or pinning on pinterest.  You’re slashing at the screen–oh, it’s fruit ninja.  Are you there?  You’re phubbing.

In a world where we we can use our electronics for just about anything, it’s hard to remember to take time out for the more important things on life.   Here’s a few responses to some of Emily’s team’s thought-provoking prompts on the matter:

3. Why do we treat electronics as our most prized possessions?

Because they’re pretty much the most expensive things I own! If anything happens to them, it’s a lot harder to replace them.  The other things is because they’re so multi-purpose.  I’m reliant on my electronics.  I use my laptop for school, occasionally for work, for church, and for personal use (both just for fun or for social purposes).  I use my phone the same way.  It’s essential to have it.  Try telling your group members or employer you don’t have a phone.  It doesn’t work long-term. People expect you to be available and capable of getting info.  You need electronics to be a highly-contributing student or worker in this more urban  society of Provo, UT.

4. How do you feel when someone is using his or her phone during a conversation with you?  Do you do this too?  Why?

It drives me nuts.  There’s a term for it too: phubbing.  It’s snubbing someone for your phone.  (See http://stopphubbing.com/).

In my personal opinion, it’s worse if they snub you while they’re texting a boy.  I don’t mind if they need to answer a quick text, take a quick phone call, look up an address, or send a quick email to take care of something important.  However, if they’re just passing the time between texts by pretending to have an un-related conversation with you, it is the MOST annoying thing in the world!  I used to do this before I knew any better, but I don’t do it anymore because I realized how disrespectful it is.  It’s not as bad if you weren’t actually having a conversation together, but if two people are engaged in a conversation, and 1 person repeatedly disregards the other person in favor of their phone, it’s annoying.

5. Are you in control of your electronics, are are they in control of you?  Give examples.

I am in control.  I refuse to pass off the blame to my electronics. 🙂  Sometimes it is easy to exercise poor control over your electronics.  It’s been a joke in my apartment recently.  When six of us started out as roommates last summer, none of us had a smart phone.  We used to joke about our dumb phones.  Then, I got a smart phone.  A few months later, Carol, our second-smart phone owner, moved in.  Then, Heather got a smart phone.  Then Janae, another smart-phone owner, moved in.  Then Haven and Becca got smart-phones on the same day!  As of about two weeks ago, the whole apartment had smartphones!  One day we were sitting in the living room and Becca (who’s phone was in her room) says, “Hey, everyone’s on their phones!  You all are just having a phone party!”   We used to hate it when people would be on their phones all the time, and then we were doing it!  So, after a little bit, we put our phones away and all made breakfast together.  Case in point: It’s easy to exercise poor control, but if you’re aware it’s a problem, you can do something about it.

One of my roommates told me her goal this year was to focus on being present.  That means that wherever you are, you focus on what’s going on there.  She’s great, because when she comes home, you know she’s ready to socialize.  She still does some homework at home or texts, but you know that when she’s having a conversation with you, she’s focused on the conversation, not the homework or the phone.

6.  Would you rather have no phone at a party for 4 hours straight or spend the night playing on your phone with friends who are playing on their phone.  Why? 

It depends on who will be there and if there’s anything fun happening at the party.  If I’m really comfortable with the friends there, then I’d take a 4-hour, phone-free party any day.  It sounds a lot more fun!  Playing on your phone by yourself can be really fun, but you lose all the interaction you have with other human beings.  There’s something about face to face communication, sharing the same experience, and being able to laugh with one another that’s just unbeatable.

7. Do you prefer texting or calling?

If it’s something easy to say/ask/explain, I prefer texting.  That tends to work better for me, because I’m in work/class/buildingswhere I can’t talk (like the library) a l0t.  I like texting because I can access it silently when I want, and for however long I want.  Voicemail takes too much time, and it’s a little loud.

If something takes explaining, or I’m walking somewhere, then I prefer calling.   If someone doesn’t answer their phone, I send them a text or an email communicating whatever I wanted to say, or I just ask them to call me back.   I like it when people do the same for me.

Blog Post Questions for Monday

1. In what ways have access to online digital networks put more power in the hands of the citizens of countries?

In what ways have access to online digital networks put more power in the hands of the citizens of countries?

Ex. Facebook’s impact on the overthrown of the Egyptian government

2. Has the Internet helped create a stronger sense of community in our society, or has community been lost due to the Internet?

 For example: are there differences between online communities/networks vs. in-person communities? are there limitations for both types of communities? Is one community stronger than the other?

3. What do you think a cyberculture looks like?  What does a cyberculture member look like?  How do they act? 

Think of the Mac vs. PC images.  What about traditional corporate business world vs. the techno-savvy generation?

4. How has the introduction of the ‘personal computer’ and ‘the World Wide Web’ changed our way of life?

     For example: Has communication, knowledge, relationships, news, entertainment, privacy (pretty much all aspects of life) been changed because of these technological advances? Could our lives go on with out these technological advancements?

5. Should governments or businesses regulate/censor the internet within their own country, or should the internet remain open worldwide?  Why or why not?

Ex:   China censors their internet.  What kind of problems does this create in a world-wide community? What would happen if everyone regulated the internet?  What would happen if there was no regulation?

10 Tweets and 5 Facebook Posts

10 Tweets:

  1. On April 1st: Today is Sydney Newman’s birthday, creator of Dr. Who.  Who’s work inspires you as a writer?  Get inspired by @WesterCon67.
  2. Two free WesterCon tickets to the person with the funniest science fiction book quote.  Tweet #westercon67.  READY, SET, GO!
  3. Caption contest (use a picture of someone in costume from the last WesterCon)!  Caption with most favorites wins 2 free tickets to @WesterCon67!
  4. What’s your funniest writing prompt?  Tweet with the hashtag #westercon67 for a chance to win an autographed Brandon Sanderson book.
  5. Caption Contest Round 2!
  6. New items available in Brandon Sanderson’s store at http://www.17thshard.com/news/brandon-news/new-items-in-brandons-store-r147!  Listen to him @WesterCon67 (westercon67.org)
  7. (On March 4th–scheduled release date of Brandon Sanderson’s book): Brandon Sanderson’s sequel, Words of Radiance, comes out today!  Bring it to @WesterCon67 (westercon67.org) to get it autographed!
  8. Check out this awesome interview with Brandon Sanderson: http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/836.Brandon_Sanderson.  Come hear him live @WesterCon67 (Westercon67.org).
  9. Connect with other writers @WesterCon67 (westercon67.0rg) #scifi #fantasy #writing
  10. Has anybody seen taco bell’s saucy hot sauce packets?  What scifi story would you write based on this packet?

(Picture from: (Picture from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=144420631862&set=o.253760834836&type=3&theater)

 

5 Facebook/Pinterest Posts:

Share memes with posts:

1. What are you writing about for NANOWRIMO this year?   Get geared up at WesterCon 67 on July 3-6th in Salt Lake City, and hear from greats like Brandon Sanderson and Cory Doctorow.

(Meme from here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/national-novel-writing-month)

2.  Got writer’s block?  Need some inspiration?  Sign up for WesterCon67 at westercon67.org and get inspired by authors like Brandon Sanderson and Cory Doctorow.

(Meme from: http://alexvox.com/?p=256)

3. Come mingle with other free-lance writers and learn about their secrets at @WesterCon67 (westercon67.org).

(meme from: http://watchoutformama.blogspot.com/2012/02/trendy-meme.html)

4.  Calling all SciFi/Fantasy Writers: come mingle with other writers and get inspired @WesterCon67.  Learn more at westercon67.org.

(Meme from: http://www.google.com/imgres?rlz=1C1ASUT_enUS462US462&espvd=210&es_sm=122&biw=1366&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbnid=hc5oFtJze-5FRM%3A&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmemegenerator.net%2Finstance%2F35320404&docid=JF-7W24nNQrFKM&imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn.memegenerator.net%2Finstances%2F400x%2F35320404.jpg&w=400&h=400&ei=BfIEU8ukNIyFogTj0YLABA&zoom=1&ved=0CKsBEIQcMBs&iact=rc&dur=750&page=2&start=16&ndsp=26)

5.  (As suggested in class): SciFi and Fantasy Writers: Come to Utah, the home of all things awesome!  Connect with other writers, hear from famous authors like Brandon Sanderson and Cory Doctorow, see awesome constumes, and explore the beauty of Utah!  Learn more at westercon67.org.

(video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAJYk1jOhzk)

Transparency and Efficiency of Social Media Marketing

1. How have social media and the internet changed the way businesses (and more specifically, the entertainment industry) approach marketing and advertising?  (Example: A great Batman campaign by 42 Entertainment, highlighted in this YouTube video)

Businesses can be a lot more open now.  It seems like before there was always this sort of wall between the business and consumer, but social media made that wall transparent.   A relatively new, local candy store in Provo posted on Facebook, asking it’s customers what kinds of retro candy they would like to see in the store.

popnsweets

This is an example of very open communication between businesses and consumers.  Entertainment industries often do the same thing.  In class last week we talked about how Gleeks (lovers of the TV show Glee) could have a say in what would happen in the show.  There’s a greater transparency with social media.

2. In what ways has social media changed the ways fans can interact or get involved with a television show or movie?  (Example: Twitter and mad men)

Haha!  JIMMY FALLON HASHTAGS!  He used to do sarcastic thank-you notes, which were pretty hilarious.  I don’t know if he still does the thank-you notes (anyone else know?) but he does do a lot of hashtags now.  Every Wednesday fans can tweet to a hashtag provided by the Jimmy Fallon show.  He then chooses his favorites, and every Wednesday he reads them off.   They’re pretty hilarious, and encourage quite a bit of interaction with the show.  It also gets people more aware of and involved with the Jimmy Fallon.   This is my favorite Hashtags video:

 

3. How has social media allowed the entertainment industry to shift more of the load of advertising and marketing to the consumers? (Example: Carl’s Jr. saved money by turning to YouTube)

Social media is genius, because for the low cost of writing a post or making a simple YouTube video, consumers will take care of spreading the message.  The consumers themselves will market and advertise.  For example, has anybody seen the broken springboard YouTube video?  There’s a couple versions out there, but I bet you didn’t know it was a commercial.  Check it out:

Craftsmen Tools, Sears, and Nascar all won big on the video.  I first found out about that video because several of my friends posted it on Facebook.   Sears and Nascar put the video out there, and the consumers took care of the rest of the advertising and marketing by sharing and talking about the video.  It’s a genius model.

4. Is there a point in which a story (deep media) can become too immersive? Can fans become too involved?

I don’t know that that point has been reached yet.   Fans can get too involved than is good for their own health, but I don’t know that I’ve heard of a time when over-zealous fans as a whole ruined a story or deep media.  The fans are the people who love the story, so they aren’t going to hate something they helped create.  Fans can get too involved personally.  We often hear stories and studies about people playing too many video games, or getting caught up in virtual worlds of fiction or fantasy.  Still, I can’t think of any examples where fans as a whole were too involved in a story.

Gotta be Funny to Go Viral

For today’s blog post, I’m going to address question 5 about virality:  Is humor simply a matter of taste or is it a vehicle?

Humor is a vehicle.   I pondered and pondered, but couldn’t come up with one single viral video that wasn’t humorous.   Here’s a list of the videos that popped into my mind (with links, for your enjoyment).  There may be an exception to the humor vehicle theory, but I honestly can’t think of one, and when I google “Viral Videos 2013”, all the results are funny videos.

 

There’s a few reasons why humor is a vehicle:

1. It’ easy to remember.  

Who can forget “What does the fox say?”  That’s an easy rhyme, and the song will get stuck in your head.  It’s easy to search, easy to quote, and easy to share.

2. People will watch it over and over again.

How many times did you watch Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” song with the goat?  It’s kind of addicting.  You just want to see it again and again.  That boosts the number of views, which translates into virality.

3. People are more likely to share something funny with friends than something serious

Let’s say someone made a Christmas YouTube video of their family that was really traditional and serious.  You probably wouldn’t share it with your friends because they wouldn’t really care.  If you share something humorous, like the Christmas Jammies Video, then they’ll care more.  Also, no one wants to be that preachy friend who’s always talking about serious stuff.  Sometimes people just want to be that fun friend who makes you smile, so they share a funny video with you.  The more times the video is shared, the more viral it is.  The world is pretty serious already, so there’s a demand for funny movies so every can take a breath a relax for a 2-minute YouTube video.

Also, usually videos are shared with social media.  Usually when people are on their social media, it’s when they need a break from something, like work, or homework, or just life.  So they go online.  They don’t want to share serious things as often as they want to share fun things.

4. It’s easy to connect over something humorous; it’s relatable.

OK, one more video.  My friends and I really relate with “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That”

(Really only the first minute and a half are important.  Please excuse the language in the middle part of the video.  Skip 1:23-1:29 and 1:46-2:04 to avoid the part where she takes the Lord’s name in vain.  A lot of people just don’t know better than to do that).

Sometimes, when a teacher assigns something that seems like busy work, my friends and I will say to each other, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”  Or, when we’re feeling stressed about all the things we have to do, we’ll quote the movie again.  It’s easy to connect, we can quote it together, and we can relate to the quote.

All in all, there may be an exception to the humor as a vehicle rule, but I honestly thing that nine times out of ten, you’ll need humor as a vehicle to make something go viral in social media.

 

 

Social Media’s Impact, and How JCP Flipped a Flaw into a Dynamite Campaign

1. How has social media changed our perception of who is a professional/expert in a given field? ex. photographer?

Someone with good social media can now be considered an expert.  Here’s why:  For someone to be an expert, we need proof.  In the days before social media, we needed some kind of proof we could all understand, like a college degree, or experience with a company.  Now, we have social media.  People can show us the proof online, through pictures, tweets, FB posts, blog posts, etc… that they are experts at what they do.  They may not be formally trained, but because of their social media, they don’t have to.  They already prove to us that they are experts.  

For instance, before, we used to want to have professional photographers.  Now, just about anyone with a nice camera, who has nice pictures on their pinterest/FB page/blog/website is considered to be a photographer.  We also have tons of photo-sharing platforms, like flickr, pentax, 500pix, etc… where people can rate pictures, give critiques, etc…  Several of my brothers are into photography. 

My brother Ryan likes 500pix: 

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Here’s one from my brother, Trevor, on the Pentax photo gallery (which is also genius social media for the Pentax business):

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These are the same kinds of sites that professionals often post to.  Because of social media, amateurs are in the same realm as professionals.  The same goes for singer sensations on YouTube, and so forth.  

 

 

2. How has social media changed business management?

It is crucial to business management to have good social media.  Upcoming generations use social media to research a product.  If they can’t find anything about you online, they’re liable to think you’re a shady company. You also need to have someone to maintain and curate the social media.  That means you have to pay more people to do that, but the benefit will most likely outweigh the cost, as long as the social media marketing is done well.

 

3. What have we lost because of the freedom social media gives us?

Someone mentioned in one of their blog posts that people focus more on capturing a moment than taking time to enjoy the moment. I would have to agree with that.  Sometimes it’s a little comical.  I saw this on my FB feed the other day, and it made me crack up.

Image

 

This is totally today’s generation.  However, I contend that even though it’s easy to get caught up in capturing the moment, often the capturing part is the memory that is so fun.  For example, these girls will probably look back on this picture and laugh when they remember their day of sight-seeing together.  

4. What is your birthday?

It’s a holiday. One of my friends likes to call it an appreciation day for the person who was born.  

Image

 

It’s also a day when you feel really special because your friends tell you Happy Birthday on Facebook, and you get a lot of notifications.  

 

5. Because users can post instantaneously, how has this affected the quality of the content?

Hahaha, TYPOS!   But here’s someone who the problem of typos to their benefit: 

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JCP is so smart.  They didn’t spend any money on Superbowl ads, but they got a lot of attention with their typos on their Superbowl tweets.  Prior to the game, they tweeted about their Olympics GO USA mittens shown below.  Then during the game, they had several typos, and blamed it on the mittens.  

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(Mittens available here: http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/go-usa-mittens/prod.jump?ppId=pp5003600298&cm_re=S2-_-PP-_-MITTENS).

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Several people got in on the dialogue.  The US Olympics commented.  Several individual people commented.  JCP followed up positively, too (see the tweets from Dale Glenn and JCP below).  Nokia tried to throw in a little plug for the Nokia Lumia    

Image

 

Before the “Tweeting with Mittens” hashtag, someone conjectured that JCP’s representative was drunk, so Kia Motors got in on the action and asked JCP if they needed a designated driver.  

 

(Image

 

The Olympics team also made a video about other things that are hard to to do with mittens (http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi-2014/Features/2013/November/19/Video-Olympic-And-Paralympic-Athletes-Test-Go-USA-Fan-Mittens).  JCP showed some goodwill towards Snickers and Doritos, and tweeted a picture of eating those items with the mittens.

Image

 

GMA got in on the action and tweeted a pic of tweeting with mittens as well.  JCP reinfored their interaction by retweeting GMA’s tweets.  

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JCP was genius.  They utilized a simple flaw in social media to create a trending campaign that not only took the Superbowl by a storm, but swept over into the Olympics as well.  It’s so smart.  We need to do cool stuff like that with our Social Media clients.

 

Group Work: The Good and the Bad

A Response to The Questions for Wednesday’s Class:

1. How can incentives impact the dynamics of a group or community?

We talked about Prisoner’s Dilemma in class.  If the group is given an incentive that requires them to work together for everyone to benefit, the group will work well together.  If the group receives an incentive that pits them against each other, then they are not as likely to work together, because each individual person will be concerned with their own welfare.  If the group receives an incentive that is only dependent on one person’s work,and the rest of the group can slack off, then other group members are likely to take it easy while one person does the majority of the work.  The impact of an incentive depends on the reward structure of the  incentive.

2. What are some of the costs and benefits of group participation (compare that to individual action)?

Let’s do some pros and cons, shall we?

Pros of Group Work:

  • More motivation to do stuff, because you know someone else will hold you accountable
  • Sometimes you become really good friends with group members
  • Easier to set aside a time to all come together and work, rather than having to slave away by yourselves.
  • You’re not alone.  It’s a little less overwhelming than doing it by yourself.

Cons of Group Work:

  • One person might get stuck doing all the work
  • If you divvy up assignments in a process, you might be stuck waiting for someone to do their part so you can do yours
  • Coordinating schedules….oh goodness is that difficult, especially with college students.  It means you often have group meetings really late in the evening, because that’s the only time when someone doesn’t have class or work.

Pros of Individual Action:

  • You can do what you want to how you want to
  • You can do it when you want to
  • You can often get it done in less time (because you don’t have to go to meetings, discuss things, etc), but maybe not as good
  • Your ideas are always the best of the team, because you’re the only one in your team!

Cons of Individual Action:

  • Easy to procrastinate
  • Can seem overwhelming by yourself
  • Lonely

Most of these apply to group projects, because that’s the majority of my experience with group work.  However, here’s a little nugget: it’s more fun to listen to a group project presented by two or more students rather than a long lecture presented by one student.  The same applies to social media.  It’s more fun to listen to your friend’s conversations about a product/brand/event than it is to hear that product/brand/event tooting it’s own horn.  Groups and social interaction are incredibly important for the success of a business.  It’s like we talked about in class.  We need connectivity, centrality, transitivity, etc…

3. What are the effects of consensus in a group?

If everyone agrees, it’s easier to work together.  Agreeing means you have the same goal.  You can work more efficiently if everyone is working towards the same goal, rather than having everyone working in different directions.

4. Is it better to be a part of a large group/community or a small group/community?

I think it is better to be part of a large group/community and then to form smaller subgroups within that community. The benefit of that model is that there is always room to grow and expand.

For example, let’s say a bagel business in New York hires you to help them with their social media.  Being in New York, they’re just another bagel shop.  People may not notice them very much.  It is harder to make connections in a bigger group.  So, they’ve got to start building a smaller sub-group from the people in New York for people to notice them.  They need to leverage their social ties fo a chance to grow.  We might start out having all their friends and family like the facebook page, and offer incentives for people who visit the shop to like the page on facebook, tweet, or foursquare that they’re there.  Then, we might try to have our more famous customers like our page.  We might have daily contests, neighborhood specials, or posts about bagels and life, or stuff like that.  Soon, we would grow a small sub-group of New York that is part of this bagel shop’s community. From there, we can only expound outward.    However, if we had a bagel shop in a small town, then we could only survive if all the people in that small town gave us business.  If a bigger better bagel shop comes to town, we’re out of business.  However, in a larger community, there is more opportunity to succeed.  You just have to work a little harder.

5. How do social pressures affect the dynamics of a group?

Everyone is influenced by social pressures.  As it influences the individual members of a group, it influences the group. Let’s take Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign for example.  It seems like before, the group, or society, was more focused on how to fit in, how to be beautiful, how to be part of the “beautiful” crowd.  Then Dove released their Real Beauty campaign, including their Real Beauty Sketches YouTube video.    Here’s the video:

I think Dove invited people to expand their definition of beautiful, and because of social media, the people get to be heard now.  Now, there is more acceptance for different kinds of beautiful.  I probably see at least one post per week of someone sharing their thoughts on what real beauty is.  Some are re-sharing blog posts or videos (including Dove’s), and some just like to share their opinions, like this one.

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Several people liked her post, and (although you can’t see it in the screenshot), several people commented as well.  The social pressures of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign impacted my group.  Our dynamics are not so much about fitting a definition of beauty, but about each person being beautiful on their own.  Dove influenced us.  Now we’ve got to get WesterCon to influence people like that.