Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Writing for Business Final Blog

Social media is a great tool for writers and businesses. I think social media is a way for writers to let their work be known through the internet.  There is less work that has to be done by creating a blog and tweeting your blog link than going around to different magazines, newspapers, publishers, etc,  Also, the amount of people that will be able to view your information is vast compared to pre-internet days.  For businesses, I think that social media is a way to promote your business with practically no advertising expense.  I think in these types of professions, social media has exploded through the roof with opportunities.

Although there are great benefits of using social media for work-related purposes, there are drawbacks as well.  It is beneficially because it is a virtually free form of advertising.  One can create a Facebook or Twitter account and post about events happening in your business.  You can reach a crowd of unthinkable numbers with the "likes" and "follows."  With friends of friends of friends seeing this, it can encourage them to check out the page as well.  I look at it as another form of word of mouth.  There are potential drawbacks though.  Mainly, at some point you have to separate work from personal.  Whether it is to create two separate accounts or to limit the amount of personal information you divulge.  Another thing is what types of information your friends reveal about you too.

Will I use it at my current job or possibly a different job in the future?  Not personally in my current position.  We have a marketing department that manages social media sites, but it does not involve me using it directly.  Will I use it in the future?  I don't know about in the future; the future is unknown.  I do not think that with my profession there would be a need for it, but with the way technology is advancing, anything is possible.

The style of writing has changed with social media because it encourages people to be short, sweet, and to the point.  This is why I see social media as a great opportunity for advertisement.  It needs to be catchy and appealing to the eye to attract readers.  I already feel like my idea of writing has been affected by blogging and tweeting.  It makes you think about what words are unnecessary to get your point across to the audience, except, for example, when you are writing a minimum 500 word blog.

The internet and social media has tremendously changed the society.  One is only a click away from endless amounts of information.  Whether doing a research project or looking for a place to eat dinner, the internet offers more information in the shortest amount of time imaginable.  Also, social media allows people to communicate with more opportunities than picking up a phone and calling.  Society is too busy these days to use a telephone and social media allows several different ways to fulfill this contact.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Technical Communication Ch. 14

This chapter highlights the important factors involved when considering design elements in communication.  There are eight guidelines the chapter offers to help you with your writing.
1.  Begin by considering your readers and purpose.
     Understand what your readers expectations are and how to influence their attitudes.
2.  Create a grid to serve as the visual framework for your pages.
     Keep it simple and attractive to create usability and persuasiveness.
3.  Align related elements with one another.
     Have your information organized for easy readability.
4.  Group related items visually.
     This helps the readers visualize the relationship between adjacent items.
5.  Use contrast to establish hierarchy and focus.
     Use contrast, such as font size, type treatment, color, and font, to help elements stand out.
6.  Use repetition to unify your communication visually.
     Harmonize your pages to create a pleasing design.
7.  Select type that is easy to read.
     Select better fonts will make the document more readable if there are a lot of words.
8.  Design your overall document for ease of use and attractiveness.
     Think about what it will look like on paper.  Choose the correct size and shape of paper.

This chapter has great advice about designing a document and how to make it appealing to all readers.  I like the part that talks about creating grid lines as the visual framework.  You can create several sketches called thumbnails to see which sketch is going to look the best in the end.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Astronomers Discover 18 Huge New Alien Planets

A new study reports that astronomers have found 18 new planets.  All 18 are gas giants like Jupiter that orbit stars bigger than our sun.  "The haul comes just a few months after a different team of researchers announced the discovery of 50 newfound alien worlds, including one rocky planet that could be a good candidate for life."  The team watched over 300 start at least 1.5 times more massive than our sun.  They looked for small quivers that would be caused by gravitational tug.

This new evidence supports one of two theories of the formation and evolution of planets.  Core accretion is the theory that "planets grow as gas and dust glom onto seed particles in a protoplanetary disk."  The other main competing theory is called gravitational collapse.  This theory "holds that planets form when big clouds of gas and dust in the disk spontaneously collapse into clumps that become planets."

It is amazing to think of what could be out there beyond our world.  I also think it is too big of a concept to imagine the amount and size of everything else out there.  I think it'll be long after my lifetime before astronomers will be able to know for sure if there are other planets that have life on them.  I always joke and say there is a planet with aliens out there somewhere.  It's just that their planet is much older than ours and their technology surpasses our tremendously.  They are able to fly around in flying saucers and they are now finding us, to them, another planet with life.  That is my explanation of aliens, but it may not be as far fetched as it seems. 

Infographic Of The Day: Walmart Dwarfs Entire Industries And Nations

Are you a fan of Walmart?  This giant info-graphic may have you thinking a little differently about the world's largest retailer.  These crazy Walmart statistics are overwhelming and although I do feel they have the lowest prices, it really makes me think twice about shopping there.

"If revenue were Walmart's national GDP it would be the 25th largest economy in the world."  Walmart is also the largest grocer out selling Safeway by three times.  There are more Walmart employees than there are people in the United States Military. This is my favorite, Walmart's CEO, Michael Duke, makes more in an hour than the average full-time associates.

After living in the next city over from Walmart's home office for almost five years, I am no stranger to Walmart.  There in the small corner of Northwest Arkansas, Walmart feels like it has a monopoly.  I lived two miles from a Walmart, but the nearest grocery store would take 20 minutes to get to.  I could get to two Walmarts and two Neighborhood Markets, a subsidiary of Walmart, before I could get to the nearest grocery store.

After knowing a couple people in my family that have worked at Walmart, I can see why their revenue is so high.  It seems like they pay their staff poorly and in horrible working conditions.  For how many people shop at Walmart, I feel that the owners, the Walton Family, need to give back a little more to the community.

Why Twitter Will Endure

David Carr, a reporter for the New York Times, argues why twitter will endure compared to other social networking sites.  He talks about his skepticism at first and now his addiction to it.  He feels that many social networking sites come and go, reminding the reader of Myspace, but debates that twitter is here to stay.  He gets all his news first from Twitter and enjoys the 140 character so people are precise and get to the point.  He touches points on the hash tags, where one can track a specific conversation topic, stating that, "hash tags allow you to go deep into interests and obsession."

With myself being new to Twitter, I'm not sure if I have accessed it as much as it is intended for.  I don't think that Twitter can really be compared to Facebook because I believe they are social networking sites set up for different purposes.  Facebook is set up for communicating with your friends, keeping up to date with their lives, and reuniting with lost friends.  I don't see that anyone is out there using Facebook to get the latest news.  This is where Twitter comes in.  It seems to be a social networking site of news updates, not status updates.

With my Twitter experience so far, I feel that it is far too much information to sort through with the time I have.  The few people I am following are tweeting several times a day, if not every hour.  Unless I am willing to put forth the time of checking Twitter every hour, I don't see how this would be beneficial to me.  I would not be able to read through a days worth of tweets if I was following more people.  I can see how this would be beneficial to journalists and reporters since this is what their life revolves around, but for myself, I feel that it is a social gossiping site.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Black Friday

The article writes about the crazy hours of retailers on the day after Thanksgiving.  "Normally the big day is “Black Friday”, so named because the day after the holiday is when retailers supposedly move into the black and become profitable."  

Retailers are opening earlier and earlier trying to beat out their competition.  It used to be that retailers would open early that Friday morning with many advertised sales, but year after year, that opening time is being pushed earlier and earlier.  Some feel that they are opening earlier to persuade shoppers to come to their store rather than shopping online.  Also, many retailers are trying to open up at the same time, if not earlier, than their competitors.

Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, retailers are showing a decrease in Black Friday sales.  Sales are expected to be low again this year.  "According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), sales in November and December will increase by only 2.8% to $465.6 billion, compared with a 5.2% rise last year. On the other hand, 68% of online retailers say they expect their sales to grow by 15% or more."

Personally, I will do a little shopping in the stores and a little shopping online.  I have never gone shopping on Black Friday because I do not want to fight the crowds.  I think this shopping ritual has grown extremely out of control.  There is nothing about Christmas in the Christmas shopping people are doing on Black Friday.  It's a craze of people running and fighting for final items.  People are irritable, grouchy, and hateful!  Where has the holiday spirit gone?

Technical Communication Ch. 8

Chapter eight is titled, "Drafting Paragraphs, Sections, and Chapter."  It highlights the importance of grabbing your readers attention and transitioning smoothly from point to point.

Chapter eight encourages getting your readers attention by announcing your topic first.  It also writes about piecing your segments of information together to create more usability of your reader. "To understand any segment, whether a short paragraph or an entire communication, readers do the same things to determine what the topic is and figure out how its parts fit together."  With highlighting important parts and transitioning segments smoothly, you will be more likely to persuade your readers.  The chapter also states about using "top-down or bottom-up processing."  Top-down processing is to give your reader the overall picture before going into detail, and bottom-up processing is giving details first and the overall picture will be more visible by the end of the segment.

I agree that top-down processing is very important.  By listing the topic first, I feel you are more likely to grab your reader's attention and keep it.  By using bottom-up processing, it is possible that your reader will become lost and lose interest before the main point is revealed.  By having smooth transitions, it will help you reader understand when you are switching from one detail to the next.  They won't be confused in thinking you are still explaining points from the previous detail.