Friday, December 17, 2004


The idea of a flash or smart mob is tremendously interesting to me. It is showing a new way to present information and also a new form of media. It shows the awesome power of the people and also the same power that a mass of people can grow and learn and change views as a group. As technologies grow, develop and change how we interact with each other even on the most elementary level its still refreshing to that a mob, something considered irrational and volatile is now something that has transformed into a powerful and effective way to promote change and also bring attention to something in the world.

A Flash Mob is a group of people that communicate through email, internet, text messaging or cell phones that group together at a very specific time and place and do something very specific. One great example of a flash mob is Seek Truth, which airs many commercials visualizing how they take the idea of a flash mob to promote knowledge of tobacco and the exploitation of consumers by big tobacco. The most applicable one was when there was over thousands of people that came to a tobacco run building in a city circled around and at the same time all of them dropped to their feet “dead”. To add, as soon as they converged they disappeared just as quickly therefore having the full effect of what a flash mob is supposed to be and how it’s supposed to behave. Sarah’s example of the matrix is a great example of this also.

A Smart Mob is a bit different. The way to explain a smart mob is a mob that instead of working together and being more destructive a smart mob using the internet and mobile technologies can be universally informed and also through their own system of checks and balances can be correct with whatever is said because it is constantly being revised and read. Aubrey states this very well in her blog also. The only example that I understand to be a great one and can thoroughly explain is the Smart Mob that is being put together at MMC. Art Mobs. The use of the art works ad the stepping off point for both yellow arrow and ourselves was a great idea. The collection of the opinions via ipod and text messaging is a way that a mob or group can share information with each other effectively.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

What ever happened to just talking?

We are fortunate enough to be witness to new and evolving media and communications. Today’s organizations are using break through ways to share information and also the most effective way to increase productivity. Two new and inventive ways to digitally communicate are through Webblogs, News Aggregators, and Wiki’s. All three work much differently but not only speed up how information is shared but also manipulate that information in different and unique ways.

What these three mediums are can be explained very simply. A webblog is simply an online collection of posts or writings that are updated by a user. These posts can vary in size and importance but the newest post is always the first to be seen when the page is open. Livejournal is an example of this which stephanie also is a member as she mentions in her blog. This type of communication allows anyone to access information when it is sought out. Unlike emails, which are sent in mass and just wait to be read. In essence, this cuts down on the spam, and general email pollution many of us face daily. Although one can be sent the link and book mark it regularly one must ask how are we aware when a new post or more information is added? That brings me to another way of communicating

News aggregators are a list of websites that are added by the user. These sites are webblogs that send out feeds or messages to the aggregator letting them know when new information is added. So in a corporation an administrator or manager can send out a feed from their blog to other members of an organization and thus everyone can see that there’s new information to see and take in. Bloglines is an online example of a news aggregator. Other aggregators are available to use but must be downloaded. This provided an effective and very quick method of transferring messages and information without costly paper prices on inter-office memos and annoying emails. This system also has an online archive that can be accessed at anytime. Imbar does a great job explain aggregators in her blog

To me, the idea of a Wiki is brilliant. Especially in an organization, wiki’s provide a way to show a great deal of information but also make it a universal project. A wiki is quite similar to a blog. They both are websites to post information on and show to others through an aggregator. However, this is the key and most essential element that separates the two; a wiki is no one person talking but a group of people talking at once. Because anyone can go in and change the wiki if you’re in the group, the ideas are changed, edited and added on two to make a very efficient way to show information to each other in group and in the organization. Melissa reiterates what I just wrote in her blog. In art mobs we used a wiki to build the show and develop ideas of how to launch our new product. It really worked well for us especially because when we showed it to outside sources and contacts like Brian from yellow arrow, he didn’t see many different opinions or voice but one communal one.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

C&C - Made in the United States of the Earth

The journalist Barry Lynn, for Harper Magazine has written an article detailing the ever changing manufacturing ways of US companies. What truly concerns me about this article is that it was written two years ago. Much can change in only a few months and two years there have been great changes without a doubt. The idea of the Command and Control model is that we will use outside sources to do work that would be normally done in the country for more money. In essence, pay someone else to do it, and do it cheaper. Rosalyn states this well in her post.

The concern of Lynn's is that we have taken our economy and structure of organizational producing and spread it globally. The idea of outsourcing or global supply chains only benefits the company, and to add, only really benefits the CEO's and executives of that company. Lynn explains the problem with "foreign dependence" on the US. In present times, when relations with fellow countries can become so volatile and dangerous, one would think that involving our economy so vulnerably in the hands of other countries would not be an intelligent decision. Workers in each of the countries of manufacturing plants and sites do not benefit from American monopolies. Neither do the employees at the bottom of the corporation food chain. However, our production plants and sites in other countries are at the whim of their government. If, let’s say, we have plants in the heart of Africa and the Middle East and there happens to have a global war breaking out involving those two areas. Then our economy is greatly crippled because the country will no longer produce parts and labor for us.

Lynn presents many different companies in his article that outsource majority of their workers and parts. Dell being one of them as Nicole also states. I honestly feel that this model will become self defeating. Along the lines of "absolute power corrupts absolutely" but instead "absolute success corrupts absolutely". It will get to the point that we are relying too heavily on outside sources in efforts to save a buck or two in manufacturing prices. The result? a huge crash of our economy crippling the way we are run now and thus we must revert back to a much easier and nationalistic way of working.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Social Net Anal :)

Much like the organizational chart that we were dicussing in class, Social Network Analysis provides a way to look at the communication flow between many different parties or nodes within a system. A node, are the people or groups that reside within the network of the organization. In the article on this webpage, we can see that the "kite network" (David Krackhardt) is being used to show the many different aspects that are involved when understanding and explaining the Social Network Analysis. We not only see who is involved in the network but where they fall in relation to each other and also if their lines of communication is mutual or one sided. As Suzanne says in her blog, there are three different types of categorizes that nodes are present as important: Degrees, betweenness, and closeness.

We see that there are many different ways for a person to be an important member of this system. The concept of degrees is something that shows the level of communication for each node in a system. A node's degree is basically the amount of connections it has with other nodes. To have the most connections in a system would clearly have you be the hub or central figure in the system. However, as Krackhardt brings up, for one to have many connections does not mean they are the most reliable or they can access information easily. One can have many connections but where those connections lead is the important part. Also, when you have a system or network that relies heavily on the central node, then, clearly, if that node fails or damaged then the system as a whole crashes. Gage states this also in his blog.

Another attribute to a node's importance is it's betweeness. If we have a node that is in the middle of two clusters of nodes then without that node there would be no communication exchange between the two. Also, how close a node is to the remaining nodes plays an important role. In essence, if information can travel fast then that is the most effective.

One can see that even though Krackhardt presents a very simplistic view of a social network, it can be adaptable to a huge corporation such as BMW or as smaller one like Marymount Manhattan College. The importance of where you stand on the food chain not only shows how information is flowed but how it is recieved, either expedisiously or effectively

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


So, as a class, and through Saussure, we've established that a sign is made up of both a signified and a signifier. Where the signifier is "the mark" and the signified is the "sound image". Also, we've clarified that a sign can't exist without the world and the source. Katie re-states this in her blog posting. The source because without a plethora of other signs, symbols, words, etc, then we can't know what the sign is to begin with. And without the world or network for the sign to exist in then one can't really know what the sign symbolizes and means.

This I feel has many confused, to a certain extent. The analogy of the purpose and the meaning of a rouke on a chess board has no meaning when it doesn't have its companion pieces to compare to, is a good example of network meaning. However, I feel many can't relate this to what goes on in our lives regularly. It's hard to understand that if we didn't have a network to work with then there can't be meaning in words like SEX or DRUNK. Because without the source or the network the word DRUNK would mean the same thing as the word FELKDJ. It would just seem to be nonsense.

To continue, the sub codes and the meanings of words themselves exist in the source as well as in people. Yes, people do have different sub codes and meanings for different words. Gage says this in his blog as well. However, there must be a network with in that language and for the meaning to truly be in. My example of this, and the only one that stays in my head, is thinking of an alien life form now landing in the middle of New York City. Knowing nothing of our source, network and objects in our system. How would he determine the meaning of our network when we try to explain it to him/her/it. Same as the coke bottle with an indigenous tribe in the movie "The Gods Must be Crazy".

Sunday, October 10, 2004

S&W Part II

Though the Shannon and Weaver model of communication does provide a valued way of looking at how we communicate with each other, it however doesn't fully work for every type of communication. On a certain level it does but when one goes deeper and describes and presents definitions for different aspects of the way we communicate then not everything fits perfectly. Ferdinand de Saussure and his model of Semantics and signs and Roman Jakobson and his theory of codes and sub codes both show a different way to look at the Shannon and Weaver Model.

For Saussure, the world is made up of signs. Many of these signs are created by society and through the language we speak and communicate with each other. A sign, according to him, is made up of a signified and the signifier. To put this into the Shannon and Weaver model one would substitute symbols for signs. The source will be the language or the way that signs are communicated and the message is the signs meaning. However, when you adapt Saussure's knowledge of signs and manipulate it to fit the S&W model the signified and signifier aren't represented in the model and thus there can't be a complete justification for using Saussure's ideas in the S&W model. Suzanne says this also, that though the two theories are adaptable they aren't a perfect in the deeper meanings of the words.

Jacobson's theory that pertains to this also shows how communication with language, signs and symbols can be flawed depending on codes as well as sub codes. The way codes and sub codes work is as follows. Words clearly have specific meanings. However, depending on where you are in the world or what you specifically believe in, those words can mean different things to each person. Therefore, the source of information may be different to each person and thus the S&W model cannot be fully applicable because if one transmitter has a different set of information source than the other then information and codes can't be transmitted without misinterpretations. Therefore, if codes have different sub codes depending on the info source communication cannot occur correctly. Sarah says this well in her blog also. An example of codes and sub codes is as follows: the word RIGHT has two different meanings (right handed and right meaning correct). Also, the meaning of words depends on the culture. In England, a lift can mean an elevator but here if could be a device used to lift heavy objects.

Though the Shannon and Weaver model has provided many useful advances in technological communication there have been many more after them that have shown that the theory is not universal and cannot account for many human interactions.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Shannon & Weaver

The basics behind the model that was presented in class not only provides a different way to look at the way we as a society communicate but also how we as an organization communicate as well. Today's discussion provided a very profound way to look at such communications. One little anecdote that D-Dawg said today still has me sitting in awe of its greatness. The idea was that if our language and communications were of a 75% redundancy then we could do crossword puzzles in three-dimensions.

Redundancy is a topic that makes a lot of sense. Danielle stated this well also in her blog. In literature, repetition is a tool taught to writers to emphasize a specific point or idea. In spoken word, the more repetition there is the more a person walks away with a certain idea and this is usually the same idea for everyone listening. In advertising, redundancy in ads, commercial, press releases, all show a certain idea and provide a message to society. This is the same with SHANNON/WEAVER model. Many ways of communication can't be binary because if the redundancy isn't high then the message isn't clearly intercepted. Sarah also explained binary communication well in her blog

I enjoyed the analogy to the English language and the conversations that we normally have with one another. I would wonder where American Sign Language fit in on the model. I mean theoretically it shouldn't matter if the same source and receptor have the same knowledge of the language but I would wonder whether or not the actual auditory factors have anything to do with it.