Tag Archives: communications

Business Writing for a Political Audience

Great post. If you take on enough contract jobs or work for a big company, politics will likely enter the picture on some level. Writers need to be aware of how to handle their audience when you have elections and government shutdowns impacting society.

Heroic Technical Writing: Advice and Insights on the Business of Technical Communication

Honestly, I’m not here to share my political views. If you read between the lines on some of my posts, you can probably figure it out, but I’m really not interested in starting an argument. The point of this post is to help those of you who find yourself writing a letter to an elected official on behalf of your employer.

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Justifying the Role of Social Media Managers

Like all good humanities-based careers, Social Media Managers often feel the need to justify their worth to the world at large. While the role of social media manager is but one small hat I wear (or more specifically, third monitor) in the small business I work for, I understand the frustrations those more invested in the job constantly endure. So I’ll add my two-cents for the record.

The social media manager role appears obvious at first glance. With social media outlets multiplying like bunny rabbits, companies face an increasing need to designate a specialist to manage everything from Facebook to Xing. Once again, like all good humanities-based careers, people assume that anyone can handle this job. All you need is a little experience with Facebook and Twitter right?

Oh so incredibly wrong, and here’s an easy explanation why. Look at your Facebook news feed and you’ll see two general types of people.

1) People who post silly, easily forgettable things on Facebook every five seconds. You might chuckle or agree with their post/picture/video, maybe even give a “pity-like” and then move on. These people often post multiple times a day, using their Facebook as a Livejournal to tell their life story to the world. “Find out what I’m up to, every hour on the hour.”

2) People who post well thought-out, possibly infrequent but definitely engaging posts. An interesting article that promotes discussion. Perhaps a cool video solving a common problem in a creative way. Posts people come back to, receive dozens of likes, make you want to actually visit that person’s unique profile to show the post to someone else. These posts are not about what you are eating for lunch or questioning your evening plans.

Some people naturally fall in the middle ground or maybe into both groups, but you can probably divide a significant portion of your friends in Group 1 or Group 2. Now if you were a CEO and wanted someone to manage your online presence, which group would you pull talent from? Group 2 of course. Companies need to engage their customers on a professional, intelligent level. Not a level of “The Metro is 20 minutes late OMGFML.”

Social Media Managers are not allowed to use their tools of Facebook and Twitter for their own personal amusement, much like the tools given to Biochemists or Engineers. They do not have time for such trivial games because they, like other hard-working individuals, are too busy using their tools to do their job.

Given the nature of social media, specifically the instant transfer of communication, that job becomes a specific form of public relations on steroids. Someone comments on your Facebook page? Better reply back immediately. Something exciting happened that you need to report? Better tell the world immediately. Social Media Managers do not have time to complain about their lives on Facebook; they are too busy acting as the voice of their employer.

Not everyone writing blog posts deserves an English degree. Likewise, not everyone operating social media deserves a Communication degree. Of course, Linux, Perl, and MySQL are just as open source as social media and blogs, but that’s a topic for another day.

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iSpy Analysis – Part 2

Surveillance plays a heavy part in the decisions I make in life, although I am not always constantly thinking about it. As I mentioned in my previous post I try to be careful in what I say or do, and I do employ a pseudonym on the internet which I use for most of my activities online. This is most commonly done through my computer, and indeed it is the one gadget that contains the most significant amount of surveillance.

Although I am not too concerned with what all of my friends are doing every moment of the day I do like to see what they are up to from time to time. On that end I usually check my Facebook account once a day (usually just once, unless I receive an E-Mail stating that someone has sent me a message or posted on my wall, purely for etiquette reasons, as I’ve come to determine that most everyone but me that uses Facebook uses it all the time and if you don’t respond to them ASAP they might consider it awkward) just to see if any significant developments are happening in one of my friends lives. I usually don’t respond unless I have good reason to, but I like to stay in the loop nonetheless.

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iSpy Analysis – Part 1

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”


When I typed my name into Google I was not expecting to get back any notable results. Surprisingly I was faced with a few results that matched directly with “Matthew Morgal”, including one googleganger. The topmost entry resulted in a link to Matthew Morgal, a baseball player for Lamar University. I also noticed a link to my Facebook page which could not reveal any useful information since I was not logged into it. Most of the results however came up for various people named “Matthew Morgan” I’ve noticed to be a popular last name.

Outside of the link to the Facebook profile picture my digital presence is very small. I personally do not mind this, as I would rather not have my name freely accessible. I’ve heard stories concerning a variety of problems associated with someone freely posting their information on the internet, with everything from identity theft to stalking being a negative consequence. I’d much prefer to be a number; it’s much safer that way. Although I do employ a pseudonym when I post or create pages on the internet (which incidentally when googled turns up many a page that I have either created or contributed heavily to, but more on that in the next blog post), and it can be linked back to me, I do take great care in not revealing personal information. Truth is we may never be truly safe on the internet, but that won’t stop me from having a fun and safe time.

Fun yet pointless musing: Although I do not think the baseball player Matthew Morgal would be confused with myself (His picture on the website page is noticeably different than the one on my Facebook page), I do notice some odd similarities. For starters, we are both University students. Also strange is his birthdate of 9/18/1986. I was born 10/20/1986, hardly a month later. Although he was born in Oklahoma and myself in Maryland, I thought that was interesting to say the least.

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Cult of the Amateur Analysis – Part 2

Not too surprisingly, Keen’s book Cult of the Amateur caused controversy against those who disagree with his ideas. This has notably occurred with one of the book’s major targets, Lawrence Lessig, who has fought back against the claims made by the book.

Who do I find most convincing? I believe that the honor ultimately goes to Lessig. For starters, I find it interesting that Lessig chooses to combat Keen’s points through the implementation of the very mediums that Keen attacks. It may seem like an obvious point to some, but I feel that Lessig’s argument is that much more effective when it is done through the blog and wiki styles. Not only can he directly counter Keen’s points, but he can do so while subtly showing how the blog and wiki enhances the points he makes in defense.

Another point I find of interest is Lessig’s ability to acknowledge Keen’s points for what they are, even going so far as to agree with him on the most basic of ideas. I feel as though many arguments cannot be fought effectively while doing nothing but downplaying the things you are attacking. There are often some remote benefits and ideas to be had from the things you argue against, and it is important to note these for what they are, even if you just use them to further your points. Lessig is willing to acknowledge that Keen is right on the fundamental level of how we should be careful in using these mediums. Yet Lessig’s tone is never as radical as Keen’s, and that creates a more convincing argument in the end.

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Cult of the Amateur Analysis – Part 1

One of the things I’m fond of doing in my free time involves composing sprite comics. The process is very simple, as you take or create free-use sprite pictures and backgrounds and use them to create amusing (sometimes) comics and stories on whatever comes to mind. The comics I create are definitely not masterpieces, and my audience for them is pretty small, however I still love to create them. Although I don’t create them as often as I used to due to certain things like college (good sprite comics tend to involve a lot more than copying and pasting pictures), I do enjoy creating a random one on occasion.

I think it’s important to place a high value on work for love when compared to the work that puts bread on the table. Although some people may be fortunate enough to end up making a career entirely based on their own creative merits, many end up working on things that they either don’t care much about, or limit their ability to be creative. Working on something out of love gives you the power to be creative, and take risks that you may not normally try. I’ve found that oftentimes the rewards can be worth it.

I believe that the proportion of work and love is important to maintain. There are many tasks that people would likely never do out of ‘love’ but necessity, and these required tasks still need to be done regardless. I doubt I’ll be able to make a career out of sprite comics, and will have to do work that I probably wouldn’t otherwise do out of passion for the sport, but I’m sure I’ll be able to use my creativity in some aspects of my future jobs.

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Millennial Makeover Analysis – Part 2

I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.” – Kahlil Gibran

Many of the arguments formulated in Millennial Makeover are built on generational theory, and the authors make many generalizations about the philosophy, preferences, and cultural touchstones of your generation.Do you agree with their ideas on your generation?If you gave your generation a name (like Baby Boomers or Generation X), what would it be and why?What cultural touchstones (TV shows, musicians, movies) do you feel are most useful in understanding your generation?

For the most part I agree with the ideas that the authors of Millennial Makeover construct about my generation. Society is getting further integrated with the tools of the online trade, and our generation is emphasizing this leap in technology. Getting good grades and increasing ones education beyond High School is becoming an increasingly popular trend. Although I’m not certain I agree with the overall trend that the millenials are becoming very upbeat and optimistic. I think that millenials are generally more positive than the generations before us, without sounding too radical. (we’re not hippies, dude.)

If I were to give our generation a name, it would probably have to be the dreamers. We have gotten many new leaps in technologies that have allowed global communication on a wider scale. As technology continues to get more powerful the dreams that we carry become more pronounced and deeper in tone. Sure previous generations have wished for world peace and a perfect environment, but we really seem to think that we have the capabilities to do great new things that have never been seen before. I’m not talking about a Jetsons world with flying cars, but an end to once traditional views that this is not only wrong, but impossible to correct.

As for the cultural milestones that help showcase our generation, I’d have to say television still holds the key. Talk shows and sitcoms, while occasionally crazy at times, do not tend to go as over the top as music and particularly movies.

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