Under the Microscope

Benchmark_Restaurant_Dining_Room_Photographed_by_Evan_SungThe first blog post I ever wrote was a crash course of how to survive in the restaurant business.  With having most of my work history being in this industry I felt it would be a good starting point for my first piece that was going to be online.  As the semester winds down, I have decided to go back to the restaurant industry to discuss a topic that has an opportunity for examination.  Application of open source systems within the restaurant industry.  The first blog post, hit on various topics of how to run an efficient restaurant while looking at social cognitive theory by Bandura.  After one develops an efficient operating business, it is time to analyze how efficient the business really is operating.

While analyzing operations, one can do a variety of activities.  For the sake of this discussion we will look at a fairly new way to measure the performance of a restaurant.  The customer is the main driver for how these restaurants stay afloat.  Returning customers indicates that the restaurant is doing a good job on a variety of different levels within the business.  Online survey systems are ways that companies can evaluate how well they are doing from the eyes of the consumer.  These surveys are set in place to evaluate the different aspects of the restaurant.

Every time some pursuit or profession gets computerized, data begins to build up in digital form, and every time the computers holding that data are networked, that data can be traded, rated, and collated. The Open Source pattern, part collaborative creativity, part organizational style, and part manufacturing process, can take hold in these environments when-ever users can read and contribute to the recipes on their own. (Shirky, 2005)

In respect for the topic at hand, this recipe is a recipe for success.  This data that is collected is analyzed to determine the both efficiency of the business plus other vital areas within the restaurant.  These statistics are shared within the restaurant itself, or in the case of a chain of the same business through the headquarters.  This open system of communication will then be interpreted by the leaders of the business to improve on these different categories.  These consumers are illustrating what they would like to see during the operation of the restaurant.  They are trying to contribute to this recipe of success.

To continue this conversation within the open system, companies will give incentives to complete the online surveys.  Whether it be a discount or a gift from the business itself, this reward will continue the conversation.  With an active open system communication operating, the leaders of the business can analyze what areas can be addressed for improvement and note on what is being done well within the establishment.

This open system of conversation through technology, does not have to be exclusive for restaurants.  Any form of assessment can be linked as an open system.  The data that is collected from these different systems can be used to create that recipe of success for business owners.

Shirky, C. (2005). Epilogue: Open Source Outside the Domain of Software and Source. In Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (pp 483-488). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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Paris Participation

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The tragic events that took place in Paris on November 13th, 2015 bring to light the power that social networking has on a global scale.  Although still as an ongoing investigation, the attacks were against un-armed citizens in Paris at five different locations.  After the “fires” had been put out, motive lies with ISIS and other terrorist groups behind these attacks.  News of these attacks immediately hit the wire, within a matter of minutes the world got the news.  If someone didn’t happen to catch the evening news before bed on the 13th, the news of these attacks filled social networking sites the following day.  Both ideas of shared awareness and participation of the user web can be examined through these terrorist attacks.

Social Networking many times is the only way that people receive current event news during their week.   Roughly 25% of the total world population is on social networking as of a statistic of 2013.  1 in 4 people had exposure from different platforms to this news that happened over the weekend.  By simply being on the SNS itself, one can read and understand what happened in Paris.  Various sponsored news web engines thrive on likes and shares over the platform. Their publications give users the news as soon as it hits the wire.  These news publishers develop a shared awareness to the population of the group itself.  With this news comes controversy, the 1st amendment gives people the freedom of speech and this includes speech online.  Although harsh comments can be edited and censored people can freely debate the different currents events that happen during the week.  These different sites within the platform share their publications with the online world.  However these sites are not always very credible, sometimes these sites fabrication of stories or completely made up.  Unfortunately many people are not aware of this.  Overall, the point I am trying to make is that the SNS has potential to develop shared awareness to the users on the platforms.

Participation can be explained through the tragic events that happened in Paris.  Everyone develops a sense of sympathy whenever something like this occurs.  The world developed this kind of sympathy and empathy when the attacks on September 11th occurred.  When news of these attacks surfaced, people started showing their sympathy to those in Paris.  #PrayersforParis was a huge hashtag for this movement that showed how people participate in these social movements.  Also with this hashtag was the different pictures that surfaced to show support to those involved in the attack.  The peace symbol with the Eiffel tower in the center was a common photo, or simply any picture from French culture would suffice as showing support to those affected.  The main example of showing participation through the social networking site is the profile picture alteration.  For a limited time, any Facebook user can changed their profile picture to have a French flag filter over it.  By doing this you would be showing support to the people of Paris.  Showing support during times of struggle like this really says a couple things.  One it is nice to see that we are supportive of one of our allies during a time like this for them.  During the September 11th attacks the people of Paris shared sympathy for the people of New York.  More alarming of the two is the power took on in such a short time.  Why this attack did all the users jump on the sympathy train?  During this same timeframe other areas across the world had been affected by terrorism attacks.  Every day there are acts of terrorism that takes lives every day.  Why did this specific event cause such a stir?

I am very interested in your opinions on here. I will actively be checking during the week to create some conversation to this subject.  Only educated and respectful responses are invited to this blog, comments will be monitored.

 

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Plenty of Swipes in the Sea

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A play on the saying “plenty of fish in the sea”, referring to that there are plenty of romantic matches in the world.  Just because one doesn’t work out, this saying indicates there are other options out there.  The whole dating scene has taking on a new frontier in recent years, the internet.  Various dating sites have emerged onto the scene, both for a cost and free for online users to utilize to find that special someone.  These online databases of romance seekers gives the user the opportunity to interact with other users, almost eliminating the “first meet”, “first date” side of face-to-face romance.  These dating sites have both positives and negatives for any romance seeker.  By being exposed to these online pros and cons, there is an opportunity for these online practices to make their way out of the virtual world and into face-to-face communication.  The convenience of these sites gives users the opportunity to scan through thousands of users that are logged onto the site.  The term swipe came originated from chat roulette, where a user could simply swipe from one user to another to find someone to communicate with on the website.  A fairly new dating/romance site Tinder has adopted this swipe method to give the user the convenience of exploring romance seekers within a certain area.  To communicate with users on the platform, both users need to “like” each other, depending on the location of the user, there can be thousands of possibilities.  Hence the title of the blog, plenty of swipes in the sea.

As mentioned in the introduction, there are both positives and negatives surrounding this new phenomena. Users are granted access to online data bases of romance seekers just like them.  It creates a community where information and pictures are shared for others to examine and possibly reach out to them.  Users will create a profile, which will include a bio, interests, likes, and pictures of themselves.  This is where the first negative aspect of the site occurs.  Users have the opportunity to “edit” themselves to attract a romantic pairing.  Any character flaws that the individual may have, will be discarded and only the best parts of the user will be used in creation of the profile.  In addition to the bio section of these dating sites, the pictures chosen are another negative aspect of the dating site.  For many sites there is a cap on how many photos can be uploaded to the profile.  Why would someone post a picture of their bad hair day?  These photos could be a misrepresentation of the user because only the best photos are used to create this sense of self on the profile.  The idea of editing oneself on these online dating sites can make its way into face-to-face communication.  This sense of creating the best perception of oneself, can carry over into non-virtual relationships.  By “editing” and not showing the true self to prospective romantic partners can create a harmful relationship in the end.

Another area of negativity within these online dating sites is the number of possibility.  Instead of developing relationships online and working through issues that may arise, the user will simply move onto the next match that comes up.  The convenience of these sites brings another aspect that can correlate into the non-virtual dating scene.  By being exposed to more choices in the dating database, it shows that people with more choices tend to be unhappy with all of the choices.

Although there are many negatives in the online dating communities, positives are defiantly present on these platforms.  To start these sites can be used to meet new people within an area.  For example, someone who is new to a city because of a career does not know many people within the area.  Romance is something that many people need in their lives to be happy, this is a way that new comers to a city can find romance.  Also the convenience factor of online dating is good for those who do not have a lot of time.  Rather than going to an event, such as speed dating or a meet and greet, the user can access potential romantic matches online via computer, cell phone, or tablet.  The pictures and bios give the users the opportunity to scan potential matches by the photos and bios.  It is human nature that every human has different attributes that are attractive to them like hair color, skin color, and height/weight, are all examples of this.  By filtering these potential partners, the user has access to meet someone they are physically attracted to.

Overall, by doing a brief examination of these online dating sites, both positives and negatives emerge from the analysis.  What it really comes down to is personal preference of these dating sites.  For some these sites can be very helpful in finding a potential romantic partner, for others this may be a bad idea for finding that special someone.  All in all, these sites really are physical proof that there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Technology is Harming Our Relationships, and We Can Stop It

Political Presence on Social Networking Sites

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We are the Voices Inside of Your Head

The increase of users among the social networking sites online have created a new discussion on how we look at communication through technology.  The development of these platforms give users access to a plethora of information from news, sport statistics, humorous videos, and political movements.  Power that these movements yield on social networking sites is something to analyze.   The first amendment grants the freedom of speech to users on this global network within the political spectrum.  In regards to political/group movements, the information presented gives the opportunity for shared awareness among the population as a whole.  Whether the users decide to adopt the principles of these movements identifies with participation of the group.  After viewing these posts online, the author of these posts create a voice inside of the viewer’s head.

The problem with these voices inside of our head, can be linked to the content of what is posted on the sites.  Many times authors are trying to persuade users to adopt their beliefs, values, and principles that coincide with the movement.  These pieces take on a form of bias and sometimes create a hegemonic sense of being.  This is particularly important to keep in mind when dealing with politics because of the variety of different groups.  Political parties have different beliefs, values, and principles as mentioned before, it is up to the user to educate themselves on all possibilities in regards to politics.  This is where problems occur because users become so involved in one side of the coin and disregard any information authored by the opposite side.  For example in American Politics, Republicans and Democrats are “enemies” in terms of policy.  These authors are masters of persuasion on these social networking sites.  In addition to the bias and persuasion created by these authors, the administrator to the site/page has censor ship of what is said on the site.  Yes, we have the freedom of speech, but the user with the click of a button can delete this freedom.  Harsh comments, and argumentative words are harmful to the persuasion of the online community.  By gaining the support of viewers on their pages, it can sway the support of these political leaders.  Unfortunately, the bias and persuasion succumbs users to assimilate with a new political group.

Another aspect of the political presence on these social networking sites is organization and coordination.  Administrators have the opportunity to share information to gain face-to-face communication amongst the community.  Political events are shared on the network to increase participation from the users in person.  Groups are created to deliver information about upcoming events to fill the seats at these events.  Communication through technology and face-to-face interaction have very different benefits in regards to the power of a political movement.  The goal of these movements is to attain both an online presence and face-to-face momentum.

Overall the power of political movements on the web can be the deal breakers on a campaign for candidates.  The authors of political campaigns can be essential to gaining votes through the social networking sites.  A fairly new frontier on the political movement, the user needs to be aware of the bias and persuasion that occurs on these sites to be an educated supported of these groups.  Once the information is shared by the author, organization of face-to-face communication can solidify the status of a user’s group affiliation.  The authors of online political platforms develop a voice that gets into the user’s head.

Facilitator of FUN

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With the development of online technologies and the spread of information over the internet, brings forth new conversations on how we do things.  Sports fans across both the United States and the Globe look to the internet to get the latest news, stories, and statistics from their favorite teams.  These fans are engaging in a group structure in participation of their loyalty to the team.  Fan Pages are great ways to keep these fans updated and engaged in the “nation” of the team.  By getting participation from the fans the front office of these sports team can increase sales of product, tickets, and overall likeness of their program.  The front office has a big task ahead of them when trying to retain loyalty to their program, especially online where face-to-face interaction is not commonplace.  These administrators need to be educated on the different types of communication through technology.  After becoming educated on the way we communicate through different online platforms, the administrator can hire employees to maintain this online presence.  This post will cover the main principle of gaining online loyalty, and give some examples to evoke this principle.

Money makes the world go round!  If the administrators could pay their followers to be loyal to the fan site, team this would lead to great results.  Users would be getting paid to remain loyal to the program and participating on the online realm.  Sounds great right?!  Unfortunately, this is not a smart financial decision because there is too much leeway between different sports and organizations that it would be a negative effect on the program.  The next best thing for these users to receive is emotion.  By designing the online presence to evoke emotions from the user is the next best thing that the user is looking for.  If the fan site is evoking positive emotion from the user it will keep them coming back for more, which is the main goal of the administrator and facilitators of the site.  The designers should stray away from creating conflict and developing negative emotion amongst the site.  This is where the employee comes in to monitor activity within the site.  Not saying that a little back and forth posting isn’t warranted for banishment from the site, but if it crosses emotional boundaries from the positive realm to negative then it is something that needs to be looked at.  Emotions like Pride, Love, and Passion are emotions that the administrator of the site should look to evoke for both the team and the site itself.  By developing these positive emotions it will not only increase loyalty to the team itself, but will boost the participation on the site itself.  We can change the saying to, Emotions make the world go round!

After the administrator of the site decides what kind of emotion that he or she wants to evoke from the audience, they then can look into the content of the site.  As said before the main goal is to boost loyalty to the sports team and the organization as a whole.  Boosting loyalty is a positive outcome for the office, as should be the content on the website.  The content of the fan site should evoke the emotions of pride, love, and passion out of the audience.  Examples of some content are as follows.  The front office pairs up with the local boys and girls club in the inner city to boost funds for them to continue the great job they are doing with the youth of the city.  The office would set up a charity event to raise money for the club, bringing players in to assist with the event.  The office would send reporters/photographers to the event to capture the player/fan interaction.  This is great publicity for the players and the organization.  Evoking positive emotion from the users.  Another example is bringing humor into the fold.  Laughter creates emotion from the users, which is great to increase participation on the site itself.  Creating “memes” to post on the site can have a great effect with the users.  Depicting funny situations through photos and adding a funny punch line is a great way to induce laughter which will correlate with happiness.  One last example is to get photos of the fans themselves whether they be at the game, local watering hole, or at a sports party.  By showing other users in their garb creates a community that the users want to be a part of.

                Overall, just a brief observation and analysis of group participation in the online community.  When creating this online presence the administrator and employees needs to keep in mind that positive emotion is key.  By developing a positive emotion evoking site, it will not only boost the loyalty of the organization, but increase participation on the online presence.

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Boost Awareness, Boost Sales

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Chad44

With the development of technology in social networking sites, this creates an opportunity for groups to reach their potential.  The ultimate goal of sports administration professionals is to create successful organizations both on and off the field, these groups include professional sports teams, university sports programs, and local youth sports.  The financial side of the sports world is vital to the success of the overall program.  Filling the stadiums with fans will increase revenue through ticket sales, concession purchase, and merchandise sales.  All of these profits benefit to the overall success of the program during the course of the year.  Relatively new, social networking sites can be used to increase these profits and develop a successful organization.  With a strong presence in place, it then turns over to the group “fans” to really get the ball rolling.  It requires the group to share, cooperate, and act together as described by Clay Shirkey in his book Here Comes Everybody.  Using Shirkey’s thoughts on group practice, a sports professional, or any business professional can use this framework to increase sales on their end.

Social Networking Sites, such as Facebook have a feature called “share”.  A user on the web uses this feature to “share” a message that a page has conveyed on their own page.  For example, a university creates an athletics page covering all news, upcoming events, and information on the sports teams.  Users can share this information on their own page increasing the number of users that the page reaches.  This puts extra emphasis on the strength of the page itself, it must be strong in writing, visually appealing, and evoke emotion.  Having a strong base will get users to share this page which will lead to increased sense of pride of the program itself.  Going back to the group sharing being the main driver in this discussion.  If an online presence can develop a following from a group of the population, it will then lead to more followers by this core group sharing about the organization.  The sharing goes from the organizations page to the individual user’s page which will eventually lead to users checking out the original page itself.

Sharing then leads into the cooperation of the group as a whole when dealing with the development of the organization.  The organization thrives off the consistent sharing of information that is leaving this form of media.  It requires cooperation by both the users and the administrators of the page to always accommodate.  Feedback is a great way to increase the cooperation of the group itself.  By taking feedback from the users, the page administrators can make changes to reach the full potential of the page’s purpose, which is to increase fan support.  By developing a strong page, it will increase the cooperation of the core users, which will in turn increase the number of the core.  The larger the core the better chance the page has to reach the full potential of users.

Taking the action is the third phase to increasing this revenue numbers.  It requires the group to act on the information that is presented.  In the case of sports organizations, it’s all about filling the seats.  A strong internet presence sharing base with cooperation of the users means nothing if it is not invoking an action.  Success can be measured by how many users take action from the page.  For example, if a sports organization is advertising a big rivalry game the main goal is to sell out on tickets.  This is the most important part to any online advertiser for a sports organization, but also the hardest to achieve.  Building a core of users and getting information out is made easier with the internet.  The strength of the sharing aspect and cooperation of users will determine the success of the action taken phase will increase.

Overall, online social networking sites can be used to increase revenue to a particular business if group dynamics are taken into consideration.  By building a strong base, a group will share this for others to check out the page.  With consistent cooperation from a group of people the advertisement will reach the highest potential of users.  Which will in turn lead to action being taken, from what the administrator is looking for.

Michigan

To IPhone or not to IPhone, That is the Question

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Chad44

The title of this blog pays homage to Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be”.  With the rapid development of technology in the last 50 years, new gadgets are rising and falling every day.  As consumers we have a choice whether to adopt this new technology or not.  We either choose to purchase, or to stay with existing products.  Different telephone communication comes out every year with a new model.  Laptops are becoming more powerful and smaller as the years pass.  Flat screen televisions are becoming affordable to different classes in society.  A tablet from the local electronic store can replace a library’s inventory.  The wireless communicator (cell phone) has become a staple into the American society.  The smart phone is basically a hand held computer that can do everything from check the local whether, listen to your favorite music station, and use social networking.  This comes a long way from the cell phone that simply could connect you through voice calling and that’s it.  The connection that I want to make is that between this new technology and the choice that we have to “buy” into these gadgets.  Also, it is important to note the wireless company’s strategy to continue loyalty of the user.  In the present, consumers are looking for the next “new” and improved thing.  The consumer has a choice, and in this case the question is To IPhone or not to IPhone.

These users have bought into the products that they buy and one of the most common examples would be the IPhone and the wireless companies marketing strategies.  IPhone is an Apple product that gives endless opportunity for telephone communication.  The product line comes out with a “better” product every year, sometimes multiple products come out, just a different variation.  These companies are smart because they know that they have the users bought into their product.  The craze is to get the newest product available to the public.  These companies know that the consumer will make the choice to purchase the newest product even though they may not have done their research. For example, a model may have the same operating power as the previous model, but it came out with a new series of colors.  Same phone, different color.  Another way that these companies are gaining revenue by simply coming out with a better looking product.

Another marketing tool that these companies are using for this type of technology is the use of trade in.  Different companies have alternate names for this procedure, but ultimately the user pays an additional price on their bill to always receive the newest product available.  This is a fairly new concept that the wireless companies have adapted, but one can only fathom the amount of revenue that is generated by this form of marketing.  Again, going back to technology being a choice, it is up to the user to decide whether this new technology is right for them.

A final marketing strategy that this technology assists the choice of its users is different payment plans.  These wireless companies are spanning every class in society.  Most expensive plans offer unlimited data, calling, and texting.  This is more expensive for the service, but leaves unlimited opportunity for discovery.  For lower income families that simply cannot afford these services, limited data, calling minutes, and number of text messages per period offer an opportunity for users to make a choice.  There was a time where cell phone use had to be monitored, but that time is passing.

Overall, just a little insight of the choice that users have the choice to buy these new products.  Marketing strategies by the wireless companies have made it easier on the consumer to make the choice to purchase, ultimately leading to increased revenue for the company itself.  Unfortunately in American society the choice is easy because the consumers want the newest product available rather than functionality.  This post does not present a question, rather to think about the choice that one makes when purchasing these new products.