Last post

This blog was created to communicate to students doing my course Managing Organisational Communication. The benefit was to show what a blog was, how easy it is to create, and the connections or links that can be created. I would recommend it as a useful tool for teachers. Most systems require users to login to see if there are new messages. However, with RSS functionality on blogs, the message can go to each user that has signed up to RSS.

This is the last post for this blog. I’ll be creating another that is relevant to my new career.


If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to fill in the Beyond Reason preparation guide.  This requires a bit of time! Think of a conflict situation you have experienced and fill in the guide as best you can. Don’t worry about getting definitions of the terms, the real aim is to think about your situation, how you feel about it and to consider the other person’s point of view.

And read the article by Weiss on Podcasting. An interesting way to convey information about mediation!

We’ll get some practice in negotiating, so please come prepared.

Jerks at Work

Last lecture I talked about jerks at work. It just so happens that Bob Sutton is the author of a book, The No Asshole Rule, that talks about jerks and the cost to organisations of hiring jerks. Things have gone wild in response to Guy Kawasaki’s blog on this very topic. In this post he talks about ways to find out if someone is a jerk before you start working with them. Certainly something to consider seriously.
A number of organisations are building in ways to avoid hiring jerks. A company called SuccessFactors has a document called Rules of Engagement that employees have to sign. One them is ‘I will be nice…’ and another ‘I will be a good person to work with – I will not be an asshole.’ I like the rules – if I had to sign these, it would give me confidence about the type of people working in the organisation.

To find out if you’re in danger of becoming an ….. take this test.

Virtual characters

I received an email yesterday urging me to check out the virtual characters now available through Oddcast.  I’m interested in text-to-speech (TTS) which involves synthesizing recorded bits of speech into something that sounds like human speech. TTS involves typing out what you want the synthesizer to say. However, its not easy to recreate natural sounding human speech for all sorts of reasons. We still haven’t got there, but I was impressed with the virtual characters.

Via the Oddcast site I found another interesting blog, called New York State of Mind, put together by a student at Duke University in New York. In her last post she has a link to her ‘Bloggers bible’ – there were a few good tips and some recommendations for how to run a multiblogging blog. She blogs about a collaborative poem written about the 9/11 disaster.

On the topic of virtual characters, MyCyberTwin have developed an artificially intelligent character that can converse online with visitors. The character is given personality traits and conversation topics and can be embedded into blogs, virtual worlds, and social networks such as MySpace. Some businesses are looking at it for better brand experiences. By giving it your conversations you’ve had in emails, IM, it learns to talk and be like you!

Social Media: useful links

While surfing the digital space I found some useful material which will be useful for assignments due later on down the track. The Workplace Blog is a useful source of information on the use of Web 2.0 technology. In the lasted post (23 Mar) is information about a survey conducted by McKinsey on the use of Web 2.0. The article is free to read as long as you register.

An introduction to social media is given in a free download on Lee Hopkins site. He also has a nice presentation on the importance of employee communication. On the PR 2.0 Universe is a list of resources on a range of social media topics.

And a note on collaboration. The Squidoo site provides a list of the smartest not-for-profit organisations who, in their opinion, collaborate with the community through good storytelling (engagement) and the use of Web 2.0 technology.

If you haven’t already done so – and there’s quite a few of you – you should subscribe to my blog. The easiest way to do this is to go to Google Reader and add the sites you’d like to subscribe to. When you’re ready to read your blog feeds, go to the reader and its all there for you. If you don’t already have any Google related products, you’ll need to get an account first.

Attacks in the blogosphere

One of my favourite bloggers, Kathy Sierra, whose blog called Creating Passionate Users has been receiving death threats some of which have very unpleasant sexual references. She felt so threatened that she cancelled a workshop and has decided not to blog for the moment.

There have been over 1,000 comments left in response to her post on this and, unbelievably, amongst these someone found another threatening message. The response to the threats has been huge. You can read responses from other bloggers at Hugh MacLeod’s blog who is horrified at what’s happened and says that’s why he has no problem deleting anonymous comments, particularly mean-spirited ones.

Robert Scoble comments in his blog that he and other bloggers have also been threatened, and is disgusted at the culture of attacking women. He wants to fix this culture and is looking for ways to do this. In the meantime, and in protest, he is not blogging for a week.

The blogs mentioned here are high profile blogs, and as such, the authors expect that they will receive negative comments on their blog or on other blogs. Some bloggers have a policy of not editing comments, others like Hugh MacLeod and Jeremy Pepper do.

Responses to the issue say that you have to expect you’ll be attacked and you need to be prepared to defend, but most acknowledge that what’s happened to Kathy Sierra has crossed the line.

Perhaps the most comprehensive response, is the one by Lisa Stone at Blogher . Lisa states the Blogher community guidelines leaving you in no doubt what is not acceptable. Comments to the post are also worthwhile reading.

Sun’s response to negative blog

In the Next section of today’s (Tuesday) Sydney Morning Herald is a report about the reaction of Jonathon Schwartz to a negative blog by Matt Mullenweg. Mullenweg is well known in the open-source developers area. He collaborated with Mike Little to produceWordPress and has worked on numerous other online tools including Akismet which helps stop spam comments.

Schwartz’s reaction was to publicly apologise to Mullenweg and ask if there was a second chance to get things right. Very shortly, they were having breakfast together. Is this what happens to everyone who has something negative to say about Sun? No! This is what happens when an influential blogger, innovative developer, and entreprenuer says it.

Schwartz’s reputation, and Sun’s, would have notched up a few points after this, and deservedly. There was acknowledgement of the issue, an apology and recognition that here was someone whose opinions should be listened to.

Internal Communication articles

I’ve received an email to say that the articles for the internal communication readings could not be accessed from Blackboard. If you are having these problems, then you can download them from here. Internal Communication (Rodney Gray)   and Finding Right Direction (Gray) .

BTW for some handy links to internal communication have a look at Toby Ward’s blog, David Ferrabee’s blog and the Simply Communicate site.

Political Blogs

In the SMH recently was an article about Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, and his blog. He blogs regularly about how he spends his day and about his thoughts on a variety of issues. He believes that the new technologies allow for people to be more open and accessible.

However, some believe that he should stick to the traditional forums for politicians. His critics named in the article are a journalism professor and an ex-editor – interesting that they are of the journalism field, an area under threat from the many bloggers (now seen as journalists).

He seems to have struck a chord as in the few weeks that he has been blogging, there have been 400,000 visits and hundreds of comments. Go Blog!