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Never was a cause-oriented project this exciting!

Just a few weeks ago, our Orcom152 teacher gave us our tasks and assignments for our final project; it was either an employee-concerned issue of a very popular food chain or a fund-raising/ volunteer-related issue of a specific government hospital.   We were fortunate enough to land on the latter.  The main objective of this class requirement was actually to produce a communication plan, which detailed the traditional and/or new social media (NSM) tools that we deem were important in achieving our objectives.

In approaching this issue, we started out by asking ourselves questions revolving the following aspects: brand differentiation, tradition and/or new social media mix, goals and objectives, measures and activities that we deem will be essential in reaching our team’s goal of providing our client the optimum benefits with the least number of costs and drawbacks.

Due to the nature of the hospital, we rationalized the use of a combination of the traditional and the new social media tools, such as brochures, posters, invitation letters, PSAs, and the website.

There were two main highlights of the project, and coincidentally, these two highlights also seem to be the most crucial stages of the project construction:

1. identifying (and segmenting) our specific target, and

2. deciding which from the wide array of traditional and NSM tools will serve the most benefits (in terms of cash donations and volunteer turn-out).

Although the original concern of the organization was on fund-raising events, our team took a broader perspective, and saw that a more pressing problem of the foundation was there very low volunteer turn-out.  Hence, the birth of our campaign, the Passion. Action. This very cool, unique project seeks to address the previously mentioned dilemma of the foundation by heightening awareness (especially among the youth), driving attention to the foundation and their events, and encouraging more volunteers to share their time, effort and/or money to this very humble act of harmony, charity and generosity.

We actually just recently defended our project in front of our professors and the guest panelist, and it was a bit nerve-wrecking.  Nonetheless, I was fortunate enough to work with very fun-loving yet hardworking individuals. And so to my co-team mates, the Pixie Chicks, kudos to all of us! We did great! (“,)

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This video introduces us to a concept that’s we’re most probably not yet familiar with,  the frame of reference. Everyone has his/her own frame of reference; this is defined by the speaker in the video as “everything that you believe to be true” or false, or one’s way of looking at the world.

“To commune” is “to experience”, in this case, to experience communication.

The speaker then sheds light on a very interesting query, why is it hard to communicate with people ? The reason that the speaker provides is because people tend to carry their personal frame of reference, which makes it very difficult to strike a very smooth, hassle-free conversation with the other person.  Since about 90% of what we people communicate is non-verbal, we must all learn to reverse or deal with this.

How do we put aside our frame of reference when talking to people?  The speaker shows us how through the following guidelines:

1. align yourself with the other person

2. experience the other person

3. be alert to all the subtle cues

4. be prepared to repeat your thoughts or shift your train of thought, especially during the times wherein the other party can no longer follow what you’re saying.

In addition to this, he gives us two tips to help us in our daily conversations:

a. you have to do things that’s not expected, so that people can hear or see or understand you–we can do this by looking for a connection with the other person, and

b. since our pinky finger (“mercury finger”) is the one connected to our speech and communication abilities in the brain, you may hold your mercury finger for a bit, and minutes after, you’ll see the immediate shift of your frequency jiving with the other person’s frequency, thereby ensuring mutual understanding between the two parties.

Try it now! 🙂

Hello world!

From now on, I shall start doing random searches on the word communication on the web (Youtube, specifically), and see just how many people have discussed about this very significant, yet often neglected, topic.

I was personally engrossed in this video since it tackled the very essence of what we’ve been discussing in our Orcom 152 class: Organizational Communication Trends and Styles, the role and evolution of the new social media in the lives of human beings all over the world.

This video began by tracking down the beginning of this new social media era, dated back in the latter part of the last century.

Traditional media was overthrown chiefly because this isn’t where the people are hanging out any longer.  Plus, with all the sanctions that the government has placed on the violation of copyright of books, songs, articles, and the like, these internet-savvy persons seem to have grown tired of the very restricting traditional media.  Hence the birth of TIVO, online newspapers, Flickr and Youtube.

This video also introduced to us the Prosumer identity.  A prosumer is both a producer and/or consumer of information, the kind of people that we now have online.  And the good news is, anyone can absolutely be a prosumer! Great!

I personally agree with the benefits that of the online virus mentioned in this short video, however two of the things that troubled me a bit were (1) the much importance given to the Wikipedia, and (2) the nightmare that may happen once we reach the ultimate point of this click revolution in which anyone, yes anyone, will instantly be able to find you whenever, wherever–it’s like belonging to a universal ID owned by, of course, the powerful movers of this online era.

Indeed, no one really knows what will happen tomorrow, much less in the following day, all that one can expect is the popular prediction that in a few years time, everything that we experience in reality will also be reflected in the world wide web.

“Experience is the new reality.” –lifted from the attached video


The Orcom Difference

Our course, organizational communication (orcom), has always been about emphasizing  manpower, leveraging on your employees’ talents and strengths, and opening doors for a downward/ upward/ spiral/ centralized/ decentralized/ grapevine/ formal/ informal power between higher-ups and employees, as well as amongst employees.

These newly found concepts are very unique to this special program, as compared to other mass communication-based courses, since its ideology basically revolves around molding a message in a way that is appropriately shaped for a particular audience or stakeholder.  In line with this is another principle, which is tapping on various resources like people, organizational structure, communication flow, and technology to persistently harness and improve a company.

Technology.

At this day and age, we cannot undermine the beauty and power of technology since we obviously experience it everyday in everything that we do!

In all honesty, I wasn’t always very open to all the lessons and values taught to us by our Orcom professors; naturally, this caused me to be wary at some points of the discussion.

However, this article, “The Contribution Revolution: Letting Volunteers Build Your Business” by Scott Cook, made me take a step back to generate yet another distinct link between these abstract ideas to my concrete, physical world.

Who is Scott Cook?

Among his many achievements, Scott Cook is known to be the cofounder of Intuit—a company that provides personal financial software, among other things—who has shared his experiences and learnings on this relatively new technological trend called, user contribution system, by means of numerous experiments he did in their organization.

Basic Tenets

User Contribution System (UCS) is the clever “big idea” that’s fueling the fastest growing companies of today.  Believe it or not, this ingenious idea, may, among its MANY benefits, drastically decrease one’s expenses by means of readily-available, non-costly resources.

Who am I talking about?

YOUR PEOPLE, who else?!

Both your customers and your employees, yes those people beside you or outside your office, can actually help your company.

At this time, you might already be skeptical about what I’m saying here. So here’s the thing—not only start-ups or medium-sized companies can use the UCS, but also fully-developed or recognized multinational companies who wish to exhaust all possible avenues to achieve the lowest cost while gaining the same valuable consumer and employee information.

As Scoot Cook put it, the User Contribution System is a method that involves “aggregating and leveraging people’s contributions or behaviors in ways that are useful to other people” (Harvard Business Review, 2008: 62).

USC means leveraging on your people’s talents, skills, knowledge and experiences (with your company, your product), gathering them, studying these responses, and making them work for you.

In concrete terms, the UCS is an internet-based tool or technique wherein, for example, the company creates or joins forums of their respective target audience.  In fully immersing themselves in the discussion or thread of conversations, they are able to get immediate REAL-TIME feedback from REAL people with REAL lives and REAL-TIME experiences.  In this way, you make them a PART (i.e. contributor, partner) of your team—not making them feel part of the team, but actually institutionalizing the UCS as one of your company’s data-gathering techniques, because at the end of the day, “hey, it works!”.

For employees, on the other hand, the organization can use the UCS, and perceive it as a tool that they can employ to receive constructive criticisms or responses with regard to company policies and procedures, for instance.

Just think about it, who better to ask about the good and bad effects of your product (or company), but those who actually make your product and use your product.

So don’t be the very cautious cat who perceives technology, or changes for that matter, as non-essential or even going overboard.

Look again, man!

Try it! Who knows, it might just be the break you’ve always been waiting for!

Added reference: here’s an except of an interview with Scott Cook himself.

Enjoy! (“,)

IT Conversations | Larry’s World | Scott Cook (Free Podcast)

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Last Saturday, our professor asked us how the Orcom program changed us.

I wasn’t able to voice-out my answer in class, but in my mind, I silently answered, “Nothing….absolutely nothing, but the knowledge and skills that I’ll need once I enter the real, corporate world.”

Truly, I am grateful for having  stumbled upon this course that has really changed the way I look at things, more so organizations.

I have been an Iskolar ng Bayan for four years now( and about three years of being an Organizational Communication major) and from these four years, I have learned two primary things:

(1) Communication definitely has a great impact on an organization (whether small-scale, medium-sized, or multi-national);

and (2) I need not be the leader (in this case, a boss) to make things happen.

To expound on my second learning, back in elementary and high school, I have always been an active school leader, and I thought that being the leader was the only way to be heard or followed, but it was here in UP that I was able to actually prove this wrong.

May it be in small group projects or inter-department team-ups, the unique role of communication never ceases, and I as an Orcom major can leverage on this special function of communication, and use it to make our voices heard by both our co-workers and our superiors.

Most often than not, open dialogue is the key for mutual understanding, and generally even mutual satisfaction between the organization and their client, or between organizational members and management.

After having read the very perceptive text of Christopher Locke, entitled, “Internet Apocalypso”, I was stunned by how intricate the history and development of the Internet is. 

I then started pondering on how overwhelmingly powerful this “almost magical” tool truly is, and to think that this utmost power is at the tip of my fingers.

Through the personal rendition of C. Locke, I was able to better appreciate the vim and vigor of the Internet, and also realized just how valuable this instrument is to further expand and cultivate the orcom community, as well as the larger populace of communicators all around the planet. 

The internet has made it possible  for genuine human voices to be heard again, however different they may be from the cautious, insipid pabulum of mainstream broadcast media.” (Christopher Locke)

Just like C. Locke, I know that there are still masses who, until now, are struggling to fight for their freedom of expression. 

Fortunately for us, we are provided with the (nearly) infinite utility of this supreme power; hopefully, there will come a time wherein each living individual will be given the opportunity to enter the breathtaking WWW world.

What we’re doing at this very moment is actually the physical manifestation of the web’s goal: to connect each other, regardless of who you are or where you are — indeed, the possibilities are endless.

In fact, the Internet’s influence has even reached the walls of the business world—that particular sector which, back then, was sought to be a distant, all-manipulating realm, has now started to “control”, “dictate”, or at the very least, shaped the movements of these straitlaced fellows.

But similar to C. Locke’s belief, I also think that, however these businessmen/ businesswomen individually feel toward the Internet, THE INTERNET IS HERE TO STAY, SO DEAL WITH IT!

When one feels imperiled by this enormous invisible power, I suggest you think twice about shutting out the limitless bounds that this tool could possibly offer you and your company.

Who knows, it might even outweigh your presumed moans or protests on its ability.

Moreover, just think of the Internet as your common friend, linking you with your customers all over the globe.  I know these thoughts may seem too simple, or even outlandish, but as I’ve said, you can’t ignore its existence, nor can you underestimate its power, so might as well use the Internet for your organization’s benefit!

From a consumer’s point of view, I also wouldn’t want to be perceived as a stupid, mindless person who’s mere purpose it to buy goods and services.

And so, my friend, take my advice and ADAPT.

Use it to know your clients even more—know what they like to do on a Saturday night, what they eat, where they go on Sundays—wouldn’t that further facilitate your consumer analysis reports?

And while you’re at it, also try providing avenues for your employees to talk to your higher-ups, maybe, just maybe, they have a thing or two to share with you to improve your products, management and services.

In the words of C. Locke, always keep in mind that,

“THE HUMAN VOICE IS THE MUSIC WE HAVE ALWAYS LISTENED FOR, AND STILL BEST UNDERSTAND.” (Christopher Locke)

Hi!

Last Saturday, June 20, marked our first meeting with our professor for Orcom trends and styles.

We began the class discussion by reminiscing on our internship that we had just last summer. 

Fortunately, (generally) everyone enjoyed their on-the-job training in their respective companies, since the class couldn’t stop sharing both the good, as well as the not-so-good things that happened to them at work.

Although I wasn’t able to tell the class everything that happened to me in my internship, my co-interns and our bosses already know how exhilarated and thankful I still am for being able to undergo my one-of-a-kind internship experience at Carat Philippines.

French vanilla…chocolates…peanuts…meetings with clients…software runs…interview…more meetings…running here and there…phone calls…funny, insightful, intelligent and highly creative people…freezing cold-Alaska experience and still more coffee and hot chocolate…that is how I’ll always remember my stay at Carat.

Great, hilarious company coupled with busy, yet warm, fun-loving mentors, and you feel like you never spent a day at work (cliché as it sounds)!

Afterwards, our ever-creative professor asked us do a simple exercise: to list down all the advertisements we are exposed to on a typical day; surprisingly, it was a little difficult to do.  Some of us tried the chronological approach (from the moment I get out of bed, to the moment I shut down my laptop before going to sleep—if you ever think of turning off your laptop!haha), while others the random approach.

Who knew that despite the hundreds of ads one is exposed to in a day in a single channel, s/he would still find this activity complicated and mentally challenging—first, you’d have to remember that specific brand you saw, and second, through what medium.

One last highlight of the day was his requirement of an individual blog site (exactly the reason you’re reading off this page)!

First I thought, Oh no!

Second, gulp*

Third, hmmmm….

Fourth, might as well give it a try.

Yup, you guessed it right, this is my FIRST blog site, and unfortunately for me, this is my FIRST time to ever blog about something.

However, regardless which emotion I succumb to, I would have to right a weekly blog about our orcom discussion anyway, so might as well do my best!

I tried thinking positive too…

I mean, (aside from blogging my entire life to the universe), what best topic should my first blog be than the big C: Communication, specifically Organizational Communication; this distinctive field of communication which I am currently mastering at UP Manila.

I hope you stick around and join me in unraveling this marvelous world of Orcom!  (“,)

There are two reasons why I chose “the comm virus” as my blog name: 1) since the entire world is trapped inside this influenza craze, I thought virus would be catchy enough for people to remember me, 2) I’ve always perceived human communication as a virus that has long been taken for granted, but has always been the ever-present tool, or “being”, since the creation of man. Through my succeeding posts, I hope could share with you a thing or two about Organizational Communication (popularly known as Orcom, in UP Manila), or at least help you realize the power that communication has in our lives, may it be at home, at work, or in school. (“,)

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