To read

stout & dasgupta, “When he doesn’t mean you: Gender-exclusive language as ostracism”

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Muphry’s Law

Murphy’s Law is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  In a Murphistic universe, it follows that we also need to be wary of Muphry’s Law: “If you write anything criticizing proofreading or editing, there will be a fault or mistake in what you have written.”

Of course there will.

This is also know as Hartman’s Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation: “any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror.”

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How Quickly Should You Reply to an Email?

When I teach Advanced Business Writing, I emphasize process: pre-write, write, revise.  When composing an email — especially one that has high stakes involved for the sender or the receiver — the benefits of thinking through audience, purpose & intended outcome (pre-writing), then choosing a strategy, researching, & composing (writing), and making time for revising (both substantive editing and proofreading) are obvious.  When a communication matters — we need, as writers, to make time for process. That’s how we make writing work for, instead of against us. The downside is that process takes time and most of us are short on it. Knowing that the bulk of our written communication in a day is likely to be routine emails, I wondered… could taking time to craft a reply to an email harm a working relationship?

In a study of over 16 billion emails, researchers (Kooti, Aiello, Grbovic, Lerman, Mantrach, 2015) found that within email conversation, 90 percent of replies come fast: within the day. And half of all replies are extremely fast: within 47 minutes.  Their data feels familiar to me — I expect that if I don’t get an answer to an email within a couple of days, I’m not going to get one.  I read the lack of a reply as either a “no,” “too busy,” “can’t be bothered,” or, “I didn’t get this message for some reason.”  If a message is important to you, replying within the day should be too.

The researchers were looking not just at individual emails, but email threads or conversations.  They were looking for patterns within conversations and found that replies tended to become more rapid as the conversation progressed, excepting the final reply which arrived much more slowly.  Because we send tens or hundreds of emails in a day, this shape of email conversations is likely familiar too us — we might expect a lengthy delay in a reply to signal the conversation is ending.  If we don’t mean to end a conversation prematurely, we shouldn’t take too long  to craft a reply, without anticipating that the receiver could read this any number of ways.  

I expect receivers to read into the length of reply time, and when I feel that my reply has taken too long, I apologize.

Reference:
Kooti, F., Aiello, L. M., Grbovic, M., Lerman, K., & Mantrach, A. (2015). Evolution of Conversations in the Age of Email Overload. Retrieved from http://www-scf.usc.edu/~kooti/files/kooti_email.pdf

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Grammar Games for Adults Studying Parts of Speech

I’m all for gaming as a learning approach to practice parsing parts of speech. Games get endorphins flowing, help develop speed and accuracy, and help identify individual areas of weakness for improvement.  For adult studying parts of speech, I recommend:

Grammar Ninja by Greg Lieberman

Or, if you don’t mind paying $1.99 for a game for your iPhone or tablet:

Grammar Pop by Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty)

 

 

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Citogenesis

The internet is at its best when coming up with new words for how the internet is at its worst:

 

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Back to School Resolution

Whether I’ve been a student, an instructor, a parent with or without school-aged kids, or working full-time and not attending school in any capacity, I’ve always felt that September marks the start of a new year.  New Year’s Day — in the deep freeze of an Alberta winter, doesn’t feel at all new.  Cold — check. Dark — check.  New?  Not so much.

I’m more likely to make back-t0-school resolutions than New Year’s resolutions.  For 2015 my resolution is to use this blog as a research journal where, weekly, I can record some of the articles and critical readings I do as an academic.  I’m interested in how the process of blogging will deepen, change and shape that research experience for me.

Happy New Year!
Marlene


 

 

 

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Congratulations Katt Adachi Grand Slam Winner

Congratulations to Katt Adachi, winner of the Winter 2015 Multimedia Authoring Story Slam Grand Slam Award.

Listen to Katt’s Award Winning Story: My Ojichan

Grand Slam Award Katt

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Congratulations Chris Dyer

Congratulations to Chris Dyer, winner of the 2015 Multimedia Authoring Story Slam Award (Section 13).

Listen to Chris’ Award Winning Story

Chris Story Slam Award 13

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BCS 203 Grand Slam Multimedia Authoring Story Award

BCS 302 Multimedia Authoring Sections 12 and 13 Grand Slam Story Slam Award Winter 2015

BCS 302 Multimedia Authoring Sections 12 and 13 Grand Slam Story Slam Award Winter 2015

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Story Slam Award Section 13

Story-Slam-Award-13L

Multimedia Authoring Story Slam Award Bachelor of Communications Studies Multimedia Authoring Section 12 Winter 2015

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