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Online Schedule– Social Media and the Workplace, Almost

December 13th, 2009 No comments

This past week, I returned to work at Applebee’s, after a near five-month layoff. I was met with many changes, most of which were welcome, such as staggered schedules, which cuts down on down time at work, and less side work. But most welcome of the changes were the online scheduling system. After giving the manager our work availability, they send us an email. Once we sign up for the service, which is called “StaffLinQ,” our schedule will appear on screen.

In the past, when the new schedule was posted, we needed to go in to work to see the schedule, or hassle someone who was already working .

stafflinqschedule

We can exchange shifts or pick up new shifts, and all of these changes are monitored by the service. Also, if we try to exchange a shift, it can be approved or disapproved by a manager. Just having the schedule online isn’t a big deal, but this is what the interface looks like. I’ll have shifts next week.

manageprofile

But now, shifts must be exchanged online. When someone wants to give up a shift, he/she will alert everyone through this service. When this happens, we now have the option of receiving a notice via email or text. Or, we can opt not to receive these notices, in which case we will not know there is a shift to be gained.This is good for the people who want to pick up shifts, and also good for the restaurant.

While this isn’t necessarily about literacy per se, it does illustrate the fact that technology is beginning to pervade industries that at first may appear to not need to bother with technology. But an apparatus like this makes it difficult for people to ignore technology. Doing so will affect these people’s ability to pick up extra shifts and make extra money.

I thought about whether this development requires users to develop any new literacy. I’m not sure. I haven’t had the ability to use the service yet, so it may show itself to be more robust than it appears. The most interesting aspect of this is, to me, that communication technologies are being leveraged in a way I never imagined in such a technology-adverse industry.

Twidroid Review

December 13th, 2009 1 comment

twidroidI picked up the MyTouch G3 about a month ago on a whim.  I was fueled by my recent desire for a phone that allows me to access Twitter a little more effectively than Virgin Mobile’ ARC.

Twidroid is the a third-party application for Twitter.  It was developed by Ralph Zimmerman and Thomas Marban for use on the Android Operating System.  Twidroid is available for free on Android’s market, which is accessible through the phone and from a computer.  Mashable.com, “the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news,” (said themselves) rated Twidroid as one of the best free Twitter applications for the Android.  How could I say “no” to something so highly regarded?  And free?

Before I continue, let me say that my photos were taken with a digital camera.  Getting screenshot software to work was more complicated than I imagined and I just don’t have the knowledge or time to deal with the process.

Once opened, Twidroid presents itself in a rather straight forward manner.  Tweets are displayed on the majority of the screen while at the bottom are several icons:twidroid2*Photo courtesy of michael-lipson.com

This is the home screen.  To send a tweet, I just need to press on the speech bubble on the bottom bar, just right of the house.  At the top of the screen, a space will appear.  After tapping on that space, the G3 keyboard will appear at the bottom of the screen.  Now it’s just a matter of carefully entering whatever message I want with my clumsy fingers, but my problems with G3’s keyboard are for another post.

Pressing @ icon opens up my list of mentions, displayed in reverse chronological order.  The envelope icon shows my list of direct messages in a similar fashion.  The magnifying glass icon opens the searching tool with which I can search for other users and keyword.  The circular arrow on the far right refreshes whatever list I’m looking at, which is quite useful when I have the automatic refresh set for longer periods of time or when I’m engaged in a conversation that requires a certain degree of swiftness in replies.

To reply to other users’ tweets, I just press on the arrows to the right of their post and a menu will appear:

twittermenu

From here I am able to reply, look at their profile, favorite that user, retweet their post, send them a direct message, copy their tweet to my phone’s clipboard, share their tweet (email, Facebook, SMS), or report the user as spam.  The last two options aren’t visible in the picture, but the menu does scroll down.

The menu button on my G3 opens another menu on the bottom of the screen:

twitter submenu

From here I can choose to jump to the top of the tweet list, enter Twidroid settings, view my lists, view my profile, and exit Twidroid.  The “More” icon opens a sub menu containing access to my Twitter accounts, my favorite users, and an option to manage my lists, though List Management is an offer available to those who have Twidroid PRO (which users have to pay for).

Viewing my own profile on Twidroid is quite similar to viewing it on Twitter’s website: Twidroid displays personal information on the top, icon to the right, and tweets below whereas Twitter keeps the personal information confined to the far right.

twitter profile

The large similarities between Twitter  and Twidroid  allow more users to comfortably shift from one to the other without becoming confused by the interface differences.  In this particular case, the layout is simple enough to navigate without much prior knowledge of Twitter.com.  This can be done by simply exploring the application.  But that can be said of anything.  The best way to learn a new skill is by using it.  You’ll be clumsy and uncomfortable at first, but all new interfaces are reflective for while, and “even the most reflective interfaces tends toward transparency as a user becomes accustomed to it,” so sayeth Colin Brooke in Lingua Fracta, page 133.

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