Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my new experiment, using a blog to share my thoughts and experiences related to information.

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How We Get Information

How do we get information from the source to the recipient? Every day it seems there is a new site, a new technology, or a new paradigm for how we’ll get information in the future. Of course, we announce its arrival using yesterday’s revolutionary technology. But, do these new technologies actually change how we get information?

My observation is that no matter how things change, every delivery method fits an existing model for sharing information. Each model has strengths and weaknesses. When the information needs aligns with the strengths of the model, information transfers efficiently and effectively. Pick the wrong model, and information flow becomes a trickle or dries up completely.

Who cares? I feel we all should. As John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself …“. We are all connected. To me, that means we all interact with others, exchanging information. We all have a vested interest in effective communication, both as the originator and the recipient. Each of us is responsible to do what we can to shape the channels through which information flows.

In this series, I will talk about the various models for information sharing. I’ll highlight the strengths and warn of the weaknesses. I will use examples from history, headlines, and my experience to illustrate successes and failures. My hope is that these posts will help you expand the information tools available to you, so that every communication problem doesn’t look like a nail waiting to be driven home with a hammer.

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Language pet peeves

I’m an engineer, not an English teacher, but I still get peeved at sloppy writing and speaking. Today, I’m venting about the meaningless phrase “I wish to …”.

How many times do you hear people say things like, “I wish to congratulate you on your promotion.”, or “We wish to recognize the great work you did on the project.”? Every time I hear someone say, “I wish to …”, I mentally complete the statement with, “… but I can’t.”  Wishing is what you do at a well or the lottery ticket sales counter. Today, I heard an advertisement featuring Rudy Giuliani saying, “I’d like to invite you to …”. Ok Rudy, so you’d like to invite me, so why don’t you?
Please people, say what you mean. Have a backbone and take action with your words. If you want me to attend your charity function, invite me, don’t just wish to invite me. Customers, thank them for their patronage, don’t be dreamy-eyed wishing you could thank them. Recognize your subordinates for a job well done.

Throughout history, we, the residents of the United States, have been go-getters, people of action. Keep action in our words. Be direct. Don’t water down your statements.

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