Blog Extension Project: The Ranch

5 things to know about Netflix's “The Ranch” starring Ashton Kutcher | Beef MagazineSpoiler alert: This piece of writing contains information some may not want to know if they are planning on watching the series. 

The Ranch is a popular Netflix series. Season one of The Ranch came out in 2016, but the main focus today is going to be on part six (2018) through part eight (2020). In case any of you watch the show I will do my best to avoid spoilers but I can not make any promises. The Ranch is centered around one family of ranchers in Garrison Colorado who undergo many hardships and have to make difficult decisions on a daily basis. The father is Beau Bennett who is a stubborn old man who believes his way is the best and only way anything should be done. Rooster is the oldest son and has his own personal problems with the people he chooses to love and hang around with. Next in line is Colt, he left the ranch for a couple of years to follow his football dreams and never hears the end of it. He actually buys the ranch next to his dad’s so he can start his own life and follow in his father’s footsteps. At this point in time, Colt is married to Abby and they have a baby girl named, Peyton. In addition, Luke, who is Beau’s brother’s son, comes along after a significant moment in the show to reconnect with his family after the passing of his father right before he was born in Vietnam and the passing of this mother earlier in the year. 

Agenda setting is an Objective theory that was introduced by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw. Essentially, this theory claims that “overtime, the media agenda shapes the public agenda”(368). The media frames the content that they put out to the people to best fit their agendas. The second level of agenda-setting is the “ transfer of salience of a dominant set of attributes that the media associates with an attitude object to the specific features” and basically putting an image into our minds (370). When the media does this, their goal is to mess with our personal agenda, or “the list of issues most important to a single person at a given time”(369). While explaining the importance of the agenda-setting theory, it is important to know and understand framing. Framing was defined by James Tanark, one of the leading writers in mass communications theory, claims that “the central organizing idea for news content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the use of selection, emphasis, and elaboration”(370). This is crucial to comprehend because the media has a “set agenda for which issues, events, and candidates are most important” and they ever so slightly push us to think about these issues to make them seem like their thoughts just pop into our head (370). Lastly, the third level of agenda-setting theory is that the “media indicates which issues are connected to each other” essentially connecting the dots for us to best fit their agenda (372). 

Secondly, Narrative Paradigm is a theory that leans towards the interpretative side of theories. Our textbook defines narration as “symbolic actions, works and/or deeds, that have sequence and meaning for those who live, create or interpret them”.(299) Later the book defines Paradigm as, “a conceptual framework; a universal model that calls for people to view events through a common interpretive lens” (299). Now looking more into a narrative, it is essentially how someone tells a story. Contrary to popular belief, Fisher does not see the narrative paradigm as rhetoric, but as “the foundation on which a complete rhetoric needs to be built”(299). Transitioning to high school English, stories are filled with symbolism, therefore the story is much more than was is said or written on the page. The main portion of why people love stories is because of the interpretation that relies on the individual to decipher. After all, there are two determining factors for a narrative, fidelity, and coherence. Fidelity is basically if the story makes sense while coherence is determined by if the story comes together and floes effectively. Lastly, the ideal audience plays a major role in whether the story hits the audience or whether it bounces off and has no effect. The ideal audience is an “actual community existing over time that believes in the values of truth, the good, beauty, health, wisdom” and much more (303). 

Thirdly, Cognitive dissonance theory is an objective theory that was introduced to us by Leon Festinger. Leon Festinger describes cognitive dissonance as “The distressing mental state caused by inconsistency between a person’ beliefs or a belief and an action”(194). Essentially, cognitive dissonance is when an individual believes something and acts in a way that does not coincide with their beliefs. When we were younger we understood that liars are bad people. So when we would tell a lie, we knew we were not a bad person but our actions did not line up with our beliefs therefore we felt cognitive dissonance. Furthermore, this tension “of dissonance motivates us to change either our behavior or our beliefs in an effort to avoid that distressing feeling”(194). Many of us fall victim to selective exposure, or “the tendency people have to avoid information that would create cognitive dissonance because it’s incompatible with their current beliefs”(196). Another big issue we face with cognitive dissonance is the need for reassurance. This Post decision dissonance is “strong doubts experienced after making an important, close-call decision that is difficult to reverse. Lastly, Festinger’s minimal justification hypothesis claims that “the best way to stimulate an attitude change in others is to offer just enough incentive to elicit counter attitudinal behavior” (198).

As I have noted above regarding Agenda-setting theory, the idea of changing other perceptions over time can be seen in part 6 of The Ranch. Without giving away a to much of the show, the Bennetts are faced with problems regarding Rooster, financials as well as a baby being on the way. Throughout part six, agenda-setting is seen, where people attempt to influence others. This is mostly present after Roosters death, the media coverage is focusing on how he just fell off of a cliff while riding his motorcycle but, some of the Bennetts believe otherwise. Here we can see how the media is attempting to frame how the incident went down and it avoids other details, like the fact that Rooster was threatened by an ex-con at gunpoint and was forced to leave his place. The media is sweeping all of the other information under the rug to sway the public agenda. By covering the story as if it was just a normal day and we accidentally drove off of the cliff, the media is putting an image in our heads about the night. We can also see the third level of agenda-setting theory when the media tells us which parts of the story to connect. They do not tell us about the other facts, they only tell us about the information they deem relevant so we can connect the dots with the little information we have. 

Agenda-Setting theory is important for leaders to understand and implement in their daily lives because we need to understand the importance of multimedia. By using more than one media source we will have a better understanding of all of the facts, rather than just one source. No two outlets are going to cover the same story in the same manner. By listening to more than one we are able to connect the dots and the information given to us ourselves and then decide what we need to do with this information. In addition to doing their own research, they need to be aware of how their actions can affect their followers. They might be the only ones that their followers receive information from, therefore it is important to frame, and design the information in such a way that it is not one-sided and gives the followers the ability to think on their own. You need to be aware that you “the media” does not control their information so much that it affects the people who work under you. 

After reading about Narrative Paradigm theory, I found it interesting how the majority of television shows and movies actually follow the same rules and outline of this theory. Throughout all of the seasons of The Ranch, the story of the Bennetts has always been the center of attention. To understand the importance of what happened in part seven you must have followed the family through all of the previous episodes because of many characters from earlier in the narrative return for a showing. Nick, the same guy then made Rooster leave town, and the one the Bennetts blame for Rooster’s death returns. When they arrive at Nicks’s trailer, they see that he has badly beaten his girlfriend, so they decide to take matters into their own hands. This is a reoccurring theme of Nick being bad news, one would only understand this through the telling of the entire story. Nevertheless, Nick ends up dead, but it was not the Bennetts who pulled the trigger. Furthermore, narration is present throughout the entirety of the series because the symbolic actions and the works put together in a sequence developed the meaning of the show. If the events were put into a different order the meaning of the show would have changed drastically. When considering how the ideal audience thinks it makes sense why the conceptual framework was targeted towards a specific group of people. Ending with this massive cliffhanger of who killed Nick, the other characters had their stories and attempted to piece together what happened that night. There are multiple paradigms for what happened that night, but only by sharing each other’s thoughts are they able to come to the bottom of it. But colt decides it is best to lie because he knows who did it but he wants to protect the individual because they are a good person at heart. Originally there was a lack of fidelity within their stories because they knew what happened they just could not identify who actually pulled the trigger, therefore it never really made sense. But once they figured out who pulled the trigger in part eight, the coherence and the fidelity changed and they solved the puzzle. What is essential to take away from this is the power of storytelling when persuading individuals, and how one small change in details makes all of the difference. 

Narrative Paradigm is an important part of leadership. When considering how people tend to listen and understand stories much better than class lectures, you could teach by telling stories about past experiences. As a leader, it is important for you to understand the people you are leading, by understanding their past and what motivates them so in turn, you can better lead. But to understand and get to know the people you are working with you need to listen to their stories about past portions of their life. Stories are essential to effectively lead individuals because it opens up possibilities for motivation as well as helps you understand them on a deeper level. Another way to look at the narrative paradigm and leadership is to understand your past story with the individual. This will help develop a close relationship based on positive past experiences. 

In other words, Part eight of The Ranch has no shortage of issues and cognitive dissonance. With Part seven ending on a massive cliffhanger, part eight sheds light on the difficult subject. Earlier in part seven, Colt receives a phone call from a mystery person, we do not know who it is but it is known that this caller killed Nick. Colt is overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance because he knows he should tell the police who killed Nick to save his cousin from being wrongfully imprisoned, but he decides to keep it to himself to protect the individual. His attitudes towards the subject and his behavior are on a conflicting path. In addition, Colt and Abby are starting to get their marriage back together. They split because Colt was not completely honest with Abby. For this reason, Colt wants to change his behavior in hope of reuniting the marriage for their newborn daughter. But sadly, once Colt tells Abby about the phone call, he believes that his changed behavior is going to help with their marriage, but sadly it pulls Abby farther away. Inevitably, Colt feels cognitive dissonance once again because he was not reassured that he made the correct decision in telling his wife. Eventually, Colt is pressured into telling everyone who actually killed Nick, but his heart told him he was doing the right thing, but his actions screamed otherwise. Naturally, this leads to Colt participating in selective exposure where he would not listen to certain people because he did not want to listen to the battle that would happen within his head. The only thing that is for certain is if your attitude and your behaviors always match, you will never feel the pain of cognitive dissonance. But we are all human, and this pain is inevitable. 

Cognitive dissonance is important when you are a leader or trying to learn about leadership qualities. There is a saying regarding walking the walk and talking the talk. This is what is expected of a leader. The most effective way to lead people is to act how you preach. If you tell the people who follow you that honesty is the best policy and you are not being honest with them, they will lose faith in you as a leader. It is important to understand cognitive dissonance so a leader can avoid this feeling, not only so they do not feel the conflict within their head, but so the people who follow them will put their trust in you. Knowing you made the right decision and are filling them in with all of the details they need to know. Leadership is much more than having people look up to you and want to be you, it is about developing a relationship of trust and respect for one another so they can one day fill your shoes and make you proud.

Essentially, leadership qualities can be spotted by an untrained eye from a mile away. When we were young, we did not have to be trained on what a good leader looked like, we just knew who we wanted to follow. When a leader is in front of people it is important they understand Agenda-setting, Narrative Paradigm, and Cognitive dissonance. Agenda setting is important to know because a leader must understand how the information can be swayed to fit other agendas and the importance of doing your own research. Furthermore, if we look at the leader themselves as the media they need to be aware of the power that they hold. In addition to Agenda-setting, narrative paradigm is important for a leader to know. This will help develop relationships with their followers as well as provide possible ways the leader can motivate others. Lastly, is cognitive dissonance, which is arguably the most important for leaders to know. Cognitive dissonance is important for leaders because their attitudes towards a given subject must match with their behaviors. One to avoid any conflict within their own head, and two because they need to walk the walk and talk the talk. If a leader believes going green is important but drives a lifted truck that gets three miles per gallon how are his followers going to take him seriously? But when it comes down to it, leadership is much more than what I have mentioned above, it takes a lot more than just these three things to be a successful leader. Nevertheless, these are three examples of what quality leadership should look like.

Extra Credit Blog: Social Penetration Theory

The Advantages of the Social Penetration Theory: Social Penetration Theory  applied in the Workplace by Justin LopezAn onion by itself is typically not the tastiest treat around. At least to my knowledge, I have never asked my mother to pack an onion in my lunch so I can eat it raw. But when you consider how many different ways an onion can be paired, now we are getting somewhere. When fried, put onto a burger, or even sauteed the flavor completely changes the properties that an onion brings to the table. In addition, the onion is known for having multiple layers, with these layers have birthed multiple sayings and quotes. But one thing that remains constant is the idea that behind each layer is another deeper layer. This same concept is seen in our friendships. When I was young, my mother would always make me be on my best behavior to meet new people. This is what happened when I met my current best friend Justin. When we first met our parents set up a playdate or as I call it “the moms drink wine and let the kids have their fun”. We were both dressed in nice clothes and were not used to each other’s company. But as time went on we started getting closer and closer and sharing more about ourselves. We were introduced when we were 5 years old, and now at twenty-two, we are still best of friends.

Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor take this onion and relate it to social penetration theory. This theory is “the process of developing deeper intimacy with another person through mutual self-disclosure and other forms of vulnerability”(94). In addition to sharing, one must pay attention to personality structure or an “onion-like layers of beliefs and feelings about self, other, and the world”(94). Lastly, Cialdini recognized this as one of his weapons of influence but it can also be seen in social penetration theory. The law of reciprocity is “a paced and orderly process in which openness in one person leads to openness in the other”(96). Although the way that Cialdini defined reciprocity is defined differently the essence of the message is the same. When people offer favors for one individual the other feels obligated to return the favor.

Returning to the original statement of the Onion, I find it interesting how this theory does not have to be learned to be applied. It is natural for people who are meeting new people to start on the outermost layer before they start sharing their innermost vulnerable secrets. Retreating to the example above with my best friend and me, we were just children. We could barely speak English let alone understand social interactions as a whole. But it is interesting how we still followed the social penetration theory. Personality structure played a significant role in developing our relationship. When we started we liked each other based on the idea that we enjoyed doing the same things and that was it. We played the same sports and watched the same shows. Our relationship has progressed and we have grown closer because the longer we know each other, the deeper our conversations got, and the more protected information started to get shared on a more frequent basis. This was only possible because of the Law of Reciprocity. Once one of us started to share information the other would match the information. I remember us being children in elementary school and I would only tell him who I liked if he told me who he liked. Overall, the most interesting part of social penetration theory is the fact that is it naturally occurring. Meaning individuals do not need to have an understanding of the theory before we implement the theory in real life.

Social Penetration theory and friendships

Blog Post 12: Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Politics.

Cognitive Dissonance and Gamification - Gamified UK - #Gamification ExpertBefore I get started, I understand politics can be a touchy subject, but I have no malicious intent and do not mean to offend anyone in any way shape, or form. By reading on, you understand that there might be a trigger warning, but the purpose of this article is solely for educational reasons.

2020 was one heck of a year with no shortage of topics to talk about. Among these topics, there was also an election that divided the country into two pieces. One of the claims made by George Washington was that the two-party system was a bad idea. Until a couple of years ago, no one really took this seriously.  Between Joe Biden and President Trump, our country has never been more divided, and for some reason, people feel the need to justify their decisions without anyone even asking them. They push for one side or the other with complete disregard for their own actions and or beliefs. The interesting part is when we take a step back from all political disagreements and watch the different sides completely go against their beliefs with their actions. When interviewed regarding said beliefs their actions act differently than what they claim to believe.

In chapter 16, In Chapter 16, Cognitive Dissonance Theory Author Leon Festinger describes cognitive dissonance as “The distressing mental state caused by inconsistency between a person’s two beliefs or a belief and an action”(194). This action of Cognitive Dissonance is one that we all have felt before. When I was a child I was taught that liars were bad people, then when I would tell a white lie I knew I was not a bad person but my action did not line up with my beliefs. In addition to today’s political outrage, we can see the majority of people practicing selective exposure, or “the tendency people have to avoid information that would create cognitive dissonance because it’s incompatible with their current beliefs”(196). This is seen in people’s social media when they only follow one side and disregard or do not follow people who disagree with them. Lastly, Festinger’s minimal justification hypothesis claims that “the best way to stimulate an attitude change in others is to offer just enough incentive to elicit counterattitudinal behavior” (198).

Cognitive dissonance happens to everyone whether we are aware of it or not. It does not have to be your own personal belief that your actions do not line up with in order to experience cognitive dissonance. When looking into politics people feel this dissonance when there are other opinions they do not agree with. Solely because of this feeling they go out of their way to avoid other’s opinions. This selective exposure has to lead us to a country where we are unable to come to a compromise and put the nation before our own personal views. With no one listening to one another, we see others go out of their way to make the other side look bad just because we do not want them to look good. There are some individuals out there who completely disregard the other side’s arguments, and this leads us nowhere besides the inability to adapt and come to a compromise. In addition to the vast amounts of selective exposure, we have in our country, people feel the need to justify the “wisdom of their choice to dismiss the other”. A study done at Harvard University by Sendhil Mullainathan claimed that “cognitive dissonance theory predicts that the act of voting for a candidate leads to a more favorable opinion of the candidate in the future.” Essentially, cognitive dissonance is inevitable, no matter what topic you choose or what discussion you make. But no matter how long we try to unify, we will always justify the decisions that we make and cognitive dissonance will always be around to haunt us. I can honestly say, we are a good country but we have failed. We have failed because we did not put the nation’s needs in front of ours but most importantly because our behaviors do not match our attitudes.

Blog Post 11: Narrative Paradigm

The Haunting of Hill House

A wise person once said, “We do not need to be told when someone tells us a good story, we just know and acknowledge the good story when we hear it”. Think back into your life and remember all of the times where you did something that was not smart but now you look back and just laugh. Once you remember this moment, think about how many times you have told the story, and how many times this story was shared by a dear friend who just wanted to remind you of that one time you did something stupid. The Narrative Paradigm theory brings forward the idea that everything in our lives can be told in the form of a story. Essentially, we live in a story and the pages of the book are slowly being written day by day. The most crucial part is the fact that we do not have control over who tells our story. This is what happened in the 2018 Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. An event happened in their childhood and no one in the family could remember what happened perfectly because they all came up with their own stories to mask the dramatic event. Once all of them came together again and shared their stories, then everything started to make sense.

Our textbook defines narration as “symbolic actions, works and/or deeds, that have sequence and meaning for those who live, create or interpret them”.(299) Later the book defines Paradigm as, “a conceptual framework; a universal model that calls for people to view events through a common interpretive lens” (299). Now looking more into a narrative, it is essentially how someone tells a story. Contrary to popular belief, Fisher does not see narrative paradigm as rhetoric, but as “the foundation on which a complete rhetoric needs to be built”(299). Transitioning to high school English, stories are filled with symbolism, therefore the story is much more than was is said or written on the page. The main portion of why people love stories is because of the interpretation that relies on the individual to decipher. After all, there are two determining factors for a narrative, fidelity, and coherence. Fidelity is basically if the story makes sense while coherence is determined by if the story comes together and floes effectively.

After reading about this theory, I found it interesting how the majority of television shows and movies actually follow the same rules and outline of this theory. In The Haunting of Hill House, a family goes through a traumatic event that follows them for the rest of their lives. Because they are all so young when the incident occurred, every one of the five children remembers the night differently. With all having different memories of what happened it was hard to piece everything together. One of the children, Steve, wrote a book and made a lot of money based on the events that happened that night, but all of the other siblings disagree with his story because they remember it differently. For the sake of spoilers, I will not clarify the event, but an event occurred which forced the family to come together and share everything they remember about the night. After their narrative, the paradigm of the stories was able to line up and they were one step closer to understanding what happened that terrible night. Originally, there was a lack of fidelity between the siblings because the other stories did not align with the beliefs of the other siblings. But as more information was shared everything started to line up. The coherence and the fidelity changed and they solved the puzzle. What is essential to take away from this TV series is the power of storytelling when persuading individuals.

Blog Post 10: Is It Really How It Seems?

newspaper | Why not ramble? When it comes to telling stories we are all guilty of it. Changing the story just enough to make your argument seem much better. Maxwell and McCombs and Donald Shaw wrote about the different levels of agenda-setting. The first level is when they tell you what issues you should be thinking about. The second level is where framing happens, they basically tell you which aspects of the issues are most important. Lastly, the media shows you how to connect each of the different stories. I claim that level two can influence the public the most because they share what information you should be concerned about and just touch on the other sides. The picture above is a great example of framing because it shows how manipulative it can be. On one side, it looks like the soldier is about to be executed. On the other side, the soldier was just saved and getting some much-needed water. In today’s day and age, framing is more prevalent than it ever has been before. In the election of 2020, we can see how the media focuses on one aspect of the candidate to emphasize their own personal viewpoints.

By emphasizing a specific view the media is able to influence the public without the public even knowing. The media frames their content on a daily basis to best fit their agendas. in the second level of agenda-setting, “transfer of salience of a dominant set of attributes that the media associates with an attitude object to the specific features” and putting an image in our minds (370). Media framing as defined by James Tankard, one of the leading writers in mass communication theory, claims that “the central organizing idea for news content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the use of selection, emphasis, and elaboration.”(370) This is important to understand because the media “set an agenda for which issues, events, and candidates are most important” as well as the things that pop into our minds. (370) They have the power to make certain events big news and mean a lot while they downplay other events.

The media and news have such an important job, their job is to educate the public on what is happening around the world. I believe it is important to keep all information unbiased, expressing all of the facts so then the people can make the decisions and can develop their own unique ideas and beliefs. When the media ever so slightly changes the story or emphasizes one specific portion of the story, our minds get swayed to believe one side of the story. On the extreme side, it can look like a form of brainwashing because they are telling the people what to think and how to act. James Tanark said it best when he was explaining selection, emphasis, and elaboration. Selection is important to understand because the news and media outlets want to pick stories that are relevant and will get more eyes on their network. Once they select a story they need to emphasize one critical aspect of the story. They will emphasize what is important to them and their audience. In the case of the media and elections, certain media stations decided it would be best to choose a picture of Joe Biden smiling and looking good, while President Trump’s picture was a mean scowl. When one looked deeper into how the media influences our choices throughout the presidential election it is obvious that the media picks sides. Depending on which channel you choose to watch, the way their news and tell you why it is important. When looking at right-wing politics they focus on how Vice President Joe Biden is old and unfit to take on the role of president. On the other side of the spectrum, they focus on President Trump’s racist and sexiest remarks. Both sides are guilty of framing. This becomes a major issue when we become blind to the way the media influences us. This is important to understand so you do your own research and develop your own thought rather than listening to one specific media outlet and let them control your beliefs.

Agenda-setting in the 2020 election

Blog Post 9: Co-Culture Theory

Cross-Cultural Communication – Professional Communications

Over the summer I had the privilege of working with many individuals. The person who is solely responsible for my success throughout the internship is a gentleman who we will call Isiah for the sake of privacy. Isiah grew up in the inner city of Boston and grew up with a hard life as a poor African American, but he worked hard to escape that life so his children can one day have a better life. Isiah understood that others treated him differently but decided to turn a blind eye, but for the most part, he was just another salesperson doing his job. I always thought he was just like everyone else I worked with because he talked like us, dressed like us, and even used the same slang that we used on a daily basis. I never thought too much of it until one day where we got ourselves into a little pickle. We were in a lower-class neighborhood and some individuals came up and began to harass me for being white and wearing nice clothes and him for being the “whitest black guy in America”. Isiah jumped into action and started speaking in slang and with a tone that I have never heard before. After we were back in the car I asked what happened. He acknowledged what he did and claimed that those were the kind of people he used to hang with and he knew how to deal with them.

In Chapter 36 Co-Cultural Theory of Mark Orbe, we learned the importance of the Co-Cultural group or “the marginalized groups such as women, people of color, the economically disadvantaged, people with physical disabilities, the LGBTQ community, and religious minorities”(449). Isiah fit into this group but more importantly, Isiah participated in assimilation or the “process of fitting into the dominant culture while shedding the speech and nonverbal markers of the co-cultural group” (451). Furthermore, Isiah participates in Communication Orientation or “the combination of a co-culture group members preferred outcome and the communication approach he or she chooses to achieve a goal” (450).

Isiah does an excellent job showcasing Co-Cultural Theory from multiple perspectives. First and foremost he is a member of a co-culture group because of his African-American background. In the example above, Isiah uses different aspects from his other experiences to achieve the outcomes he desires. In the case where we were confronted and harassed, he used his knowledge from his teenage years to help get the outcome we both wanted, to get back to the office in one piece. Although at first, the individuals thought he was the “whitest black man in the United States” they soon connected the dots and realized this man has become a master at adopting a new culture and making it his own. From seeing firsthand the way he talked and the way he was reacted in that one moment it is clear that the process of assimilation has taken its course. Right after this, he looked at me and he could tell that I was perplexed because I have not seen that side of him. I only knew the office, Isiah, where he would talk like everyone else and use the slag that we used. No one would ever know he was not apart of the dominant culture unless a situation forced him to adapt and change. Furthermore, he was completely adapted to the culture’s verbal and nonverbal markers to better fit in. Co-Culture Theory does a great job showing how the actions of both the Dominant and the Co-Culture group and how these intertwine with one another.

The Rhetoric of Race, Culture, and Identity: Rachel Dolezal as Co-Cultural Group Member

Blog Post 8: A Glimpse Into my Previous Self

Inside every laughing man, is a crying boy. Won't someone think of the children? : im14andthisisdeep We all have had a moment where we desperately needed to go to bed but for some reason, your brain tells you to think about that one moment in your past that still makes you cringe to this day. This is what happened to me a couple years ago, but oddly enough I did not cringe. Instead, I was hit with a wave of emotions and enlightenment. I have lived my whole life not as a lie but close to it. I believe an article written by Saylor Academy hit the nail right on the head when explaining Face Management theory. Face Management Theory “acknowledges that individuals are concerned about how others perceive them.” This was the lie but not a lie that I was living until recently. It can be classified as a lie, but not to another individual, but to myself. I was not true to who I was as an individual because I was always concerned with my public appearance and how others saw me rather than fulfilling my own destiny. I would act in certain ways depending on who I was around, dress differently, but more importantly, I was not expressing who I was because I was concerned that the image I expressed would not mix well. This lie caused me to appear happy and have a lot of friends, but the sad reality was I was lonely with zero true friends because I was not true to myself. I was too concerned with the Face rather than my own identity.

The article acknowledges that it is an assumption of Face Negotiation Theory “that people in all cultures work to maintain face in all situations [and]… the root of conflict is based on self-management on an individual and cultural level.” In a study done by Tomkins and McCarter in 1964, they discovered that there are only seven universal facial expressions. The expressions of anger, joy, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise are universal, but every other emotion felt depends on the culture surrounding the individual.  The main reoccurring factor is Face, or “the projected image of one’s self in a relational situation”(436). This theory acknowledges that different cultures have different facework or  “specific verbal and nonverbal messages that help to maintain and restore face loss and to uphold and honor the face gain”(436). The connections are made that connect the type of culture to the type of face concern to the type of conflict style that would be used to manage the conflict. In cultures, Collectivistic culture, or when “people identify with a larger group that is responsible for providing care in exchange for the group loyalty” is the main source of belonging. They build loyalty to the group and depend more on the ‘us’ rather than the ‘I’.

For me, I went wrong in a couple of places. First and foremost my I was overly concerned with the Face. I deemed the projected image of self to be greater than my true self. This caused me to act differently depending on who I was around to best fit in. I am not proud of this but it has taught me how to get along with a more diverse group of individuals. As a direct result of bonding with different groups from different cultures, my knowledge about facework has multiplied. I am able to pick up on specific cues and nonverbals from different cultures and understand the difference when deciphering their meaning. I believe collectivistic culture played a major role, but I also believe that the role it played should have been less substantial than it actually was. Instead of being one of the leading factors, I should have focused a little more on the I or Me as the individual rather than putting more thought into us or Team if I may. In hindsight, it is obvious that I have been avoiding the battle within me for a long time. I withdrew from having this conversation because I did not want to openly discuss this concept with myself because I feared the fact that I did not truly have a definition of who I was as an individual, and relied too heavily on others to mold my personality. I had no self-image, but who knew that all I needed to do was admit to myself my faults and life would find a way to set me on the path of finding my own individuality.

Blog Post 7: Culture, Ethnography, and Language Walk into a Bar…

Chris White spoke at a ted talk in April of 2019. The main message throughout his lecture was a culture within the workplace that can create the best employees. His address focuses on the protest that was held at Google because the workers were tired of “checking our identities and workplace values at the door.” Not everyone feels that comfortable at work where they can speak their mind and protest for what they believe in without feeling at risk for their job. Mr. White later goes into great detail about walkouts and how they used to be public and a major deal, know they happen on a daily basis, and often going unnoticed by others in the form of “checkouts” or when we go blank while at work. From an employer’s point of view, there are three things that can be done to minimize this, the first is to unblock communication. These walkouts and checkouts happen because people feel like they have been silenced and they feel the necessity that they have to be heard. The next step is to become responsive. It is never enough just to hear people out we need to listen and address the issues. Finally, one needs to aim higher. Chris White believes that the worker is “more than just the sum of our resumes”.

Chris White’s saying goes hand in hand with Geertz’s belief that “culture is not just another piece of the puzzle; it is the puzzle”(238).  When one wants to understand and attempt to build a culture they must first know about the “webs of significance, [and] the systems shared meaning”, which is the very definition of culture (238). This is important to understand in both situations because no matter how close-knit the culture is there will always be “subcultures and counterculture”(238). Geertz gives an example of the different departments within a workplace and how they have their rivalries. The salespeople call the accountants ‘bean counters’ while the accountants call the salespeople faster talkers. They belong to the same company and have the same goal, but there is still this division. This brings cultural performance into the equation, or the “very actions by which members constitute a reveal their culture to themselves and to others”(238).

When considering what it takes to create a thriving culture it becomes evident why the people working at Google decided to walk out. Besides the ingredients to Chris White’s arguments of suppressing the voices of their workers, the lack of response from higher management to problems that were brought in front of them, and lastly not aiming higher. These were the reasons that the walkout occurred in the first place. To be a good leader and to have people who are willing to follow you and listen to you, you first need to understand their needs and listen to what they need to be happy. At the end of the ted talk, Chris White said that the people are more than a combination of their resumes which relates directly to the culture being the puzzle. The puzzle is always multiple pieces, and once you solve these pieces it generates a clearer picture for one to enjoy. But instead, the pieces are the individual cultures, and only through uniting all of the different cultures within the company can the company redeem new light. Once this new light is seen it helps unify the subcultures and counterculture and disperse of those rivalries between accountants and salespeople. Overall bringing the cultural performance from an I to a We.

Blog Post 6: Secrets, Secrets, Are No Fun Unless You Share With Everyone

CAT Is Out of the Bag - TabbFORUMIt is official, “the cat is out of the bag.” This saying is one that we all have been hearing for as long as people have been telling secrets. But it’s funny how once that bell is wrong it is impossible to unring it. When I was in the second grade my teacher Mrs. Serano taught us a valuable lesson. There were rumors going around the entire school that one girl kissed a boy behind a bush during recess. When a second grader here’s this it spreads faster than the wildfires in California, within the hour it was the topic of the playground. Once my teacher heard about the rumor, and having both of the kids in her class she figured the topic of secrets and rumors needed to be addressed. The next day there were tubes of toothpaste on everyone’s desk. We were all puzzled. She told us all to poke as many holes in the tube as we wanted and squeezed all of the minty freshness out onto paper towels. But what she said next caught all of us off guard. She said, “Now put all of the toothpaste back into the tube”. No one could figure out a way where this could be done. This essentially taught us Communication Privacy Management theory, as well as the importance of trusting who you tell your secrets to. The article To Reveal or Conceal: Using Communication Privacy Management Theory to Understand Disclosures goes into detail regarding when you should and should not share private information.

Communication privacy management theory (CPM) expresses the importance of privacy and how the right to control your own privacy is in your hands until you share with another individual. Private information is any “content of potential disclosures; information that can be owned”(146). This sensitive information is typically surrounded by a feeling that you have the right to own this information. In theory, this process is easygoing and should remain drama free. But it gets complicated when considering the collective privacy boundary or “an intersection of personal privacy boundaries of co-owners of private information, all of whom are responsible for the information”(149). This is crucial when you are communicating private information with your friends because they need to understand their own role in keeping the secrete. If your friend is a shareholder they are more committed to “handling private information according to the original privacy holders rules”(151). People tend to get themselves into trouble because they assume that all of their friends are shareholders disregarding the possibility that people are going to share the information with people who tell everyone.

Let’s face it, we all have those secrets that we do not want certain individuals to know. Whether it is that one thing you did in college that you mom can never know or even something that you did that was funny at the moment but you regret but know you are going to take it to the grave. This private information will always remain private as long as you do not tell a soul. But we are all humans, and people tend to witness these moments, so instead of trusting yourself to take this secret to the grave, you must trust the people who were also there. In the case above, regarding the young children kissing behind the bush, private information was shared with an individual who had no respect for privacy. This individual told one person who told another and the train continued until everyone knew. Their mistake was the fact that they assumed they were a stakeholder, but in reality, they did not deserve to share that information, they should have been a shareholder. When word got out deliberate confidant people sought out to find what everyone was talking about just to say that they knew what happened behind the bush. In hindsight, only two people should have known what happened but one individual told one person they believed they could trust. It just goes to show how once the cat is out of the bag, the individuals who possess this new-found knowledge can either listen to take the role of a shareholder or act against their wishes. Once the cat is out of the bag, it is impossible to put the cat back into the bag.

Blog Post 5: Is Leading and Forcing Strong Ties Beneficial or Detrimential?

The Strength of Weak Ties - Visible Network LabsAt this point in our life, we have all worked in groups in one shape or form. Whether it is for a group project for your least favorite class, or working in your dream job to accomplish a life-changing project. Either way, you must bond with your group. Now picture this, you took charge of the group either as a leader or even a boss. Is it better to force the group to establish strong ties or to let them continue their actions and let the group decide what ties are going to be established? Personally, my boss thought that forcing all the co-workers to have strong ties would be most beneficial. Although scholars can see benefits from strong ties, this instance it held the team back from reaching our full potential. Here is why weak ties can be more important to group health than forcing the development of strong ties. Ian Leslie wrote an article that shows the importance of weak ties and how they can boost happiness and create a greater sense of belonging.

Caroline Haythornthwaite focused her studies on Media Multiplexity or the understanding that “Strongly tied pairs use more media to sustain their relationships than weakly tied pairs” (161).  The tie strength is the “degree of connection between people determined by the amount of time spent together, emotional intensity and intimacy”(161). A strong tie is essentially when people invest a significant portion of their time and energy to a specific bond. In addition, a weak tie is like a friend we see from time to time that we have only met once or twice and occasionally wave. Although an individual needs strong ties for good friends and romantic partners, all of their ties do not need to share this same level of involvement. Ian Leslie believes that “by engaging in a wide variety of conversations with weak ties people can learn about how to cope with the various difficulties of life”. Although strong ties can create deeper relationships, forcing these ties make individuals burn out

Strong ties are meant for only a select few people in your life. Personally, I believe these ties should remain for the individuals you truly care about in your life like your family, close friends, and romantic partners. In the case above, my boss thought that the closer the tie between the group would be beneficial, and in many ways, I agree with him. A group with a stronger tie can lead to the group working more efficiently, and work better with one another. But in this case, it is like trying to hold a boulder from falling off of a cliff with a thin rope. The rope can hold this weight for only so long, but inevitably the rope is going to break causing the boulder to roll uncontrollably down the cliff. Strong ties take a lot of energy to keep and actually takes a significant amount of effort from all parties involved to keep strong. Forcing this tie caused the rope to fray and no one in the group had the strength to keep it all together. Our group fell apart. In hindsight, if the boss never forced these ties instead let us figure out who we wanted to be close with and who we wanted to keep on the outside of our circle, I believe the group would have been stronger. I know the idea of weak ties making a group stronger sounds weird, but remaining the strong ties that very few individuals wanted made the group grow apart from each other.

Why your ‘weak-tie’ friendships may mean more than you think