UPDATE 8/22/12: One of the members of our panel has created an awesome video explaining what we are hoping to accomplish with our SXSW presentation. Check it out and don’t forget to vote here:
Is social media helping or hurting us? The standard argument against our current preoccupation with social media preaches that social media is an unhealthy compulsion. Checking Twitter is like eating that first delicious crunchy potato chip – it feels great until we’ve eaten the entire bag. After reading tweets all morning, desperately trolling the internet for that one last morsel of information, we feel bloated by information, tired, and overwhelmed. We beat ourselves up and yet our inner sadomasochist begs for more. In the era of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” light BDSM is very appealing. But there is another narrative: Social media is a healthy compulsion. In our desire to be connected we bring connection and information to people that make our community, profession, and the world a better place. Accessing our inner dominatrix becomes a gift to the world. Join us as we explore and discuss ways that mindfulness techniques can help you accept and enjoy your Fifty Shades of Social Media.
- What indicates a serious problem?
- Why am I torturing myself and is that really a bad thing?
- Should we seek to limit exposure to technology, or should we seek to develop (new) ways of managing the vast amount of information at our fingertips?
- Are current approaches to managing stress appropriate to addressing this problem, or does it require a paradigmatic change?
- What strategies will allow me to achieve Net Freedom? What is it about mindfulness that can help set me free
- Mozart Guerrier, Aunt Bertha
- Jonathan Singer, Temple University, Social Work Podcast
- Karen Zgoda, Boston College
- Nancy Smyth, University at Buffalo, Virtual Connections
Voting has begun and ENDS August 31. Voting is very competitive and accounts for 30% of a panel being selected.
Please VOTE NOW at this link - http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/2864
You have to create an account to vote BUT I SWEAR it will only take 20 seconds. THANK YOU for your help and kindly share this link!!
UPDATE November 26, 2013: Now available at the USA Today!
UPDATE November 4, 2013: Now available at the Huffington Post!
UPDATE August 8, 2013: Currently this post is at ~300,000 views (298,742 to be exact). THANK YOU INTERNET!
UPDATE December 6, 2012: Folks, I am deeply humbled by the attention this post has received. Here are recent stats:
Welcome!! Over 48,000 of you, most likely current or former graduate students, stopped by to say hi and laugh just yesterday alone. Most of you found this post via a link shared on Facebook or Twitter. I’m so glad you are here, and I hope the post made you laugh and cheered you up. I drafted this post at an incredibly low point in writing my dissertation. I felt horribly alone in the struggle to finish and honestly just felt so hopeless about ever finishing. I still cycle through these emotions. At another low point recently I glanced at my blog stats and was just flabbergasted by how many folks have visited this past week. A great many of you have left comments, shared your experiences, reblogged the post on your own blog, shared the link with others, and liked the post. You cannot imagine how beautiful this gift is to receive from you, and I don’t know how to truly express my gratitude to you all. Even though we must all overcome our own individual struggles to complete our own PhD/graduate school journeys, I am forever grateful that to plainly see that we are, truly, not alone here. Thank you for stopping by, and I truly hope your journey is successful, fruitful, productive, and OVER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE ONLY GOOD DISSERTATION IS A GOOD DISSERTATION – GET ‘ER DONE!!
A new gift idea for your loved ones: Graduate School Barbie (TM).
Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie (TM) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (TM).
Every Graduate School Barbie comes with these fun filled features guaranteed to delight and entertain for hours: Grad School Barbie comes out of the box with a big grin on her face that turns into a frown after 2 weeks or her first advisor meeting (whichever comes first). She also has adorable black circles under her delightfully bloodshot eyes.
Comes with two outfits: a grubby pair of blue jeans and 5 year old gap T-shirt, and a floppy pair of gray sweatpants with a matching “I hate my life” T-shirt. Grad School Barbie talks! Just press the button on her left hand and hear her say such upbeat grad school phrases like, “Yes, Professor, It’ll be done by tomorrow”, “I’d love to rewrite” and “Why didn’t I just get a job, I could have been making $40,000 a year by now if I had just started working with a Bachelor’s. But noooooo, I chose to further my education, I wish somebody would drop a bomb on the school so that I’d have an excuse to stop working on my degree that’s sucking every last drop of life force out of my withered and degraded excuse for a soul…” (9V lithium batteries sold separately)
Grad School Barbie is anatomically correct to teach kids about the exciting changes that come with pursuing a higher education. Removable panels on Barbie’s head and torso allow you to watch as her cerebellum fries to a crispy brown, her heart race 150 beats per minute, and her stomach lining gradually dissolve into nothing. Deluxe Barbie comes with specially designed eye ducts. Just add a little water, and watch Grad School Barbie burst into tears at random intervals. Fun for the whole family!
Other accessories include:
Grad School Barbie’s Fun Fridge (TM) Well stocked with microwave popcorn, Coca-Cola, Healthy Choice Bologna (99% fat free!),and a small bottle of Mattel Brand Rum ™.
Grad School Barbie’s Medicine Cabinet comes in Fabulous (pepto-bismal) pink and contains Barbie sized bottles of Advil, St. Johns Wort, Zantac, and your choice of three fun anti-anxiety drugs! (Barbie Medicine Cabinet not available without a prescription).
Grad School Barbie’s Computer Workstation. Comes with miniature obsolete PC (in pink of course), rickety desk, and over a dozen miniature Mountain Dew cans to decorate your workstation with (Mountain Dew deposit not included in price. Tech support sold separately).
And Grad School Barbie is not alone! Order now and you’ll get two of Barbie’s great friends! GRADUATE ADVISOR KEN, Barbie’s mentor and advisor in her quest for knowledge, higher education and decreased self esteem.
Grad Advisor Ken ™ comes with a supply of red pens and a permanent frown. Press the button to hear Grad Advisor Ken deliver such wisdom to Barbie as “I need an update on your progress,” “I don’t think you’re ready to defend yet”, and “This is no where near ready for publication.”
Buy 3 or more dolls, and you can have Barbie’s Thesis Committee! (Palm Pilot and tenure sold separately.)
REAL JOB SKIPPER, When Barbie needs to talk, she knows that she can always count on her good friend Real Job Skipper ™, who got a job after getting her bachelor degree. Press the button to hear Real Job Skipper say, “Sometimes I wish I went for my masters degree” and “Work is so hard! I had to work a half an hour of overtime!” Real Job Skipper’s Work Wardrobe and Savings account sold separately.
WARNING: Do not place Grad Student Barbie and Real Job Skipper too close to each other, as there have been several cases of children leaving the room and coming back to find Barbie’s hands mysteriously fused to Skipper’s throat.
Somedays I am the student freaking out. Other days I grab the available seat.
I recently found out that I had a month less than anticipated to hand in the complete draft of my dissertation. If it is in good enough shape by July 1 and my committee members are available, I may be able to defend this summer. The hustle is ON.
At this stage of the first draft compiling, writing this dissertation feels like selecting quotes out of a salad bar and trying to string them together coherently, although hopefully a step above this word salad:
Here is the latest clip from the literature review. It addresses what I think is the most important, sustainable aspect of interagency collaborations, namely the relationships that are created between collaboration members:
In addition to these tangible gains of participating in an interagency collaboration, much research has discussed the intangible benefits of participation in terms of relationships between members. Mizrahi and Rosenthal (2001) observed that achieving tangible interagency collaboration benefits is difficult but members considered continuous participation in the collaboration to work on common goals to be a successful outcome. Rivard, Johnsen, Morrissey, and Starrett (1999) found that interagency collaborations resulted in growth in interorganizational relationships between members. This finding was supported by Chever, Clifton, and Hogan (2005) who also found that interagency collaborations develop in such a way that a “wide range of entities, systems, and individuals can, in fact, develop a synergism in which the sum of the total is very much greater than its parts” (p. 12). Agranoff (2006) found that each individual agency participating in the collaboration gains:
Access to other agencies’ information, programs and resources, access to information and communications technology, cross-training of agency staff, and most important, enhanced external input into the internal knowledge base . . . collective process skills that accrue from working together over a sustained period of time . . . developing interagency planning, piloting an adaptation of new technology, developing a mutual interagency culture that leads to subsequent problem solving. (p. 58)
Agranoff (2008) concluded that these results were beneficial for individual member agencies and described this synergism as “reinforcing human capital growth by the benefit of successes” (p. 344). However, Byles (1985) notes that “collaboration requires more than the sharing of responsibility; it entails working together closely and observing each other’s performance – the dissolution of agency boundaries” (p. 553).
Yes, it’s quote heavy and some of them will need to be summarized rather than quoted, but PROGRESS.
I would like to thank every kind soul who has innocently asked “how’s the writing going?” lately. I defer to the eloquence of Big Gay Al:
My writing is not half as brilliant as this guy who adapted T. S. Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock for the technology age. It’s not a quarter as brilliant as MC Lars somehow rapping T. S. Eliot into a song.
But there is slow and steady progress being made, and for that I am grateful. Because it’s inexplicably hard. I think it’s the sheer volume of work involved, knowing that each and every word will be analyzed by my committee for what’s there and not there, for the sheer reward of jumping into an uncertain academic job market at the trough of the slowest hiring time of the year. It might be easier if I knew right now that I could afford to turn on my air conditioner this summer and at least be comfortable, but given that this line of thinking is one of the stupid habits you develop growing up poor, I should probably just try to ignore this as much as possible and just keep going.
So onward. Here’s the literature review outline:
The literature is all coded and organized within this outline and needs to be put in sentence form. If I send this to my advisor before he leaves the country, and complete my data analysis and send that to him too, and he approves of all this writing enough to send to my full committee by March 1, and they all agree that it’s good enough to set up a defense date, and I defend by March 30, I’ll graduate in May.
After all, if I can’t afford to turn on the AC, at least I’ll be a doctor who can’t afford it. Here’s to slowly working towards the sense of accomplishment of finishing this PhD and edging one step closer to the next chapter in life, which will truly be a fresh, blank page.
In an effort to keep myself on task and accountable to deadlines, I may use this blog to highlight pieces of my dissertation. As some readers familiar with dissertation writing may know, it is very likely that each piece will be revised radically before inclusion into the final document. I also tend to be very concise in my writing so I will spare you, gentle reader, the revision process by which my dissertation committee determines that all necessary information is included.
To that end, here is the first draft of the abstract. Data has not yet been fully analyzed and the abstract will be updated as more analysis is completed.
The Charlestown Connects program sought to provide improved community outcomes via an interagency collaboration between local government and nonprofit agencies. Building on a prior evaluation, this study examined the long-term effects and information on the processes involved in the Charlestown Connects interagency collaboration. Using qualitative interviews with program stakeholders and observations of community meetings sponsored by Charlestown Connects, this study provided useful information on improving interagency collaborations for social workers and others engaging in community work. Major findings discussed include challenges involved with collecting data in a closed community, the impact of interagency collaboration relationship building, and an examination of factors that helped grow and sustain the collaboration.