Murderer, Widower, or Both?

“He’s cute,” said Penny. “Doesn’t that teardrop tattoo mean he murdered someone?” asked Bernadette. Canned laughter ensued. I was watching The Big Bang Theory, and that one statement was all I knew about teardrop tattoos. I have since researched teardrop tattoos and learned that, while the tattoo can have many criminal connotations, it may also simply signify the death of a loved one or some other tragedy the wearer has experienced. At the time, however, based on the information I had, teardrop tattoo equated to murderer; and this was further supported by my past experience of having a coworker with a teardrop tattoo, who, rumor had it, had been convicted of attempted murder.

Clearly, how we present ourselves matters, and in the workforce, it matters based not on what we mean to portray, but based on how we are viewed by those we are portraying ourselves to. Tattoos are an example of nonverbal communication, something that gives people an impression of us based on their own interpretations of how we look. A first impression is made in a matter of seconds, and, later, is very hard to overturn, which means that how we present ourselves can be our biggest weapon or our greatest downfall. Navigating the world of nonverbal communication is especially difficult when dealing with a workforce comprised of multiple generations.

A Harris research poll found that nearly half of millennials and a little over a third of Gen Xers have tattoos, while barely over 10% of Baby Boomers sport tattoos. In a workforce composed of at least these three generations, a tattoo will mean different things depending on the viewer. The fact that first impressions are made within the first few seconds of meeting someone means that, in an interview, a decision to NOT hire a candidate may be based on the nonverbal communication that occurs before a job applicant even has a chance to open his/her mouth.

As a millennial myself, I am not arguing that people should not express themselves via tattoos. I am simply urging readers to know their audience. An interview at a start-up begun by millennials like ourselves and an interview at a long established company with Baby Boomers in the positions of authority should be approached differently in regards to physical appearance. The same goes for actually working at these different establishments; being taken seriously at one may require a different appearance than being taking seriously at another. We can argue about the ‘injustice’ of the subconscious discrimination occurring or we can take control of the only aspect of it we are truly in charge of: ourselves. As Oscar Wilde says, “It’s the spectator, and not life, that art truly mirrors.” In other words, that teardrop tattoo can signify your heartache for your late wife all you want, but if the viewer thinks it means you murdered her…chances are…you won’t be hired.
By: Stephanie Baumgartner, Biology major at IUPUC

How Animals Communicate and What We Can Learn from Them

I chose this topic because it was one that really speaks to me.  I’m not one for politicians or even pop culture, but one thing I do know and love is animals.  Having three dogs of our own can be a handful at times, but there isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t do something to surprise us or make us laugh.  One of the key problems that can occur between any human and animal is the lack of communication and understanding due to the language barrier.  Yes, we can teach a dog some key words through training, but for the most part they have their own natural train of thought and instincts that they get from the moment that they are born.

There are really three main types of communication in the animal world.  These are: visual, auditory, and chemical/electrical signals.  Visual signals are obviously ones that can be seen, which limits the proximity in which they are effective.  Typical types of visual signals among animals might be where it will change its color, stance, or its general appearance in a way that allows it to communicate a certain message to the other person or animal.

Dogs use visual signals in a variety of ways.  They will lay down to show submission or tense up to show aggression.  They perk their ears up, which indicates that they hear something or are nervous.  One of the most common examples, however, would be that they wag their tails to show that they are happy or excited.

Auditory signals are ones that can be heard, which is a much more effective form of communication if you are further away or if the person or animal they are trying to communicate with is not near them.  Auditory signals are most commonly used in the animal world for mating purposes, to scare away a threat, or to seek help.  Birds will combine visual and auditory signals during mating dances.  Wolves are known to howl when they are separated from their pack, to tell other individuals that they occupy a certain territory, or when they are showing a little love.

Dogs use auditory signals for a wide variety of reasons, much to the dismay of many of their owners.  I know there have been many times when I haven’t been happy because our dogs are yelping while we’re trying to sleep or watch a movie.  Dogs will bark because they want to play, to warn of potential threats or threaten intruders, to discipline their young, or they will bark just because they are curious or want your attention.

The key to determining why your dog is barking or what it means lies in the context.  For example, we recently got a new dog named Odin who is almost two years old.  Vada, who is 6 years old, is the pack leader and barks at home quite often as a means of discipline due to the fact that he is very hyper and curious all of the time.  Odin, on the other hand, will bark more often due to the fact that he wants to play.  Darth will bark or growl to threaten other dogs if they are trying to take his food or toy that he is fond of.

Chemical communication is primarily used as an indirect form of communication.  This is most easily explained by when a dog uses the bathroom on an object or area to mark their territory.  The dog isn’t directly informing anyone in most cases, but rather once another dog comes near it, the communication has been made.  Electrical signals are commonly used by some different types of fish to navigate and to find food.

In all of these instances, you have a sender and a receiver of information.  Over the years, the animal world has learned to identify what these different signals mean and how to interpret and use them.  For some animals, it takes time to learn how to produce a proper, effective signal.  Some animals, for example, will learn what smells or sounds are associated with a particular species.  They can learn to determine that a low pitched audible cue may be from a larger foe, while a high pitched sound is likely from something much smaller.

Using these instincts and this knowledge to their advantage is key to survival.  It’s something that we can learn to become more accustomed to in order to get along with them, understand them, and to appreciate them for who they are.  Becoming keener with our senses rather than relying on language alone can also help us to live better lives and adapt to various situations.  Being able to identify our fellow human’s body language, tones, and other signals will only make things better for us in the long run.  Especially for those of us who are married.

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Promotional Publications

As I flip through various issues of the widely recognized publication, Sports Illustrated, certain components of the magazine stand out to me. Most prominent of course is the reasonably consistent pages that appeal to a reader. In today’s day and age, marketing and advertising is crucial to a company’s growth and development. That being said, businesses and publications alike are strategically placing ads that appeal to a reader in their magazines that will generate a response.

After I learned I would be writing this blog, I gathered all of the Sports Illustrated issues laying around my house and also made a trip to the local high school library at which I work on occasion. Between the two, I was able to accumulate a hefty stack of issues sufficient enough to satisfy a Doctor’s office for a few months. I began to dissect the magazines page by page and quickly saw my expectations were accurate: Sports Illustrated directs its ads to young adults and athletes.

After close scrutiny, a reader could generalize that the ads in Sports Illustrated are directed towards the younger generations of our society. Empirically speaking, the ads typically appeal to readers who want to be “hip, stylish and trendy” while also maintaining an athletic appearance. In terms of gender, the ads are most certainly geared towards young to middle aged men. With repeated occurrences of ads from companies like Viagra, Gatorade and Nike, I believe it is safe to say that our target market is quite apparent.

In conclusion, Sports Illustrated is able to provide an interesting publication while also providing applicable ads that a reader can relate to. That being said, it can be concluded that the ads in Sports Illustrated are directed towards, but not limited to, young to middle age males that have an interest in sports and also directed towards an athlete of any age.

By: Josh Davidson, Business Major, IUPUC

Oversea Conflict

Going overseas can be stressful for many people, especially if it is for a business assignment. Even though it may be stressful there are many ways to try to help make it less stressful. A good way to help with this stressful situation is to be prepared for talking with foreign co-workers. There are many ways to prepare for this like, knowing which country the assignment is in, the length of the assignment, and learn some about their culture.

Upon getting tasked to an assignment in a foreign country, first figure out which country it will be in. Knowing which country the assignment will be in will help to break the language barrier if there is one. The co-workers may speak the same language or they may speak the one common in their country. Knowing what language your co-workers speak will help to know if there will be a language barrier that could cause problems. If there is going to be a language barrier, then the best thing to do would be to learn more about their language. When learning another language some research is going to have to be done in order to efficiently learn the language. The amount of their language that would need to be learned would have to depend on the length of the assignment.

The length of the assignment can determine a lot about how prepared a person needs to be when going on an overseas assignment. If a person is only going to be there for about a week or two then some language should be learned. For this short amount of time, a person should be prepared enough that the language will not be a problem for them to speak and understand, but the person would not need to become fluent in the language. However, if the person is going to be on the assignment for a year or more, then the language should be more familiar to them before they leave.

The knowledge of the culture of the country is very important to know in order to be prepared for an overseas assignment. Knowing the culture is very important especially if the person has to do any public speaking. Some cultures can have different meanings to things than other countries. For instance, in the United States the cuss words are different from the cuss words of Great Britain. Therefore, something that would mean nothing in the U.S. can cause some conflict if unknowingly said in Great Britain. Another big example would be hand gestures, like the okay hand symbol. This is normal everyday behavior in the U.S. that means okay, but in other countries this symbol would be ‘flipping someone off’. To be prepared for speaking to foreign co-workers knowing the culture is a big one to ensure that there would not be any conflict or awkward situations.

Being unprepared for a business assignment overseas can be very stressful. The best way to reduce stress during this situation is to be prepared for everything that could make the assignment stressful, like a gesture that could ruin the speech that will land the company a new business in another country. Overall, an employee can best be prepared by knowing where, how long, and the culture of the business assignment.

By Heather Hehe, English Major-IUPUC

Water Cooler Worries

What is a water cooler conversation? Dictionary.com states that a water cooler conversation is an “informal conversation among office staff.” I believe that the word office is not needed in this definition because informal conversations take place in retail and factory work the same way that they would in an office setting.

What drew me to this topic was that this was brought up as an issue in a recent review of my company’s policies. We may have misused the definition of the topic, our problem was hallway conversations. Two employees would see each other in the hallway and they would talk about a current conversation and move on, but everyone else on that project would be left out.

This is not the typical issue with water cooler conversation. Most of the places that I looked, water cooler conversations were viewed positively. Talking to other employees allows people to recharge their batteries, build relationships and if used correctly can raise work place morale.  When the conversations are negative about other employees or if major negative news about the company is delivered with this method, the workplace morale can be drastically brought down.  Overall in general I believe that water cooler conversations are good for companies and can be beneficial for employees.

By Zach Walker, Mechanical Engineering Technology- Purdue College of Technology

Wild Slang

Have you recently looked up the average number of text messages you send every day? If you have, have you checked to see in how many of them you used abbreviations, incorrect grammar, slang, or no punctuation? As texting and social media have been on the rise over the past decade everyone has adjusted to simplifying their ideas, with grammatical mistakes, as much as possible. After we continuously make grammatical errors or simplify our thoughts in our posts or texts it becomes a habit. This habit of informal communication has begun to take over the world.

Knowing when to use formal writing and correct punctuation is very important. Using incorrect punctuation can reflect a negative image on a person in certain situations. For example, if you are trying to get a job and you wrote a resume using incorrect punctuation, slang and abbreviations then that could foreshadow on whether you receive the job or not. We should all know to use correct punctuation and proper grammar when dealing with professional topics. If you are writing to your co-workers, bosses or teachers it is important to know the difference between their and there or your and you’re. Writing an email, letter or memo with incorrect wording or improper punctuation can create a different meaning then what the sender is trying to portray. Make sure you proofread every piece of writing that’s supposed to be important and sound professional so you can make it correct.

The interesting thing about slang and informal communication is that it has grown so much during the past decade. Most of these improper writings come from the younger generation in the world. The older generation is better at knowing the correct times to use the correct language. Most of our grandparents and even some parents do not understand what this “slang” means half the time. It is easier for them to use the correct language and punctuation because they grew up using it. The access for electronics, social media, and texting starts at a very young age now-days. Repetitively reading and replying to slang at a very young age creates the bad habit of informal communication during this young age. Everyone should know that doing something over and over from such a young age is hard to change when you get older. We all need to constantly remind ourselves that it is okay to talk and write informally, but we also need to practice formal writing at times.

Any time you have the chance to write formally you should take advantage of it. Writing formally makes you look professional and educated. Correcting as many mistakes as possible in your texts and social media posts will help form the skills of correct writing for appropriate times. Next time you see someone make a mistake point it out and make sure they understand the difference in what they wrote and what they meant. Being corrected might be embarrassing at that point in time, but impressing someone with correct grammar, punctuation and word usage in the long run will bring a great feeling of accomplishment. Language can be confusing, but hey so are the electronic devices you use daily. If you can succeed with figuring out all the new technology then formal communication won’t be too big of a challenge for you to understand.

– Trevor Armel IUPUC Business Finance Major

What should be told to you?

People always wonder if their boss is telling them everything, sometimes it is everything and sometimes it isn’t. Generally employees want to know everything that is going on, but is that really a good thing? It might not always be a good thing to know what the boss is doing and what they are going to do. If an employee is not told certain information there is probably a good reason that information is kept from them. One of the biggest reasons is because the employee does not need to know the information, and it would just cause concern to tell them.

On the other hand it might help out the company if all of the employees knew what was going on. People would stop worrying about the information they were not being given and focus more on what their jobs are. There are benefits and drawbacks from employees having too much knowledge. The employees are not worried about what they are not being told, but also there is some information that executives would rather not be known by the employees.

Most of the information that would be kept from the employees would be the company’s financial status, salaries, and possible mergers with other companies. When it comes down to it that information really does not need to be in the hands of regular employees, and if they do know about it on a regular basis then that can cause worry throughout the company. For some companies it may be possible to tell the employees more, but for most it is a better idea to tell the employees as much as they need to do their jobs.

What should be told to you?

People always wonder if their boss is telling them everything, sometimes it is everything and sometimes it isn’t. Generally employees want to know everything that is going on, but is that really a good thing? It might not always be a good thing to know what the boss is doing and what they are going to do. If an employee is not told certain information there is probably a good reason that information is kept from them. One of the biggest reasons is because the employee does not need to know the information, and it would just cause concern to tell them.

On the other hand it might help out the company if all of the employees knew what was going on. People would stop worrying about the information they were not being given and focus more on what their jobs are. There are benefits and drawbacks from employees having too much knowledge. The employees are not worried about what they are not being told, but also there is some information that executives would rather not be known by the employees.

Most of the information that would be kept from the employees would be the company’s financial status, salaries, and possible mergers with other companies. When it comes down to it that information really does not need to be in the hands of regular employees, and if they do know about it on a regular basis then that can cause worry throughout the company. For some companies it may be possible to tell the employees more, but for most it is a better idea to tell the employees as much as they need to do their jobs.

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