Of the skills listed in the essay, I think that the three that I am most adept at using are: Play, Performance, and Distributed Cognition.

Play, because I love to do the whole “trial and error” thing with whatever I’m doing, unless it’s for a grad class…then, I don’t play. I think that trying different ways and playing with the methods used to arrive at a specific answer is fun. Take this course, for example: there are so many different ways to complete the homework and projects, I think it’s just a matter of playing with the technologies to find the perfect end-product. In my personal life, where play is concerned, it seems that I do nothing but play video games. As silly as it sounds, I think that video games are helpful to development in that they challenge players to “play” with problem-solving aspects in order to complete quests and win the game. In my professional life, which hasn’t technically begun yet, but I can imagine, Play is integrated into that area through what I want to do professionally (Public Relations). In that field, I would imagine that one has to use their ability to play with information and make it so that the information to be distributed to the general public reaches the target audience with the most appropriate message.

Play and Performance, I think, go hand in hand because when you perform a certain role or adapt to a certain situation, you are somewhat playing with your demeanor. I think everyone uses Performance skills in their everyday social lives because who we are slightly alters depending on what groups of people we hang out with. For instance, around best friends, people tend to be less guarded and more open with who they are, but around people they are just friends or acquaintances with, I feel like people have a tendency to put on airs and make themselves more guarded. I know that I do that a lot in my personal life, but to me it’s actually kind of fun. It’s exhausting at times, but that makes hanging out with people I’m close to more enjoyable. In academics, I think that Performance most comes into play during things like group work where there is one designated leader for two or three other people in the group. I generally like to take up the leadership role and be the go-to person for when group members have questions. Again, in my professional life, I would imagine that PR practitioners have to play with multiple roles during the course of their careers–editors, journalists, managers–roles similar to those.

Distributed Cognition, I feel, I also use a lot in my personal life because Henry Jenkins also touches on gaming here as a portal into this theory’s domain. Games such as Starcraft and Age of Empires have challenged gamers to know not only what is going on in their direct vicinity, but also to plan for what the AI or other players’ teams might be doing in undiscovered regions of a particular map. Getting away from the geek, in the academic world, it seems as though just by using new technologies, we are participating in Distributed Cognition. In this very class, even, I am using technologies I’ve never even heard about before in order to get a good grade on a project. That being said, I think that the Library’s Databases could be a type of Distributed Cognition, bordering on Collective Intelligence. And in my professional life, I feel as though in order to be a good PR practitioner, you have to be willing to experiment with different technologies and find out what new technologies work and do not work for you and your practice.

 

The three that I need to work on the most are: Multi-tasking, Negotiation, and Simulation. I am a horrible multi-tasker. I get distracted too easily by the smallest things and it takes me forever to finish a project with a reasonable amount of time to spare. I need to be more aware of what needs to be done rather than what can be done, and I think that I can work on this particular skill by making myself realize when I am getting distracted too easily or when I plan too many things for my days and say to myself “Hey, slow down. You need to focus.” Negotiation is something that I also need to work on because of the fact that I can be extremely stubborn when I am passionate about something. That unwillingness to listen is not conducive to a work environment and if I want to be successful, I have to be able to be compassionate not to just my viewpoint but to others’ as well and see where mine and theirs could meet in the middle. I think that I can work on this by keeping my temper in check and seeing someone whose viewpoints differ from mine as someone who has the potential to be an ally rather than the opposition. Simulation I’ve always had a hard time with because of the fact that I have a big imagination but when it comes down to it, I don’t have the ability to adequately construct with my hands what is in my head. I don’t think that it’s too much of a hindrance, but I would like to be able to create what I imagine. I think that this class will be invaluable in that because I’m already using tools I never thought I would, and I think that once you’re working in digital spaces and know how to move fluidly through them, you can do pretty much anything you imagine you can. That’ll be fun.

 

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