Fortunately and unfortunately, I recently got a chance to write a rejection letter to a potential employer. It could be just a piece of cake for you guys. But come on, I am a new graduate, I didn’t get a lot of  previous experiences to say “NO” to all the fancy companies and big titles.

I don’t want to be rude in my letter, of course, and I don’t want the boss to read my letter and think “thank god this girl didn’t take the offer”, that’s for sure too. What else don’t I want? Well, I try to  avoid being obnoxious, I say no cliché, and I don’t like to sound too humble. I mean, humble enough to show my respect and sincerity, but without expressing that “I am such a fool to reject your great company and wonderful offer”.

And there is another thing I have to confess – I kind of wanting the boss to still like me and to feel a little bit sad of not having me. (oh yes, by reading this post you are awarded an one-way ticket to the land of narcissism and a free chance to get goose bumps).

So, in order to accomplish all the mentioned above, I finally came out with a strategy to reject an unwanted job as if to reject an unwanted relationship; to say no to a boss as if to say no to an admirer.

I found this method helpful because its inner analogies work.  A potential employer and an admirer, the two just have a lot in common:

  1. they both like you.
  2. they both want to develop a relationship with you.
  3. they will not just disappear after you rejecting them, so there are big chances they are going to influence your future life.
  4. in many cases, you like them too, so you don’t want them to get hurt or to start hating you. And to be honest, even if there is really nothing going at the moment,  you may still want to save a rain check for the unknown future.



Week 12

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Uncategorized


Week 11: Just comments

Posted: November 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

My argument: When online collaboration is a good way to gather information and inspire thoughts, is it not a practical tool to fulfill the function of political deliberation and policy making in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and feasibility.

Nielsen (2010) argued in his article that when a rating system is incorporated, open editing mechanism may be a practical way to achieve satisfying policies because it allows publics to participate in the policy-making process. He explained that  

“the idea is to allow open editing of policy documents, in much the same way the Mathworks competition allows open editing of computer programs.”(link)

The basis for Nielsen’s suggestion lies in the idea of commonplace book. Johnson (2010) explained how a commonplace book worked in the early year by quoting the historian Robert Darnton that

 “you could read your way through it; and by keeping an account of your readings, you made a book of your own, one stamped with your personality.”(link)

Effectiveness problem:

A Policy document requires clear logic and precise wording. The descriptions in such document need to back-to-back rather than jumping. Based on Johnson’s quotation, although key words are provided in a commonplace book, the combinations of them are random and infinite. Each person can read the exact same context but come up with totally different schemes and understandings.

It is not always true that “more is better”. The process of policy making is most efficient when a limited number of people are engaged. Berger and Nitsch (2008) discussed the optimized number of people in deciding about monetary policy,

“the benefits of committee size are likely to become smaller as more and more people sit around the table. When individual members have fewer chances to influence a decision, they may have a larger incentive to free ride on the information-processing efforts of others.”(link)

Efficiency problem:

Also, the open-editing mechanism adds great difficulty in making policies timely.

 “The biggest barrier in distributed collaboration is the unreachability of distant partners. Normally partners make schedules and meet regularly to coordinate tasks and make new schedules. However, when unscheduled and exigent problems arise, they usually feel helpless either because of the unawareness of their partner’s phone number, or as a result of the unwillingness to get in touch with their partners at the cost of expensive international calls, which largely decrease the effectiveness in distributed collaboration.” (link)

Thus, the efficiency is not guaranteed in the open-editing process.

Feasibility problem:

Furthermore, there exists the problem of feasibility. When open editing allows people with conflicting interests to make a policy together, the chance that a mutual satisfying policy can be made is tiny. A good example is the great discussions among major research universities about the issue of researchers’ contact with pharmaceutical representatives. It was reported that

“despite the new ideas and years of discussions that preceded them, American universities are nowhere close to fixing their conflict-of-interest problems.” (link)

Consensus is hard to reach. At the end, some authorities need to step up to balance the interests and make a final decision, just like what we have been doing for a long time.

Activism Presentation

Posted: October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

The last media diary

Posted: October 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

My day began with me checking the UF Webmail. As soon as I got up, around 8:30, I turned on the laptop and logged on the Webmail. I was sure that there was nothing urgent, but I just wanted to double-check since I didn’t log on yesterday. There were several emails from professors and classmates with attached readings for next week’s class. I downloaded them. And there was link shared by another classmate. I clicked it and it led me to an article on the Wall Street Journal website. In the news story, the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim stated that building business was more effective than “being Santa Clause” to fight poverty, and “we should leave a better country to our children. But it’s more important to leave better children to our country.” Ok, Mr. Slim, I got your point. But I wasn’t sure if Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett did.

I started to feel hungry at 9:30, but there was nothing in my apartment ready-to-eat. Since I bought some taros yesterday, I googled for taro recipes. But apparently, to prepare a taro cuisine, one also needs to have chicken, or pork, or duck head, or fish head, or chocolate chips…Well, thank you Google, I guess I can just fry the taros with shallot.

I spent the rest of the morning and some time afternoon reading research papers and Googling to study content analysis of which I am supposed to a master before next Tuesday (Tuesday is the meeting day with my advisor). Since I am not actressing Mission Impossible IV, I guess I will just admit to my advisor shamelessly that in the world of content analysis, I am as blank as paper.

Around 16:00, my roommate and I started to fill online application for the 2011 Mars training program in China. We found this job information one day ago, and the application deadline is October 17 (but in Beijing time). Also, one has to find other two teammates to complete this application. So, for about an hour, both of us were posting recruitment information like crazy on the MarsChina forum.    

After dinner, my roommate and I watched two episodes of a Korean drama while waiting for others to reply to our posts. Korean dramas are usually very effective at easing tension since watching them requires no extra brainpower. Around 21:30, we finally began to get some replies. Hope we will meet the deadline!    

A small conclusion:

Writing media diary is kind of like self-monitoring. It makes me rethink the relationships between various media and myself. As different kinds of media have imbedded in our lives, I tended to take for granted that it is natural for us to spend all day on internet or on TV (I could watch TV all day in China when I had a TV…). After this week, it is a little scary to find how dependent I am on media (mainly Internet). Although media consumption is important and necessary in the modern world, media life should never equal to life in general. I will try to remember this experience and probably be more conscious in the future media usage.

Media diary six

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Morning Gators! (Greeting the gators on this post was the only homecoming-related activity I did today)

I got up round 8: 00 in the morning. Inside my apartment it was dark and outside quite. As age increases, I am gradually losing the ability to lie-in in the morning (sign). From 8: 30 to 15: 30, I have been working continuously on my project on the laptop. The subject of the project is an international event hosted annually by a city in China. And in those six hours, I was trying to identify major stakeholders of the event and make a SWOT analysis. Such task was tough since a lot of important information were either undocumented or unavailable through Internet. I dug as many online resources as I could to look for information. For instant, I visited websites of statistic bureaus at city, provincial, and national level to seek the city’s national GDP rankings. I found myself super annoying when writing the paper, because each time I couldn’t find what I wanted, I blamed either the institutions or the researchers who were supposed to have such information (never thought of blaming myself, haha).

After six hours’ typing the keyboard and staring at the screen, I finally got a conclusion: Internet may not be the headspring of accurate information, but it’s definitely the headspring of backache. Therefore, to relieve the side effect of Internet, my roommate and I decided to take a walk to the Asian supermarket (the one that sells persimmons), and at the entrance once again encountered some copies of Korean newspapers.

During dinner, I watched a Taiwan entertaining talk show on PPS. In the episode, the two hosts were interviewing a very famous local TV program producer who just got his book published. I then googled the producer and read some articles that had been included in the new book on his blog. One scene depicted in an article was amusing: for days, the producer’s elder daughter has kept asking him to take her to the Disneyland in Tokyo. The producer told her what she did was just childish, and here came her reply: “if you don’t want me to be childish then you have to take me to the Disneyland, so that I can finally move on from my childhood without regret.” That’s reasonable, take her!

Around 21:30, my friends in China were began to wake up and logged on their MSNs, so I chatted with them for a while. Development of technology has taught us the skill of multitasking. At the time, I was talking to four friends with totally different topics while browsing microblogs on Sina. Look, a Lebanese architect named Nadim karam has built “the cloud” in Dubai. What? The cloud? But wait a minute, such thing happened in Dubai. And when we hear the key word Dubai, we know it is of course another resort.  

Oh, and I forgot to mention I checked Hotmail several times during the day.

Media diary five

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is Thursday, a day without any class! I got up around 8:30, turning on my computer and posting yesterday’s media diary. An article on the WordPress homepage caught my attention—“Talk to me, Anderson Cooper”. I was neither familiar with nor interested in this person before yesterday. I knew he was a journalist and somebody in CNN, but that’s it. However, after yesterday’s class, my interest in him has grown a little. There was certain tension when his name was brought up during the class discussion; I felt that he must be one of those controversial figures whom people either love or hate. Anyway, I followed that link and here came the first sentence of that post:” I think Anderson Cooper is one smart, foxy dude. I don’t actually watch his show, but I still enjoy seeing his baby blues when I flip by en route to an irresistible re-run of What Not To Wear. I also have a friend whose husband looks exactly like him. I mean, seriously, he could be AC’s lost twin.” Ok…I lost my interest.

After breakfast, I wrote an email on Webmail to ask a professor if she could be my committee member. She was kind of hesitating when I made such request last time. Hope this email would work. I spent the rest of the morning and a little time in afternoon finishing the blog post for next week. It took me a while to find an online nonpartisan political activism organization whose website was sophisticated enough (by sophisticated I meant not ugly). I would like to save my findings here since they were going to be in my upcoming post.

I chatted with my cousin on MSN from 14:00 to 15:00. She is right now studying in London, majoring in Urbanology. I have been really interested in what she has studied because her major just sounds much cooler than mine (please excuse my shallowness). She told me that it was really hard to compete with students from EU countries, since most of the courses that she was taking were very Europe-oriented. Well, at least London is a fun place to live and travel, so generally speaking she enjoyed her life there. Before dinner, I browsed on Google to find some inspirations for the research paper of CSR class. We were supposed to have a proposal before next Wednesday but up till now I have nothing to propose about.

In the evening, I spent some time on RenRen (a Chinese version of Facebook), finding out a friend of mine from primary school just got married. OMG, am I stepping into the ages when classmates and friends begin to get married and have babies? I guess so. We are not kids anymore, and it made me sad in a sense. I then browsed some news websites. Just several hours ago, a military band in Norway played an unidentified song instead of Switzerland’s national anthem at the welcome ceremony for the Swiss president. Such thing happens…

Before going to sleep, I checked my UF Webmail again, and there was the reply from the professor, she finally agreed to be on my committee!

CommonDreams-mild activism

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

The organization I selected was It is a national non-profit, nonpartisan citizen’s organizations founded in 1997. The organization described its jobs as a) “We use the latest technology to bring the progressive community together online”, b) “We create political organizing tools and new models for Internet activism”, and c) “We publish breaking news from a progressive perspective. And the latest ideas and opinions of some of the world’s best progressive writers and activists.” cares about a wide range of issues, such as healthcare, economy, education, courts, infrastructure, and environment.

Some significant differences in the content of the two websites:

Some basic elements of MoveOn’s website mentioned by Rohlinger and Brown (2009) are membership, donation and intermediary actions (or “current campaigns”). While functions of membership and donation were found on, efforts on turning online activism into real world actions were not identified. Besides that, provided political news stories written by its staffs and readers. The organization accepts submissions of the readers and provides a writers’ guideline. Also worth noticing is that a privacy policy for members, supporters and visitors of the website has been made clear. It is stated on the website that “information provided voluntarily by you will never be sold, rented, exchanged or otherwise disclosed to any other organization. Period.”       

Membership benefits:

Some benefits that MoveOn has provided to its members were identified through personal interviews by Rohlinger and Brown (2009) as “feel less alone”, “a particular kind of free space, one where they could exercise their democratic rights and responsibilities”, “challenge the status quo and reconnect with political processes”, and making people more interested in “getting out there”. I feel that most of the benefits could be also applied to the members of CommonDream, because the organization encourages people to get together writing and talking about political issues on its online platform. The organization also has its own newswire and RSS feed which can to some extent reconnect people with political processes, or at least raise awareness. However, the website is probably less influential in terms of getting people out of their armchairs, since the organization doesn’t host real life meetings and events for its online members. And the benefit of “a sense of belonging” can be subtler.