Time to Revive Handwriting… Growing Stigma over Phone Rudeness… Discrimination Alive and Well in Workplace

Time to Revive Handwriting

The skill of writing in cursive has lost its appeal in the digital age, but researchers say taking notes by hand improves recall and information processing. Studies demonstrate that notetaking while typing on a digital device results in a frantic attempt to copy every word said. However, jotting down notes by hand requires sifting through what is heard to capture only main ideas and salient examples. This sifting requires critical thinking and focus that do not occur when we are typing.

There is a happy medium: taking notes using a pen-friendly device. The following tools can be used to jot down notes on a digital screen:

  • iPad Pro or recent iPads with an Apple pencil
  • Apple’s Notes app
  • GoodNotes app
  • Ink-friendly PCs using OneNote and Microsoft’s SurfacePen
  • Sony’s Digital Paper with a stylus
  • Moleskine’s Smart Writing set

From The Wall Street Journal

Growing Stigma over Phone Rudeness

With people checking their smartphones on average every twelve minutes, it’s no wonder the phenomenon has acquired its own word: phubbing, the practice of ignoring others and focusing on a digital device. However, a backlash has begun. To curb our collective rudeness, new tools are being developed to remind us to pay attention to people instead of phones.

Apple has created several apps that work to limit time spent on its iPhones and iPads by warning users when they reach a predetermined limit. One app even locks the phone after a period of time. Likewise, Google has issued an app that alerts users to stop binging on YouTube and another offering the option to receive a single daily summary of notifications.

Enterprises, too, have joined this growing movement to discourage overuse of phones. Some restaurants have instituted phone-free days for their diners, while an increasing number of schools are requiring students to place their phones in holders as they enter a classroom.

As society continues to adapt to this relatively new technology, experts say more controls will emerge.

From The Telegraph

Discrimination Alive and Well in Workplace

Minority job applicants who mask their race improve their chances of landing interviews, according to research from the Harvard Business School. The researchers found that by removing reference to race, Asian and African-American job applicants were twice as likely to be called for an interview.

Harvard investigators sent out 1,600 résumés for Asian and African-American applicants looking for entry-level jobs. Some résumés highlighted the candidates’ race; others were “whitened,” removing all racial clues. Employers’ responses favored those applicants who had removed reference to race.

Even employers who claim to value diversity fared poorly, the study found. The researchers said this pointed out a disconnect between the organizations’ pro-diversity stances and their behaviors.

From Harvard Working Knowledge


Using Transitions for Paragraph Cohesion

Good paragraphs are built by using transitional words and phrases to glue ideas together, creating a logical and cohesive whole. Skilled writers use several techniques to make paragraphs stick together. One such technique is transitional expressions.


Transitional Expressions are words and phrases that add information, show time or order, clarify, show cause and effect, contradict, or contrast. These expressions are also used to show connections to achieve paragraph coherence. [A partial list of common transitional expressions appears at the end of this post.]

Example: In her current position, Ms. Cho manages a small sales team. At the same time, she assists with all strategic planning activities. In additionto those duties, Ms. Cho also develops her division’s budget; however, her staff accountant assists her with specific financials.

Your task. Choose a transitional expression to connect each set of the sentences below.

  1. Digital tools enable job seekers to invent or reinvent their careers. Digital tools alone can’t find workers a new job without their initiative, enthusiasm, and patience.
  2. Internet platforms can be addictive products that heighten users’ emotions and perpetuate polarization. Experts worry about security, surveillance, and privacy.
  3. One of the regrets of my life is that I didn’t work hard enough to stay in touch with my family and friends as I moved away for work. I am now estranged from loved ones and old friends.
  4. As people age, many find memory aids helpful. Memory aids also encourage laziness.
  5. Technology has brought considerable harm that should not be minimized. We need to correct some of the unintended consequences.
  6. Many say that the Internet has a dark side. Bullying and intolerance are flourishing.
  7. The technology that was supposed to break down divisions has heightened them. We’ve seen everything from election tampering to the demise of Net neutrality.
  8. As digital access continues to spread to the far corners of the planet, the good by far outweighs the harm. For example, people have access to online courses and information about their health. They can join special platforms that support their health and well-being.
  9. Machines are becoming increasingly capable of executing complex work tasks. Even many skilled jobs will be automated.
  10. The internet has changed the way people function, think, communicate, learn, collaborate, and conduct business. It is the greatest technological invention of the 20th century.
  11. All technology can be abused. On balance, internet technologies will continue to benefit us all.
  12. Structural changes in the economy will cause shifts in political power. Such profound changes can also be beneficial.

Transitional Expressions Table

Add or Strengthen Contradict or Compare Illustrate Contradict or Compare
furthermore however for example as a result
in addition in fact consequently
moreover nevertheless hence


Yay or Nay: Using Personal Social Media at Work

Should employers allow workers to access personal social media while on the job?  With the preponderance of sites and users, the situation is a dilemma that organizations must face whether they like it or not.

It’s no secret that employees use their social media accounts at work. In 2014, the Pew Research Center found the practice to be common, with reasons for accessing accounts ranging from taking a break to connecting with friends or family or to learn more about colleagues. Pew recently reported that about 75 percent of Facebook users and 60 percent of Instagram users log into their accounts at least once a day, making accessing personal social media during worktime almost inevitable.

However, when employees use personal social media, employers find themselves in a fix. On the one hand, organizations have come to realize that social media is part of their branding, and many companies happily accept their employees using personal accounts to talk about the organization’s brand or to reach out to new customers. On the other hand, those same organizations cringe when employees use their personal social media accounts to discuss potentially damaging information related to the employer—or when employees use company time to post on their social media accounts for non-work-related matters. After all, why would any organization want to pay its workers for “liking” a friend’s latest new baby photos or snaps of a recent meal?

Why indeed. Some experts claim these breaks from work that allow employees check in on their outside lives gives them a sense of pleasure, and happy employees stay in jobs longer. When a worker takes ten minutes to catch up on personal social media, it’s the equivalent of a dashing out for a latte, they say, noting that posting or commenting are also far healthier work breaks than going outside to smoke a cigarette (healthier employees cost employers less, too!).The risk, these experts say, of losing valued employees by denying them this outlet is greater than the risk of creating a restrictive workplace.

Others, however, see more dangerous implications. They claim that allowing employees to engage with private social media sets up an employer for security and privacy risks: When an employee uses a personal Facebook account, doing so opens the door to a data breach and opportunities for competitors to extract confidential information. These naysayers advocate that all social media be controlled through a dedicated marketing function.

What do you think?


  1. What are some possible benefits to employers when employees discuss the company’s brand on personal social media accounts rather than on company-regulated social media?
  2. Why should or shouldn’t employers allow workers to use personal social media to shop or chat during work time?
  3. How closely should organizations scrutinize their employees’ personal social media?

From the Wall Street Journal