Ryan in Brooklyn

Welcome to students, colleagues, mentors, friends and family alike!

I am a media studies PhD candidate at the University of Oregon‘s School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Oregon; I am on track to graduate in June 2015, and I will be joining the faculty of the Department of Business Management at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland as an Assistant Professor starting Fall 2015.

My research interests pertain to the ways in which mobile technologies reshape interpersonal interactions, particularly in hybrid public/private environments. Restaurants, bars, and other gathering places have been of particular interest. My dissertation is related to these areas of interest; entitled Self-Monitoring and Perceptions of Situational Privacy as Potential Moderators of Smartphone Uses and Gratifications: An Experimental Investigation, it will examine the uses and gratifications of smartphones and whether those change depending upon expectations of privacy in a given place.

Find out more about me…

Timer set at 50 minutes

Though I have purchased a couple of Tim Ferriss‘s books, typically I don’t subscribe to shortcuts and hacks and so forth for increasing productivity, mainly because they never seem to work for me (or, if they do, I can’t make them stick and become habit). However, there is one trick in particular that I learned from my former orthodontist and mentor Dr. Sarah Shoaf, who has more alphabets after her name than anyone else I know, and it has helped me immensely in my efforts to plow through my dissertation proposal, piles of grading, and various other projects. And it’s shockingly simple.

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For those of you who are familiar with the goings-on at the University of Oregon, the GTFF 3544 (the union that approximately half of all UO graduate students belong to, particularly if they have teaching assignments) is currently on strike. This article from the Register-Guard does a fairly good job of explaining what’s going on in a nutshell.

However, after carefully thinking it over, I’ve made a decision not to participate in the strike, and I thought I’d try to articulate why.

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Let’s face it–all of us have struggled with procrastination at some point or another (I bet even Martha Stewart has had her moments). It seems difficult to combat for a variety of reasons, particularly when you have a relatively unstructured schedule, but I’ve been working for the past several weeks to figure out how to trick myself into being more efficient. Here’s what I’ve done so far, in part thanks to the suggestions that I found in the book Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It by Burka & Yuen (read it, if you haven’t done so already). Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday I wrote my final comprehensive exam, which essentially marks the midpoint of my pursuit of my PhD in Media Studies. Next week I will defend my answers; my department requires four exams, so there will be questions from my comps committee regarding all four. Assuming that everything goes well, that will advance me to candidacy, and my focus will shift to getting my dissertation proposal approved and writing the actual dissertation.

I wanted to take an opportunity to offer some suggestions to other PhD students who might be facing their exams in the near future. While every discipline and every school varies slightly in terms of what comprehensive exams consist of, they are a universal in terms of earning a doctorate in the United States. Here are the strategies that I used to get ready. Read the rest of this entry »

Now that I’m more than a year and a half into my doctoral program and have wrestled with dozens of papers, short and long, I believe I’ve finally put my finger on an ineffable experience that I seem to encounter with some frequency, particularly when working with later drafts of something that I’ve written and rewritten a half-dozen times already.

As I just noted, this is something ineffable, but I’ll attempt to describe the experience anyway. Say I’m staring at a paragraph that just isn’t quite right–perhaps I need to add an additional source, or introduce a contrasting idea, or both. I will find myself staring at the screen, silently (or sometimes not) screaming at the computer, almost paralyzed–it is unbelievably difficult to put my hand on the mouse, maneuver the cursor, click, and start typing.

I know what you’re thinking. “Why?” (Or, more likely, “Who cares?”)

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