Years ago, as a writer friend of mine was struggling to maintain his creativity in a university IT shop (yes, I’m talking about you, Kevin), I thought I would help out by giving him random phrase to work into his weekly status updates.  As I got more and more random, he had funnier and funnier status updates.  I like to think I saved what was left of his sanity.

Recently, a series of deadly boring teleconferences resurrected this game.  Holly, a colleague of mine, was giving her status update when I instant messaged her to work the word “hiccup” into her update.  Without missing a beat, Holly spoke of the server hiccup that required a restart.  Thus, the Status Challenge was reborn.

Every week, I will twitter a word.  Your challenge is to work it into your status (update, meeting, report, whatever) without arousing suspicion.  This week’s word was “crawdad.”  You may choose to use the word as a folksy metaphor “We’ll wait for that crawdad to grow a bit first”, an interesting comparison, “I love that idea more than crawdad gumbo!”, or as an intentional malapropism, “That really sticks in my crawdad” to work it in.  However, if someone calls you on what you’re doing, you get no points.  Award yourself points for using the word, more if no one comments, and even more for style.

If you want to play, follow my twitter @gelsbernd, but let me know by sending me a DM with #statuschallenge in the message.

Good luck!

P.S.  Don’t play this with Jason – he wants to suggest impossible words such as “vas deferens” – look it up.

Robert Mager wrote about behavioral objectives from an instructional standpoint.  Before designing a training program, designers must know in very concrete terms what they are expected to do to demonstrate their mastery of the material.  The same factors that go into developing good performance and learning objectives are used to develop thorough scenarios that can be easily evaluated.

My wife doesn't know what I do at work.  I tell her all the time, but her eyes glaze over sometime into the second paragraph like mine do when she discusses her work in the neonatal intensive care unit.  I find my work endlessly fascinating, but I'm in the minority.  What I do is develop user experience designs from which talented developers create world class web applications.

The job is part psychologist, part librarian and part artist.  I have to understand organizational objectives and personal motivations, catalog knowledge and design components, and weave them together into a interface that so closely supports the intended task that it becomes invisible to the user.