A Final Reflection on UOSM2008

At the start of this module, I was merely someone studying English Literature who had a penchant for writing essays. Over the past few months, I was challenged in what I was able to create content-wise and how to create it, having to write blog posts which included infographics and other media, something that is not common in my usual essays. I started with a self-evaluation across a range of points, and now here is my final self-evaluation of the same topics. The initial comments can be read here.

Reflection comments

While I made a new Twitter for this module, I quickly became a “lurker” more than an active contributor, only going on occasionally. Out of all social medias, I find Twitter the most difficult to adapt to, as it’s something that is more used on the spur. As a result, this – as well as an initial lack of use – meant that I would forget about Twitter more often than not.

Despite this, I have updated security and privacy settings on my accounts such as Facebook and my personal Twitter, and updated my LinkedIn account that I hadn’t touched much at all since I created it back in my first year at university! Something that I learnt from this module is that your online identity is important in terms of future employment, and as LinkedIn can be seen as an online CV I felt that it was necessary to start growing it. I will endeavour to keep this up after this module, as it can be crucial to future employment, especially with the rise of social media use by employers.

linkedin profile

While Instagram is mostly a personal platform, I found that it could also potentially help in creating connections with those who have similar interests, especially when you take note of the relevant hashtags associated with them. I have found that my more successful posts have been ones with an array of hashtags that aren’t just put in for the sake of it, and as a result have more interactions.

instagram interactions

However, sometimes posts will become popular as a result of people seeing it at the right time, something that I’ve learnt could happen when reading about the Justine Sacco case!

instagram interactions 2

As a final reflection, what I’ve learnt is that while I have a number of personal and professional profiles across social media platforms, it is most important to be authentic. It may be that I have multiple online identities, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t all authentic representations of me. What matters is how I present them, and how I use them, as they will all have an impact on my own life, whether it is professional or not.

Also, I will aim to keep growing my online identities professionally, as this module has taught me the importance of this online presence in terms of future employment! I believe that this module has given me a good headstart, and I hope to continue exploring these topics in an MSc in Web Science!

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Topic 5: Reflection

It’s coming to the end of the module, and I feel that I’ve learnt a lot over the past weeks. This topic got me thinking from both sides of the argument, instead of focusing only on one aspect. It also got me reading around a lot more, trying to read from different perspectives that would give me different opinions, much in the same way that my peers’ blogs would too.

Reading Ausaf’s blog, my comment on it highlighted how people could consider different forms of media and which would be beneficial to be a paid subscription or open access. In his post and reply he mentioned how due to his consumption of entertainment was more consistent, he deemed it more suitable to pay a subscription, whereas with educational journal articles they would be used a few times, therefore it wasn’t worth paying for a set subscription.

While my own post dipped slightly into the business side of things, Caiti’s blog provided more of the different ways it could be impacted, one of which was the profits gained by news companies if they weren’t open access. In my comment, I proposed a way in which journals could perhaps emulate the way that different forms of entertainment gain profit; “freeware” such as Spotify and YouTube use advertising to gain some revenue. In her response, she mentioned the “viewing experience” being ruined by ads interrupting midway through. However, with regards to academic articles, it is a lot easier to scroll through ads that are on the screen and thus easier to negate.

The overall conclusion from the blogs that I read seems to be that in terms of education, open access would be beneficial to the majority; being more readily accessible, it would be useful for both educators and students.

 

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Topic 5: Open Access or Not?

Open access is the ‘free, immediate online availability of research articles with full re-use rights.’ (Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics), 2012) Before the mid-1990s, most scientific research journals were only available on paper, however over the years, many have moved their content online. Yet, in 2013, it was estimated that 90% of online content was expected to be behind a paywall over the ensuing three years. (The Drum, 2013) Does this suggest a want, or need, for open access?

Wiley, YouTube

How can Open Access Help?

In the current day and age, it is easy to find online blogging sites to publish your own work such as Tumblr, WordPress, or even YouTube. By doing so, you are offering maximum availability for others to see and review it. However, this does not only benefit the reader; by publishing such works online the author themselves also benefit by not having to pay journals a publishing fee to feature their work.

In terms of readership, educators and students often need access to research journals and articles for their studies; not everyone has the money to access every journal behind a paywall, however. Even universities themselves will have to divert an average of $150,000 from their library budget to establish institutional repositories. (Martin Frank, 2013)

new-piktochart_22251685_e88db4e6326c90abe0e73675d84cf8f0c6ab7de2
Self-produced, Piktochart. Data from The New England Journal of Medicine

Downsides of Open Access?

While yes, it could be said to be morally and ethically grounded for open access to be pushed, it must also be viewed from a business perspective. It’s not a simple case of uploading something on the Internet; to make code open access, you must also document how to use it, and how it works.

In order to publish these journals, it has to be paid for. And while a lot of scientific research is paid for by taxpayers, the journals that the research is displayed in are not. Often, a scientist can pay for one of their papers to be open access when they are published in a journal that is not freely available immediately. However, they must then consider the limitations of using grant money on publication fees.

quote

 

In conclusion, while there are many benefits to push for open access, the costs and methods of it must be considered. Ultimately, however, I do feel that the benefits outweigh the (literal) costs, as others can then access the content and utilise it for research and educational purposes.

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References:

“Benefits of Open Access Journals”, PLOS

Eveleth, Rose, “Free Access to Science Research Doesn’t Benefit Everyone”, (2014), The Atlantic

Frank, Martin, “Open but Not Free – Publishing in the 21st Century”, (2013), The New England Journal of Medicine

Lepitak, Stephen, “90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests”, (2011) The Drum

Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics), “Open Access Explained!”, (2012), YouTube

Wiley, “Understanding Open Access”, (2014), YouTube

 

Topic 4: Reflection

Topic 4 was all about the ethical uses of social media, and the problems surrounding it. With many particular areas to potentially look at, I focused on one aspect of the ethical issues surrounding the usage of social media, particularly who is viewing the information that you put out – including, and especially, potential employers.

The blogs that I’d commented on both explored different areas. Madeleine’s post looked at the blurring between the boundaries of personal and professional social media use. In my comment, I focused on her section on the use of social media by businesses for promotion. I brought in an article outlining the rules behind advertising products on YouTube, and questioned whether it would become ethical to promote products when you declare it as such. Are we certain that they have genuine opinions on products they have been paid to advertise?

On the other hand, Charley’s post focused on the ethics of school children using social media. She referenced the Justine Sacco case, and I used the opportunity to review the ethics of the commenters in my response to the post. I felt that while it is important to teach children the safe ways of using social media, it is equally as important to teach them how to use it ethically and to point out the ways in which unethical uses can cause issues and struggles to those who may not deserve it.

As we near the end of the module, I feel as if I should extend the way in which I create graphics for my posts, especially in making infographics. As a result, they could potentially further any argument and points that I try to make in my posts; presented in a visual way instead of plain text, it would aid in the overall presentation.

 

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Topic 4: The Ethics of Social Media

In the last topic, I talked about how the rise of the digital age has lent its way to businesses using social media in a more professional way, including branding and recruiting. This is especially useful when the platforms are free to use, but offer paid advertising spaces where businesses can promote their brand (Corcione, 2017).

However, Cain and Fink, 2010, have proposed ethical questions surrounding the use of social media:

Question of ethics

Self-produced on Adobe Photoshop CS6

What I would like to focus on is the issue of knowing who actually views the information you put out there. While posting things on Facebook are technically ‘public’, is it truly an ‘open public’? Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are generally created to create a connection between people (McAlister, 2012), but they are not the type of owner-less, open, public domains where information is free for everyone. In fact, most posts will be aimed at a small circle of friends and family.

FB Privacy settings

Privacy settings on posts on Facebook, screenshot taken by myself

Facebook is good in the way that when posting, you are able to directly control who can see the post, even amongst your own friends. Other social media sites have this to a degree; YouTube and Tumblr allow you to post videos and make posts privately, so that only you can see them. However, Twitter, unfortunately, is even more restricted. You can make your profile private or public, as is the case with Instagram, however you cannot change the settings for each post. This can lead to unfortunate cases such as Justine Sacco which I wrote about in Topic 3.

Logo banner

Logos of social medias, self-produced on Adobe Photoshop CS6

When we want the privacy to express ourselves in the way we want, it is almost suppressive when knowing that employers will actively seek out any information that might act against you on all of your social medias. This leads to the ethical issue I mentioned at the start: who is viewing your information?

When you use more than one social media, the different privacy settings allow for an increased ability to find something that you might have intended to just be for friends. Being researched by employers is one thing, but having your private spaces invaded, even if it is social media, is another thing completely.

 

References:

Cain, Jeff & Fink, Joseph L., (2015) ‘Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Social Media and Pharmacy Education’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

Corcione, Danielle, (2017) ‘Social Media for Business: A Marketer’s Guide’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

Greenwald, Glenn (2014) ‘Why privacy matters’ [Accessed 26th March 2017]

Localsphere Digital Media Inc., (2016) ‘Social Media for businesses’ [Accessed 26th March 2017]

McAlister, Matt, (2012) ‘Social networking is threatening the open public network’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

The Guardian, (2014) ‘Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

 

Topic 3: Reflection

In tackling the topic this week on building up an online professional profile, I realised there was a lot more to it than I first thought. The Jobvite statistics proved to be very useful (albeit slightly outdated) in relaying just how much employers rely on social media to recruit new employees. From there, it was an exploration of what steps you can take to further improve your chances of being recruited through your social media platforms.

One major point in increasing employability from your profiles is authenticity and supplying information about experiences that you may have had on sites such as LinkedIn, so that employers can see more than just a CV and grades. In my comment on Sharon’s blog post, we agreed that sharing personal experiences is a good way of differentiating yourself from other candidates, potentially grabbing the interest of future employers!

However, one thing to note is that in sharing things on social media, you need to be careful of what you let others see! In my comment on Rebecca’s post, I questioned the demonising of individuals who tweet and post things which may just be potentially innocuous. She replied with how it is difficult to communicate tone across online, and being in person could garner different reactions. However, I feel that when making posts online, you need to take into account the lack of a strong sense of tone and intentions, as such, it is possible for just one person to take it in a bad way and cause an avalanche of negative reactions, as was the case with Justine Sacco.

Generally, I feel that it is quite easy to overshare details online, and while you should remain authentic, you needn’t share every piece of information that may hinder your approach to being employed!

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Topic 3: Authentic; Professional; Online

This week will be on how to develop your own online professional profile while being authentic.

With the rise of the digital age, recruiters are increasing their use on social media in order to find employees. As discussed in the previous topic, the large number of online identities that you may have all help to put forward a portfolio of yourself that future employers can find.

Self-produced on Adobe Photoshop, stats taken from Jobvite

But how is it possible when most of what we’ve been told about getting a job is sending off CVs and cover letters? Well, if you can’t put everything on a CV, then social media can help to provide all the other information that you can’t get across in one document. In doing so, you can present the passion and creativity that you have in specific fields relevant to the job you’re seeking, as well as staying as authentic as you can!

Authenticity can be easy to maintain: unify all your social medias; make sure that the same information is on all of them such as names, handles, profile pictures, etc. Make sure that they can link back to each other as well as your CV, blogs, or other websites you may have. There are easy mistakes to make when building up your online profile, however, as the following video highlights:

A huge example of how things can go wrong with just one post is that of Justine Sacco, where just one tweet leads to her being fired. There are many situations like this in the highly digital age we live in – with the ease at which posts can be accessed on public platforms, strangers can come in at any moment to analyse your every word, let alone future/current employers, and tear your life apart. Jon Ronson explores the effects that fall upon these people who experience the online shaming in the article linked just above, and in the TED talk below.

How can this be avoided? Well, the main thing is to be conscious of what you share online! Knowing that employers will most likely be looking through your various social media profiles, are there any posts you won’t want them to see?

To finish off, here’s a short list of what you should look out for when maintaining your online profiles:

Improving online profiles and avoiding mistakesSelf-produced on Adobe Photoshop

References:

BBC News, (2013) “Job Hunting: How to promote yourself online” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Jobvite, (2014). Social Recruiting Survey [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Nyman, Nik (2014). “Using social media in your job search” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Ronson, Jon (2015). “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

TheEmployable, (2014). “How blogging can help you get a job” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Topic 2: Reflection

Throughout the last two weeks, my understanding on the topic of multiple identities has developed. Originally, I only thought of multiple identities in terms of different accounts for different sites, however since researching more about it I have learnt that it is so much more than that.

In writing my initial post, I learnt to consider multiple identities from the perspective of different personas in the form of cosplay. The need for multiple identities, even within a personal use, seemed to be something that Jordan and Scott hadn’t considered before. Their comments were useful and made me think about things that I hadn’t thought about, including authenticity vs anonymity, and also the debate of security vs privacy.

security-vs-privacy-vs-authenticity-vs-anonymity

Spurred on by my debate with Scott, I ventured to his blog to read more about the authenticity that he had asked me to consider. I commented on his post, eager to share what I thought about the spectrum, and managed to suggest something that hadn’t crossed his mind: that having multiple identities can allow increased anonymity. It was thanks to Scott’s blog that I thought more about the authenticity vs anonymity debate; I hadn’t really explored it in my own post!

Another blog which extended my views on multiple identities was Eloane’s blog, where she explored the subject of multiple identities through a business and marketing perspective. This led to my comment on her post, which challenged one of her points and explored the use of an online identity to gain a following and audience. It appears that while an audience may organically form from the posts you make, it is perhaps inevitable that your identity is influenced by those who are successful in gaining followers, as highlighted in her response.

Furthermore, I hope I can bring the blogging knowledge I have learnt this week into the next topic!

Topic 2: Online Identities -When “I” becomes “We”

As Internet use became more and more popular, the number of identities created online also grew. In a previous blog post I mentioned the different ways in which people use the web, and how they would present themselves while using it. While people may choose to utilise the web in either a more personal or professional manner, they will be presenting an online identity to all those who go online.

When dealing with multiple identities, it often comes down to the different ways in which we represent ourselves. (Costa and Torres, 2011)  The most common differences would be, for example, having a personal identity versus a professional identity. Even on a personal level, you may sometimes want to have multiple identities for different audiences.

digital_identity_by_rainspeak-d4m28vz
Source: http://deepsoni.me/tech/online-identity-safe/

Having friends who cosplay, I often hear stories where they either don’t want work colleagues who are outside of the cosplay scene to see what they do; conversely, there are those who have people adding them on Facebook or sending messages to their dedicated cosplay Facebook page as if they were friends, despite never meeting them before. There are multiple other reasons for creating this extra identity, but this is generally the main one in order to maintain privacy.

apcnews2012protecting-your-online-identity-thumb_mainimage1-jpg1
Source: http://apcmag.com/protecting-your-online-identity.htm/

This is one way in which people would cite privacy as the reason why they have multiple online identities. However, is there a way in which having one online identity would actually increase security? Fahmida Rashid argues that by using your Facebook or Google account to sign into other sites that offer that option, it is actually safer than creating a new account and identity altogether. (Rashid, 2015) This may be true in that once you have an account that is on a secure platform such as Google, where you have customised security settings, it is much easier to use this one account for several sites. However, there is never a way to be 100% secure. In fact, developments over the years meant that anonymity became harder to achieve, one example being YouTube’s more restricted username policies.

The following video explores the evolution of Internet identities:

Source: YouTube

In essence, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t create multiple online identities, as often it is to do with your privacy. Personally, I feel that by separating your identities it is easier to maintain security, while also keeping a personal or professional profile. I will leave you all with this short documentary about online identity:

Source: YouTube

References:

Costa, Cristina, & Torres, Ricardo, (2011), “To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society” [Accessed 25th February]

CraftySorceress, “Good-Not good reasons to get a cosplay page” [Accessed 25th February]

Gibbs, Samuel, (2015), “The return of the YouTube troll: Google ends its ‘real name’ commenter policy”The Guardian , [Accessed 26th February]

Rashid, Fahmida Y., (2015), “Signing Into Websites With Google, Facebook is Good for Security” [Accessed 26th February]

 

Topic 1: Reflection

Along with many others, this module is the first time that I have stepped into the world of blogging. With the first topic being our presence within the web, I felt it was a good way to be further introduced in my usage of it. Initially I thought that our presence on the web is quite binary, either being a resident or a visitor, however upon further reading I learnt that it was a lot more complex than that.

During my research while writing the first blog post on this topic, I learnt a lot about the various ways in which people utilise the web, starting with Prensky’s definitions of digital natives and immigrants (Prensky, 2001). However, reading through the posts from my peers I learnt that it is much more of a spectrum, where people can fall anywhere between the two ends of the continuum.

In my comments on Ji’s and Raziya’s blogs, I take this idea presented and question the cross binary use of the web, specifically LinkedIn in the former comment. Through their blogs and their replies, I learnt that it is much easier to combine elements of the digital visitor and the digital resident in various ways, often leading to a usage of the web that is more uncommon. One example is LinkedIn; usually it is more of a tool used for finding potential employers and careers, however by also putting your own profile on there it becomes an amalgamation of being a digital resident, yet also using the site as a tool like a digital visitor.

By enrolling on this course, I have already started to broaden my understanding of the web, and I hope to develop this blog and my general online presence and how it can be affected in different ways.

References:

Prensky, Marc, (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. [Accessed 10 February 2017]