Final reflection – Goodbye UOSM2008, Hello New Me!

For this blog, I will employ Gibbs’ (1988) reflective cycle to systematically review my experience.

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What happened?

Previously, I had never really been an avid user of digital sites. Although I owned an iPhone, I shied away from using anything aside from the basic functionalities. I justified my limited use of social media sites by creating a metaphorical safety bubble, where I was free from vilification and judgement. However, it is hard to deny that I would have missed out from social and extracurricular events through my lack of online presence. Furthermore, I was aware that sites such as LinkedIn provided such a great opportunity to network and could even elicit job opportunities. However, i lacked the digital confidence to curate an account worthy of attracting interest. So, In February 2018, I embarked upon a journey to learn and improve upon my digital literacies. I enrolled on UOSM 2008, an interdisciplinary module at the University of Southampton.

Thoughts and Feelings

Taking an online module was a new experience for me, but a challenge I firmly accepted. I am very self-aware. Therefore, I could have honestly said that my digital skills were sub-par (as my self-test implied). This was reflected in the introductory topic, whereby I concluded that my traits align with that of a digital visitor, despite growing up in a digital era.

Below is my self-test from the beginning of the module.

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 14.00.15

 

Evaluation of experience

Whilst learning about my own digital skills, I had become more knowledgeable concerning digital related concepts. In topic 2, I learned about the rise of fake news and the destructive consequences it can have, particularly during government elections. Prior to the onset of the course, I may have naively shared news to friendship groups without checking the reliability of the information. Although there are sites dedicated to producing satirical fake news (such as ‘The Onion’), the sight of fake news is a cause for concern, that I gladly communicated to my respective friendship circles. Therefore, I was committed to ensuring that my increased usage didn’t inadvertently cause increased spread of Fake news.

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The experience of UOSM 2008 was pleasant for many reasons. After nearly three years at university studying psychology, the module’s content and structure was refreshing. In particular, the reflection process afforded me the opportunity to review each topic blog and assess my content in the wider context. Furthermore, a fortnightly blog-reflection cycle ensured that I was engaged throughout the entirety of the semester

 

Analysis of experience

However, a journey of progression usually involves difficulty and mine was no exception! Initially, i struggled to self-create material to add value to my topic blogs. With very limited digital competence, i battled with ‘Piktochart’ to create well-organised infographics. Also, i experienced great difficulty exporting videos from ‘Powtoon’. However, I overcame these difficulties by immersing myself into tutorials on Youtube.

Considering my initial frustration, I was very excited to see my knowledge of these tools develop to enable the insertion of meaningful visual elements to my weekly blogs. I had just started to experiment when these skills were already being put to the test. In March 2018, I endeavoured to create a draft video for the Enactus Southampton presentation team. I went from creating a video in over 4 hours to creating one in just under an hour. So, it’s clear to say progress was made in that respect!

Below Is a video that I created to explain the ‘sole-swapping initiative’, used by one of Enactus Southampton’s projects.

 

Prior to UOSM 2008, the only social media platform I actively used was Facebook. However, this profile was virtually anonymous and was used solely to participate in university assignment discussions . Although I had my name shown, there were no pictures or posts. Prior to the course I had pre-conceived views that made me feel uncomfortable about ‘random’ people perusing my profile. However, I’ve learnt that as long as you practice safe usage, social media isn’t as sinister as first feared. However, this only applies for those that don’t show blatant disregard for others, such as Justine Sacco. Therefore, I will certainly be careful with the content of future posts. Although I only have one Facebook account, I have chosen to present myself in a relatively professional way (for now at least!).

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Conclusion

Below is a graphical comparison of self-test’s from the start and end of the module.Picture2

Whilst I believe each of my topic and reflection posts were thought provoking, i may have navigated through the module more effectively. One area there was room for improvement relates to comments and discussions with peers. In hindsight, extended discourse with colleagues may have elevated my understanding of concepts and provided connections to enable growth in areas such as ‘ building online networks around an area of interest’ on the self-test.

Action plan and future goals

In future encounters with a similar module or experience, I will be sure to avoid underestimating my capability to excel, irrespective of familiarity. Nevertheless, my experience in UOSM 2008 has spurred me on to become an active member within online communities such as ‘Bodybuilding.com’, where I participate in discussions. Although this is the last blog of the UOSM 2008 module, this is just the start of my blogging journey. I strive to continually improve my clarity of writing, blogging and visual media skills to start a fitness inspired blog that will encompass my experience with workouts and nutrition.

 

Word count: 893

 

References

Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.

 

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Topic 3 – Reflecting upon online identities

Topic 3 imageNanotecnologia (2015)

Prior to conducting research, I would have sided with Mark Zuckerberg  and said that having multiple online identities was inappropriate due to a lack of authenticity and integrity. However, I definitely understand why people opt for multiple online identities.

An interesting trail of thought was devised by Tewsdae, who challenged the idea of authenticity. The premise of this idea was that people online generally want to present the best version of themselves. Therefore, a single online identity may in fact be inauthentic as well!

Nevertheless, as pointed out by Jones (2017), identity theft is rife. The pervasive nature of this crime is displayed by the fact that 89,000 cases of identity theft were reported in the first 6 months of 2017. Seemingly, the presence of social media exacerbate this problem, by unwittingly proving personal information. This is validated from research by the BBC, who found a 57% increase in identity fraud was largely attributed to thieves who were perusing social media sites to scam unsuspecting victims.

Furthermore, the case of Justine Sacco was highlighted by many of my colleagues, including Nikhita and Will .This demonstrates the concern for the fact that online profiles can jeopardise jobs! In fact, further research from Landau (2011)  revealed that employment tribunals are getting to grips with social networking and uphold many employee dismissals for gross misconduct online.

Therefore, the priority for myself going forward will definitely be to maintain multiple identities to prevent adversities from identity thefts and employer consequences. However, is this opinion mutual?  I posed a question to Will to gauge his opinion on whether everyone should divide persona and professional lives online. He mentioned that having a single identity doesn’t afford the opportunity to disengage from work and have personal downtime, which i agree with!

Overall, whether you opt for a single or multiple identities online, both have benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, it depends upon one’s circumstances and personal preferences. My preference is for multiple identities!

 

Word count: 319

My comments:

Will’s blog

Nikhita’s blog

 

References

Jones, R. (2017). Identity fraud reaching new levels. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/23/identity-fraud-figures-cifas-theft [Accessed 29 Apr. 2018].

Landau, P. (2011). How your Facebook status could put you out of work . Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/work-blog/2011/nov/30/facebook-status-work-employer.  [Accessed 29th April 2018].

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36701297 %5BAccessed 29th April 2018]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Different faces of our identity?

 

In an increasingly technological world, social media sites such as Facebook are becoming increasingly important in maintaining a social life and in the workplace. However, this creates the dilemma to depict oneself through a single or multiple identities.

Despite a singly identity being associated with authenticity and integrity , we’ve seen that the norm for many is multiple profiles. Danah Boyd, who works for Microsoft as a social media researcher, interviewed a young person and received the response: “different sites, different audiences, different purposes”. This demonstrates the extent to which people may use LinkedIn to connect with their professional network, whilst using Facebook to connect with close friend and relatives.

Whilst managing multiple profiles may be an added difficulty, associated with remembering multiple passwords and security details, the implementation of multiple online identities may certainly have its perks. Multiple profiles may allow people to separate their professional and social persona’s, to avoid the unintended slip of personal life into their workplace.  What’s more, a survey by Jobvite revealed that 92% of companies use social media during a recruitment process. Thus, a seemingly innocent post may have damaging effects on career prospects.

The case of Justine Sacco was well publicised !

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[Screenshot taken by myself]

Below are infographics which details the pros and cons of having a single identity vs multiple identities :                                                                                                multiple               topic 3

Below is a video containing students and social media professionals discussing the complexity of managing multiple identities on social media :

 

Mark Zuckerberg was noted as saying that “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity” However, this may decision may ultimately be determined by your circumstances. One circumstance includes issues revolving gender, as reported by Cserni and Talmund (2015) , who found benefits of having multiple identities for members of the LGBT community. The necessity for a support network whilst forming their sexual orientation was cited as a supporting factor.

Conclusion

Whilst the likes of mark Zuckerberg disagree with multiple identities, I personally believe that it is acceptable for one to curate different profiles to suit their personal and professional lifestyles.

 

Word Count: 310

References

Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press.

Cserni, R. T., & Talmud, I. (2015). To know that you are not alone: The effect of internet usage on LGBT youth’s social capital. In Communication and Information Technologies Annual (pp. 161-182). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

https://www.jobvite.com/news_item/jobvite-social-recruiting-survey-finds-90-employers-will-use-social-recruiting-2012/

http://www.michaelzimmer.org/2010/05/14/facebooks-zuckerberg-having-two-identities-for-yourself-is-an-example-of-a-lack-of-integrity/

Featured image :  Getty Images, Ashley Britton

 

 

 

 

Topic 2- Reflection

2017-08-28-image-11(Techspot, 2017)

 

Prior to Topic 2, I hadn’t thought about the notion of Fake news in any great detail. However, after reading the blogs of my colleagues, I started to unravel this construct. I was intrigued to find out the magnitude of Fake news by Russian accounts during the US elections in 2016, with over 50,000 Russian bots found to interfere with the election process. According to the recent congressional testimony, Russia successfully manipulated the major social media platforms during the U.S elections. You can see that with the next president at stake, the huge extent of the interference can be damaging.

However, It is important to note that the impact of Social bots and widespread fake news can be limited by ensuring people realise the importance of fact-checking sites such as PolitiFact and Factcheck, as suggested by Tom. However, as I posed to my peers, I was concerned about the the personal motivations people must have to seek out such sites, before sharing news on social media sites such as Facebook and twitter. This can be linked to the naivety of users to share news without prior assessment of validity. Joanna  revealed that her personal motivations lay in not sounding ‘stupid’, during conversations with peers. This is a fair point, as people want to come across as knowledgeable when conversing!

During my research, I discovered that the BBC are rolling out a programme in schools to help children differentiate between real and fictitious news. However, I believe parents play a huge role in educating their children with the necessary digital awareness. Joanna agreed with this point and placed responsibility on parents to educate their children about the prominence of fake news.

Conclusions

I realise the importance of being media literate in order to successfully evaluate and assess information received from media outlets. Having completed Topic 2, I feel equipped to ensure I don’t fall victim to Fake news in the future by following steps as suggested in Tom’s blog.

Word count: 323

My comments:

Joanna’s blog

Tom’s Blog

 

References:

Senate Judiciary Committee, Extremist content and Russian disinformation online: Working with tech to find solutions (Committee on the Judiciary, 2017); https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/extremist-content-and-russian-disinformation-online-working-with-tech-to-find-solutions

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42242630

http://www.zdnet.com/article/twitter-says-50000-russia-linked-accounts-tweeted-during-2016-us-presidential-election/

FACT OR FICTION?

 

Fake news has been defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. Fake news has been brought into the public domain in recent years as accounts backed by Russian trolls were said to interfere in both the recent US and UK elections. The reach of Fake news can be massive, particularly due to users unwittingly reposting falsified posts on social media platforms such as Facebook.

The spread of Fake news

 

Fake news spread on youtube in India

The recent rise in popularity of YouTube in India due to new and cheap data plans plans have exposed millions to fake news stories, that many aren’t happy about!

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Screenshot taken by lindsay (2018)

 

Fake news spread by Russian troll factories

The presence of offices that spread propaganda in Russia may be a cause for concern for many!

 

Fake news spread by the “ The onion”

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 15.17.24Screenshot taken by lindsay (2018)

The onion is a news site that contains some outlandish stories (good news this page is a satire news site!). Nevertheless, although satirical sites may intend no harm, they are deceptive and can fool people!

 

Fake stories don’t discriminate … and are not just politically driven!

 

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created on piktochart by lindsay (2018).

 

Wainberg (2015) suggested that news may gain more traction by trying to mobilize human emotion and thinking. This may explain the inclusion of words such as “scared”, “killer” and “Terrorist” in headlines (above), due to the potential imagery elicited.

 

What is being done?

 

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Created by lindsay (2018)

 

Word count: 325

References:

Wainberg (2015): Headlines, emotions and utopia.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42242630

http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/internet/social-media/facebook-tips-spotting-fake-news-11364171255400

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/12/in-india-many-see-fake-news-on-youtube-thanks-to-cheap-data-plans.html

Fake news stories:

Oxford Circus terror: Witness describes ‘PANDEMONIUM’ after ‘shots fired’

‘I WAS SCARED HE’D BITE MY LEG’ Female cop feared she would not survive

‘cannibal killer’ Matthew Williams onslaught after bursting into blood-soaked room and battling him with three other officers

London Terrorist Fought For McCain-Backed Jihadists

Merkel calls for EU army to defend Europe as relations with UK and USA weaken

Even Remainers now back a ‘hard’ Brexit: Most Brits want to regain full control of our borders and to become free of meddling EU judges, survey reveals

 

 

 

Topic 1 – Reflecting on digital differences

 

Over the past two weeks, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the concept of digital differences. I discovered the detrimental effect of the digital gap on school children, who are disadvantaged by their family’s low income status. I discussed whether this inequality was fair, especially in 21st century Britain. This topic was definitely thought-provoking and elicited some interesting discussions between my colleagues and I, which were predominantly directed towards the role of governments’ in the digital divide.

 

Government intervention

 Personally, I believe the pervasive nature of the digital divide is unfair and requires intervention from the government. Whilst commenting on my blog, Luke directed me towards a recent article detailing government attempts to close the digital gap by making high speed broadband (HSB) a digital right, which included a committment to giving everyone in the UK access to HSB by 2020. Whether these targets are feasible is up for debate. However, I am happy that attempts are being made in tackling this pervasive issue. This intervention should reduce the educational inequalities in schools. Also, as 22% of disabled adults had never used the internet as of May 2017, this legislation should hopefully also enable a much larger proportion of disabled adults to access the internet.

 

China’s internet censorship

When reading Emily’s blog, I discovered the steps that the Chinese government have taken in order to control internet usage within the country. By implementing internet censorship, Chinese civilians are restricted in accessing platforms such as Google and Facebook. This prompted me to conduct further research on Chinese efforts to control internet use. I uncovered that the Chinese are now trying to flex their power across the world. Aside from blocking access to foreign companies within china, they have also pressured Google and Facebook to take down certain content. This means that china is affecting content published and viewed by audiences even outside Chinese borders, which seems remarkable!

 

Differing governemnt actions.png

Created by Lindsay (2018)

 

Word count: 314

My comments on:

Will’s blog

Emily’s blog

 

References:

Ons.gov.uk. (2017). Internet users in the UK – Office for National Statistics.

Articles:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/high-speed-broadband-to-become-a-legal-right

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/02/technology/china-technology-censorship-borders-expansion.html

https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jan/11/school-technology-learning-young-people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital differences – Is it fair?

 

The world as we know it is changing. It’s becoming more digital and technologically advanced. As someone who was raised in the digital age, it would be easy to assume that everyone interacts with the web in the same fashion. Therefore, it may come as some surprise that 9% of adults in the UK had never used the internet, as of Jan 2017. This may reflect the inequalities that are pervasive in parts of the UK and across the world. Digital differences are factors which exacerbate inequalities and can negatively impact one’s personal learning networks. Robinson et al (2015) argues that digital inequalities should be placed alongside more traditional forms of inequalities due to it’s effect on life chances and life trajectories.

 

Let’s explore the realm of digital differences!

 

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Facts and figures: Created by lindsay on piktochart (2018)

 

There are a series of reasons as to why the digital divide persists…

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Factors: Created by lindsay on piktochart (2018)

Research has demonstrated that offline disadvantages (as shown in infographic above) can be determinants of online usage. It may be easy to attribute the digital divide to low income and affordability. However, Van Dijk (2013) also views ‘ability’ as a huge contributor to this digital divide alongside factors such as accessibility. This encompasses the disabled population, 22% of whom have never used the internet. Irrespective of why digital disengagement occurs, it can be a source of disadvantage!

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Disadvantages: Created by lindsay on piktochart (2018)

Figures demonstrate that 22% of disabled adults have never used the internet. This may provide a source of frustration when considering that between 75% and 90% of jobs require digital skills. This points towards a potential disadvantage. Therefore, should access to the internet be a human right? Is it fair that some either have no access or are unable to fully capitalize due to physical/mental impairments?

Is the internet a right or a privilege? – the following video discusses. It’s certainly thought provoking and up for discussion! Where do you stand in this debate?

 

 

 

Word Count: 299

References

 

Robinson, L., Cotten, S., Ono, H., Quan-Haase, A., Mesch, G., Chen, W., Schulz, J., Hale, T. and Stern, M. (2015). Digital inequalities and why they matter. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), pp.569-582

Van Dijk, J.A., (2013) Inequalities in the network society. In Digital Sociology (pp. 105-124). Palgrave Macmillan, London

Ons.gov.uk. (2017). Internet users in the UK – Office for National Statistics.

Articles :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/09/unconnected-and-out-of-work-the-vicious-circle-of-having-no-internet

https://www.localgov.co.uk/Opening-up-online-opportunities-for-vulnerable-households/39068

https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jan/11/school-technology-learning-young-people

Video:

Is the internet a right or a privilege ? ( Now This World, 2016). Available online at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=499IbhoBeKE