Topic 6: Is This It?

Though this module has come to an end,

I will continue to ‘Live and Work on the Web’

In signing up to this module, I hoped to develop my understanding of the social aspects of the web and how this could benefit me as I move on from University. Initially, I was hesitant to move away from my anonymous online status. Yet, with each week and each new topic, I found myself getting more involved – I was Tweeting and using new and creative media to engage my readers. I can honestly say that I’ve learnt a lot, this module has encouraged me to be proactive in using the web as more than just an academic tool. As further evidence of how far I’ve come, have a look at this website I’ve created… I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging each week. It’s a skill that I can put to use to aid my social and professional life beyond University.

Topic 5: Reflection

Before researching open access, I was unaware of its various advantages and disadvantages. I have spent three years at university researching various topics and yet I have only ever encountered a few restricted journals. However, I never considered why these journals were off limit and what affect this had. Through the university I have read hundreds of academic journals, but I have never given any thought to the cost that the university must have paid in order to provide this access.

As an alterative, open access allows a wide range of individuals to read academic work without restrictions. With this is mind; Zia suggested that advantages of open access tend to outweigh the disadvantages. However, it is important to bear in mind who is disadvantaged through open access.

The open access movement has grown rapidly and is supported by various publishers. The Higher Education Funding Council for England recently announced that all UK research must be open access in order to qualify for funding after April 2016. This marks an important transition toward open access, and suggests that in the near future students will have little trouble accessing the academic papers they require. However, as Leigh discusses, open access is not without ethical and monetary issues on behalf of the authors.

Within my post this week I also extended the discussion to open access within the music industry, which was particularly insightful. Nicole’s post referred to Spotify in regards to its new competitor: Tidal. However, through further research, I found that many fear that Tidal’s high subscription fee may encourage individuals to pursue other methods to gain access to the same music, such as illegal downloads. The demand for higher royalties on behalf of artists such as Jay Z, has led to music online becoming more restricted, whilst academic work is becoming increasingly accessible.

My Comments On:

  1. Nicole’s Blog
  2. Zia’s Blog

Topic 5: The Swings and Roundabouts of Open Access

This topic aims to look into ‘Open Access’, the advantages and disadvantages of being able to access various materials online freely.

I have been very adventurous this week and created a Prezi Presentation (click on the image below) highlighting the effects of ‘Open Access: Academic Journals’ and a PowToon describing open access in regards to Spotify and the music industry.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 14.17.42

Millions of academic journals are published every year, as a student it is unlikely that I will be able to read my field’s most up to date and relevant articles. This is not only due to the vast number of journals published, but also the lack of access to the majority of these articles.

I was naïve in thinking that my University had open access to all the journal articles I needed. It wasn’t until I began research on my dissertation, that I realised that the University only has access to a small proportion of the articles I required. PLOS (2015) discusses the process institutions go through in order to gain site license and re-use of its content. The video below found on Twitter, discusses the importance of open access in various organizations.

The move to create more open access journals has become more rapid since the beginning of the 21st century. In fact, the Higher Education Funding Council for England has announced that UK research after April 2016, must be open access otherwise it won’t qualify for funding (The Guardian, 2014). Some of the benefits of open access in this regard are highlighted in the video below.

However, it is not just open access to journals and other academic papers that is important. Having open access to music is also an interesting topic. However, as with academic journals, there are numerous benefits and limitations of being able to access songs online for free.

Given the various ‘swings and roundabouts’ of open access, in the coming years, as open access gains momentum, it will be interesting to see whether open accessibility is sustainable.

References:

Business Insider: UK (2014) Taylor Swift Explains Why She Left Spotify, Accessed: April 2015.

Ketchum, A. and Klem, M. (2012) Open Access Journals: The Pros and Cons, Research Methodology Series: Continuing Education, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Key Perspectives (2006) Open Access: Why Should We Have It?, Accessed: April 2015.

PLOS (2015) Open Access, Accessed: April 2015.

Right to Research (2014) The Problem: Students Can’t Access Essential Research…, Accessed: April 2015.

Spotify (2015) How is Spotify Contributing to the Music Business?, Accessed: April 2015.

The Guardian (2014) What’s the Biggest Challenge Facing Open Access?, Accessed: April 2015.

Topic 4: Reflection

My blog post this week discussed the use of social media by businesses and the corresponding ethnical complications. It is particularly difficult for businesses to protect their image and reputation online, as increasingly large numbers of their employees have various social media profiles. With this, employees are able to voice their negative opinions regarding the business to their numerous contacts. However, as Olivia points out, these employees are the public face of the company, they are expected to act responsibly and refrain from posting any negative comments regarding the business. However, of course this is not always the case.

In relation to this, Jens discusses the irony of social media, in that it can be used to become employed and unemployed. The reference to a Panopticon type situation, whereby employees modify their behaviour in order to remain professional is particularly interesting. Yet, despite this, there is still a need for social media rules and regulations in order to ensure businesses are protected and employees retain their freedom of speech.

I really enjoyed reading Irinie’s blog post this week as it discussed social media as a distraction during business hours. She found that 40% of businesses have to discipline employees for using social media in the workplace. Social media is becoming increasingly present in our everyday lives, with individuals constantly posting comments, updating their status and adding photos. However, in line with this, the numbers of associated ethical concerns have also increased.

Sarah’s comment brings into question whether social media is becoming too influential in our daily lives. Though social media has improved our daily lives and allowed businesses to advertise and market to a wider audience, ethics remain a concern. Businesses attempt to manage the increased role social media plays in their company and the lives of their employees however; it is somewhat challenging without limiting an individuals freedom of speech.

My Comments On:

  1. Irinie’s Blog
  2. Jens’ Blog

Topic 4: Freedom of Speech vs. ‘Twibel’

This video provides an introduction to the relationship between free speech and social media.

“Context is everything” – Director of Public Prosecutions.

As social media becomes increasingly prominent, the boundary between an individual’s professional and social life becomes gradually blurred. In Topic 3, I discussed how, depending on content, the use of social media platforms by employers and potential employees could either increase or decrease job prospects. However, it is important to highlight that once you have a job, the use of social media by both these parties does not cease.

Social media can be an effective and cheap platform for mass marketing however; it can also manufacture ethical challenges. Employees’ personal opinions in relation to the company they work for, expressed through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, tend to place companies in a difficult position – they are required to permit free speech but must also maintain a good reputation.

After a long day at work, having dealt with miserable customers and not being paid nearly enough for all the hassle, sometimes you have to vent – for some, their first port of call is Facebook. However, as soon as you mention your employer or company name you become responsible for libel defamation. Ideally, companies would monitor their employees’ use of social media in order to prevent this. However ethically, this is challenging without limiting their freedom of speech (IBE, 2011).

Though in the past libel defamation was more frequent in newspapers, it is becoming increasingly present on social media platforms. The video below highlights the gravity of what at the time seemed like a menial tweet.

In the UK the Smith vs. Trafford Housing Trust case, Smith was demoted for his Facebook comments against gay marriage (Henchoz, 2012). As his Facebook page referred to him as an employee of the Trust, other employees as well as individuals on his friends list could see his post. This led to the Trust claiming that his actions brought them into disrepute, despite his post being unrelated to the Trust and written outside work hours (HRLaw, 2015). Though Smith won his case, it highlights that even with adequate privacy settings, you can never be certain whether or not your employer can see what you post.

Like individuals, companies want to protect their image and reputation. This often results in companies having to develop policies that attempt to control content and restrict employees’ use of social media (Myers, 2013). However, is it ethical to enforce these policies outside working hours? – There is a fine line between monitoring and controlling free speech.

References:

Henchoz, S. (2012) Social Networking: Freedom of Speech vs. Protection of Legitimate Business Interests, Accessed: March 2015.

HRLaw (2015) Status Update on Facebook: Smith v Trafford Housing and Other Tales We Like, Accessed: March 2015.

IBE (2011) The Ethical Challenges of Social Media, Accessed: March 2015.

Myers, C. (2013) Free Speech v. Social Media: Is Your Policy Legal, Accessed: March 2015.

Video1: Cracking Down on UK Social Media Free Speech – October 2012, Accessed: March 2015.

Video2: Courtney Love Wins Defamation Twitter Case – January 2014, Accessed: March 2015.

Topic 3: Reflection

This week’s topic has really motivated me to become proactive in developing my online professional profile. As already mentioned, though I have a LinkedIn and Twitter account, they currently do very little to attract potential employers. Before this course, I intended to rely on my CV to highlight my best attributes; I didn’t believe that creating a LinkedIn account would serve me any better. Even when I gave in and produced a profile, I only thought to include what I had already stated on my CV.

However, having researched self-branding online, I soon became aware that employers are becoming increasingly interested in viewing their employees social profiles. At first this made me nervous, the prospect of having to maintain a social profile, making sure that I am constantly presented accurately and positively definitely didn’t entice me. Nonetheless, though I lack experience in maintaining multiple identities, I have come to agree with May’s comment that “being judged professionally online is a great opportunity to stand out”.

Irinie’s post this week highlighted the importance of authenticity. When developing professional profiles, we must be aware that strategic and exaggerated posting in order to attract employers hinders authenticity, which could in turn prevent employment. However, as Tamara points out: you can’t force authenticity, it’s gained over time. This being said, it is clear that in order to be truly authentic I need to develop my LinkedIn profile over time, making sure that I keep up to date with the companies and employers that I’m interested in. Yet, I don’t believe that authenticity alone is enough to attract an employer. Blogging and podcasting can also go some way to attracting employers, by demonstrating creativity, passion and dedication to a specific field.

My impending graduation has made the prospect of endlessly searching for jobs stressful. Yet with the various social and professional platforms available online, I feel that I have the tools to develop an attractive professional online identity.

My Comments On:

  1. Irinie’s Blog
  2. Tamara’s Blog

Topic 3: Online Professional Profiles – It’s All About the Brand

Unfortunately, our online behaviour is socially and culturally judged – how we are viewed by others is determined by our online conduct (Costa and Torres, 2011). This, along with increasing numbers of employers using the Web to search for employees, has led to sites such as LinkedIn becoming increasingly popular. By expanding you online presence through sites such as LinkedIn, you appear visible, relevant and more attractive to employers.

A recent study conducted by OfficeTeam, found that one third of employers believe that social media profiles will replace CVs in the coming years (Schawbel, 2011). LinkedIn has over 300million users and as a result is the preferred site for developing an authentic professional profile.

Why LinkedIn:

  • Job email alerts.
  • Connecting with professionals – both nationally and internationally.
  • Conducting company research.
  • Getting recommendations.
  • Allowing companies to find you.
  • Connecting with other students.

Through LinkedIn you can create a dynamic profile, it acts as more than just a CV as you’re able to upload files and presentations, which showcase your portfolio and individuality.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 21.48.21

Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, found that more than 93% of employers view the social media sites of their employees before recruiting them (Jobvite, 2014). However, they also found that these sites go beyond platforms such as LinkedIn – 52% now use Twitter. Twitter offers users unrestricted access to other members, including possible employers (Le Viet, 2014). By interacting with their posts you will encourage further communication, through this you stay in the forefront of their mind when hiring.

However, when using sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to develop an authentic professional profile, it is important to be active and relevant. It is all about self-branding. My current LinkedIn status is static – it barely contains any information, as a result I don’t appear particularly relevant or attractive to employers. This video, of the lecture given by Helen Standing at Leeds Metropolitan University, discusses how individuals can successfully build a professional profile.

A Few Tips from the Video:

  • Transparency in key.
  • Tailor yourself to different audiences.
  • Create a niche.
  • Use social media as a research tool.
  • Keep your finger on the pulse.
  • Be sure to maintain your personal brand.

About.Me is a particularly useful site to manage various professional platforms; it acts as an E-Business card or social hub, allowing you to compile information such as a short bio and images, as well as connections to your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and other profiles. This makes it more efficient for individuals when searching for you, as all of your connections will be in one place. Similarly, the more active you are, on LinkedIn for example, the higher you’ll rank when explored on search engines such as Google. However, with this increased visibility, it is important to remain safe and secure online – only provide necessary personal information and limit the amount of contact information, such as your address and phone number.


References:

Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011) To Be or Not To Be? The Importance of Digital Identity in the Networked Society, University of Salford, UK.

Jobvite. (2014) Social Recruiting Survey, Accessed: March 2015.

Le Viet, S. (2014) Twitter’s Redesign Makes the Platform Ripe for Recruitment, Accessed: March 2015.

Schawbel, D. (2011) 5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 Years, Accessed: March 2015.

Standing, H. (2012) Social Media Personal Branding, Accessed: March 2015.

Undercover Recruiter. (2015) 7 Ways College Students Can Benefit from LinkedIn, Accessed: March 2015.

Topic 2: Reflection

Before engaging with this topic, I was aware that any personal information I supplied on the Web could be stored and collected. However, I never really considered the aftermath of this – the creation of an online identity.

Having had little experience with multiple online identities and ‘false’ identities, researching the advantages and disadvantages of such was particularly insightful – it highlighted issues regarding privacy, trust and integrity. As such, Saber argues that the Web is full of anonymous and out-of-date identities, thus making it difficult for us to trust other online individuals. However, this is not a recent issue, the issue of privacy and security online has always been one of the major drawbacks of the Web.

I believe that it is the lack of control that I would possess over my own identity, which deters me from becoming a ‘Digital Resident’. As soon as I am tagged in a picture or invited to an event, my identity changes and evolves – it is out of my control. However, Sarah brings to light the control that anonymity provides through multiple identities. Though this brings into question an individual’s integrity and begs the question: with so many online identities, real and false, how can we be sure that when interacting with someone online, perhaps through social networking, that they are who they say they are?

As a result, Irinie emphasises the use of multiple identities for the ‘right’ purposes. Though the number of individuals using multiple identities to conduct faceless online crimes is minimal, it is still a concern for many users and deters many ‘Digital Visitors’ from expanding their use of the Web. This once again highlights the various benefits and drawbacks of the Web, all of which need to be considered before creating an online identity.

My Comments On:

1.  Sarah’s Blog

2.  Irinie’s Blog

Topic 2: The Intrinsic Link Between Identity and Privacy

Whilst on the Web today, it is very likely that at least one of the websites you visit will ask you to register. This allows web-based businesses to index personal information and over time add to it in order to build an online profile (Internet Society, 2015). Though this sounds very intrusive: having personal information collected and stored without your knowing, it can benefit you. It provides a personalised experience, offers product recommendations and helps to prevent fraud. However, understandably having any form of online identity results is speculation over privacy and security.

Maintaining one online identity is relatively easy, it simply reflects who I say I am. However, it is often argued that having multiple online identities allows for anonymity and creativity (Krotoski, 2012). These identities tend to be split into private and public, as this allows you to present yourself differently depending on your audience. For example, a recent survey by Acas found that 45% of employees today are screened through social media (Landau, 2013). In this case, having a public identity to present yourself to employers and a private identity for you friends, could help you retain your reputation.

TOPIC2

Zuckerberg claims that Facebook is “built on real relationships, with real people, in real life” (Jarvis, 2011).

This is somewhat true in my case, as all my personal information is accurate and I know everyone I’m friends with. However, up until recently I hadn’t updated my Facebook identity since I created it, my details were minimal and out of date. Does this mean that its not entirely based on reality? What if I am involuntarily tagged in things or someone invites me to something – this suggests that other people can affect my identity.

Often individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem will create identities based on their ‘real’ self and their ‘ideal’ self (Jarvis, 2011). These individuals are more aware of the possible social and cultural judgements that may follow, depending on the characteristics they disclose (Costa and Torres, 2011). However, in creating multiple identities do we lack integrity? Conceivably, developing multiple personae encourages an irresponsible environment, in which cyber bullying can take place as a faceless crime. With this in mind, how much can we trust others online, if we ourselves aren’t being honest? Once again this comes back to the intrinsic link between privacy and identity.

 

References:

Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011) To Be or Not To Be? The Importance of Digital Identity in the Networked Society, University of Salford, UK.

Internet Society (2015) Privacy and Identity, Accessed: February 2015.

Jarvis, J. (2011) One Identity or More? Accessed: February 2015.

Krotoski, A. (2012) Online Identity: Is Authenticity or Anonymity More Important? The Guardian, Accessed: February 2015.

Landau, P. (2013) Job Applications: Social Media Profiles Under ScrutinyAccessed: February 2015.

Topic 1: Reflection

White and Le Cornu’s research regarding ‘Digital Visitors’ and ‘Digital Residents’ has resulted in various interesting and well-informed discussions amongst the group. Though I started with very little knowledge on the topic, through research and interacting with fellow student’s blogs, I feel that I now have a greater understanding of the concept.

Personally, I value the distinction between online and offline. I prefer not to update my social presence unless I am online for a purpose; as a result, I fall between a ‘Visitor’ and ‘Resident’. However, before starting this course I would have considered myself a ‘Visitor’, due to my lack of social presence online. Yet, as Francesca pointed out, people tend to fluctuate back and forth, between a ‘Visitor and a ‘Resident’, perhaps due to changes in motivation.

Tatiana’s comment also considers this fluctuation, suggesting that as the majority of individuals are neither a ‘Visitor’ nor a ‘Resident’, there is little reason to categorise individuals at all. This is particularly interesting, as it highlights discrepancies regarding who decides where someone lies on the ‘Visitor’ ‘Resident’ continuum. If the decision regarding categorisation is left to the individual, we cannot expect this distinction to be objective, or, to some degree, very accurate or reliable.

As Namat discusses in his post, the concept of the Web was established almost thirty years ago. This suggests that over time, generations are becoming more accustomed to using the Web for even the most menial of tasks, such as searching for telephone numbers or recipes, rather than searching through phone and recipe books. It is odd to think that perhaps in the coming years, younger generations won’t have the opportunity to learn and function in a way that isn’t dependent on technology, specifically the Web.