The Final Reflection: My UOSM2008 Experience

When taking this module I thought I knew what to expect from the content considering I had already completed the MOOC in UOSM2012. However what I didn’t expect to learn was how to relay that information and create concise, interesting and informative content for others. While I was keen to refresh my knowledge of the web, I also wanted to gain experience in writing online blogs.

Self Test: Then vs. Now

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Created by me using Piktochart

What happened?

In the beginning I started to use what I had already learnt previously in my blog. I soon found though that the concise word count would prove to be a problem as it was difficult to compile so much information into just 300 words (with references). This served as a key moment for me as I couldn’t just write about the topic, I needed to find a way to relay information that engages the reader. I soon realised that this module heavily relies on being able to create assets as well.

Considering I already had experience in making online content I didn’t think it would be a challenge to create assets to accompany my blog posts. However my experience was mainly with videos and less with graphics, so I had to learn how to create infographics and images that fit with the topic. This was another key moment for me because it proved difficult to produce different content each week with other deadlines to worry about – however I found it refreshing and really spurred on my inner desire to create content.

What I learnt?

Having done all 3 topics now I have definitely learnt more than I expected. I learnt to use more software for providing assets such as Canva and Piktochart, however in retrospect I realised that just making infographics wasn’t engaging enough for the reader and I wish I used more videos or audio clips from podcasts to help illustrate my point. Looking back I also would have engaged more with those who left comments as I think it would help me get a better perspective of the topic and get their views. This is something I learnt a lot of during this course because I found some interesting articles to help further my understanding; such as the Ted Talk on how to pop our filter bubbles posted on my post about media/data literacy.

Personally I learnt that while blogging is interesting, I do prefer making videos as opposed to written content because I feel I can express myself more in videos. Although I do have a new respect for bloggers as it can be challenging but also refreshing when you get positive feedback on your work, like when I got a comment from someone who isn’t on the course but they still appreciated the work I put into my blog. This makes me feel more appreciative of the work I put into my Youtube videos and when people comment on them to give advice and compliment on them.

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Comment made on my ‘Who Are You? Digital Resident or Visitor’ post

As a Youtuber I thought I could use some of the skills used there in my own blog posts, for example in the Introductory topic I created my own resident-visitor diagram using Adobe Photoshop as opposed to the tools suggested online. I also used my personal experience from blogging on ReadLiverpoolFC to help me with writing and help figure out how to pace my blog posts.

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One of my posts on readliverpoolc.com from 2 years ago

The future

This experience has made me change how I’m going to tackle my online social media profile. Before I was focused mainly on being a single identity online, however after Topic 3 I’m leaning towards having both a professional account and a personal account which is linked to my Youtube channel because I want people to see my personality through my videos and through social media. I had already made a LinkedIn account before but I never put much effort into it, but as my university life is ending I’m planning to increase the amount to which I contribute to my professional page.

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My LinkedIn Page

I’ll also use my experience of interacting with people on my blog in the future and try to interact more online. On Twitter I usually interact with my friends and my followers but now I think there is real benefit to talking to all my followers and finding out their opinions on different topics. I would also like to do the same on Youtube and Reddit and try to get more feedback and ideas from people.

Untitled-Project
Created by me using Visme

As a result of this course I would like to find out more about the web and people on the web. As I leave university and move onto the working world I wanna use what I’ve learnt here to my advantage as it is my intention to be living and working on the web. Hopefully I can figure out in time how to further improve my understanding of the web, find out how to get my content out there and have a positive and fulfilling impact online.

Word Count: 847

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Reflection – Online Identities

When writing about this topic the focus was about the differences between single and multiple identities, however after reading more into it and reading the comments made on my post I found there was more of a debate on the concept of anonymous accounts.  Sam‘s comment on my blog questioned the idea of whether the dark web had more drawbacks than benefits while Joanna also commented on the problem of anonymity. Sam agreed in the fact we need the dark web, while Joanna agreed that more needs to be done and it pays to be as authentic as possible.

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Created by me in Piktochart. Source: (BBC Guides, 2016)

Tom’s comment lead me to the Guardian website which shows how you could securely send information to the newspaper anonymously, such as SecureDrop which does not record where things came from (Hoyland and Fenn, 2018). This made me lean towards the idea of people being anonymous whilst not actually being in favour of being anonymous online myself.

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As a single identity user, I always thought that I had a disadvantage to multiple identity users who split their professional and personal lives online. However Sam’s reply to my comment on his blog reassured me that sometimes employers prefer single identity users that can show off their personality and skills in one place depending on the profession. One of the ways I mentioned in my post about blogging was recommended as it helps show creativity and passion (The Employable, 2014).

After reading a bit more into it, I still would much rather prefer having a single identity online. However, I am more open to the idea of keeping my professional and private life separate as Jeremy’s blog states how this is essential for single identity users.

Word Count: 295


My comment on Jeremy’s post here.

My comment on Sam’s post here.


References:

TheEmployable. (2014). How blogging can help you get a job. [online] Available at: http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/[Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

BBC Guides. (2016). What is the dark web and is it a threat?. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z9j6nbk [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

Hoyland, L. and Fenn, C. (2018). Contact the Guardian securely. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/help/ng-interactive/2017/mar/17/contact-the-guardian-securely [Accessed 29 Apr. 2018].

Online Identities – Behind The Keyboard

We all represent ourselves differently online and depending on the platform and our digital differences, we assume different online identities. The type of online identity we assume will directly affect what we post, share and contribute to our personal learning networks.

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Created by Adrian Kamulegeya using Piktochart

Authenticity

Single identity users are seen to be authentic whereas those who use multiple identities are not and could possibly be using anonymous accounts. However, Facebook’s director of policy in Europe, Richard Allan, argues that ‘pretend identities’ are a minority now and the web has become more mainstream (Allan, 2012) – indicating having some anonymous accounts is not a problem.

Anonymity

In fact in a BBC report about the dark web, Bruce Schneier argues that it provides a shield to those who can be punished based on online activity (Schneier, 2016), however it can also easily hide criminals online, even if not intended (Oerting, 2016). Having multiple identities can provide more security to the average user, but someone with bad motives will also get the same benefit.

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Created by Adrian Kamulegeya using Piktochart

Employability

Employers nowadays use platforms like LinkedIn to recruit their staff with the user count for the website at 467 million in the third quarter of 2016 (Statista, 2016). Single identity users are easier to find but risk showing personal information you don’t want to show your employer, whereas multiple identity users find it easy to manage professional and personal accounts but risk lacking the authenticity that is needed. Furthermore employers may want to see your personal life. Outlets such as blogging can show creativity, passion and motivation which are all redeeming qualities looked for by an employer (The Employable, 2014).

Of course the choice of how you present yourself is yours, and we can’t control everything on the web. However that won’t stop how others perceive you – that job, primarily, is on you.

Word Count: 316


References:

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

BBC Guides. (2016). What is the dark web and is it a threat?. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z9j6nbk [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

Statista. (2016). Number of LinkedIn users | Statista. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/274050/quarterly-numbers-of-linkedin-members/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

TheEmployable. (2014). How blogging can help you get a job. [online] Available at: http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

 

Reflection – Topic 2

I think many people don’t understand the terrors of fake news. I wasn’t just shocked at how much incorrect information is out there but at what speed it can spread. On Karishma’s blog she had a link to an interesting video by Noah Travlin which talks about circular reporting, a phenomenon where a piece of false information is ‘verified’ by multiple sources and makes it seem like the information is correct (Travlin, 2015). This prompted me to ask how she thought we could stop fake news and how to filter it from accurate information and she responded with multiple fact-checking software’s that were very popular following the US 2016 Elections, such as Factcheck.org.

While this helps tackle media literacy, data literacy is still an issue. Chloe’s response to my comment lead me to an intriguing article on how data can be confusing to interpret and improved data visualisation can help the average user understand what they’re reading (Ft.com, 2018). She also mentioned how external experts in the field could be used to filter out any values or research that seemed far-fetched which I thought were two excellent suggestions to tackle the data literacy conundrum.

One of my original points on my blog was that echo chambers were spiralling out of control and lead to people only seeing the information they would most likely want to see. A comment by Tom on my post made me think about where this responsibility lies. It’s the role of the online social media platforms to try and prevent echo chambers, but also of the users to actively seek out the correct information. It’s up to us, as well as media platforms that control the news we see, to filter out any invalid information and be discretionary enough with the sources we find.

Word Count: 300


My comment on Chloe’s blog

My comment on Karishma’s blog


References:

Travlin, N. (2015). How false news can spread – Noah Travlin. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSKGa_7XJkg. Last accessed 8th March 2018.

Ft.com. (2018). Data visualisation mistakes — and how to avoid them. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/3b59f690-d129-11e7-b781-794ce08b24dc [Accessed 18 Mar. 2018].

Who can you trust?

The Web is an endless pool of information and, while it may sound obvious, it’s very easy to get mislead. This comes down to the need to grow our personal learning networks but not knowing where to look, or being satisfied with content that align with our beliefs (Flaxman, Goel and Rao, 2016).

The latter is called an echo chamber. We tend to interact with people similar to us and not often see the views of those from different online communities (Future Learn, 2018). These communities centre around narratives with users tending to reject information that undermines that narrative (Emba, 2016). Hence people trust who they follow and face little disagreement online.

Media Literacy
Adrian Kamulegeya using Canva (2018)

However, sometimes these echo chambers forming are out of our hands. They can be the result of filter bubbles formed by the online networks we so often use. Bill Gates says, as reported by Kevin Delaney, that while this is an issue, he believes the system is self-correcting (Delaney, 2017). The need for people to want to know the real facts and the access we have to getting those facts allows for the right information to be available easier than ever (Delaney, 2017).

While it’s solvable, it’s still an issue in the media that leads to fake news being published. If people aren’t willing to search for the facts, then anyone can easily manipulate what those facts are. The most common way of doing this is clickbait. However, spotting clickbait is easy based on the terminology used, as the graphic below illustrates:

News_NonNews
Most Predictive Words for Classifying Articles as Either News
or Non-News, Table 1 (Flaxman, Goel and Rao, 2016)

We take a risk at being fed wrong information when we go online. Even so, if we want to know the real facts we need to grow our PLNs while carefully scrutinising the individuals we let into them. Only then can we become more open-minded and media literate on the Web.


Word Count: 300


References:

Delaney, K. (2018). Filter bubbles are a serious problem with news, says Bill Gates. [online] Quartz. Available at: https://qz.com/913114/bill-gates-says-filter-bubbles-are-a-serious-problem-with-news/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2018].

Emba, C. (2016). Opinion | Confirmed: Echo chambers exist on social media. So what do we do about them?. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/07/14/confirmed-echo-chambers-exist-on-social-media-but-what-can-we-do-about-them/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2018].

Flaxman, S., Goel, S. and Rao, J. (2016). Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption. Public Opinion Quarterly, [online] 80(S1), pp.298-320. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/poq/article/80/S1/298/2223402.

FutureLearn. (2018). Media Literacy – Learning in the Network Age – University of Southampton. [online] Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303353 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2018].

 

 

 

Reflection – Digital Differences

In my research of this topic I realised just how different each individual accesses and uses the Internet. Sinead made a comment that linked to an article that suggested personal choice was also a factor that defined digital differences and was why some people showed “information illiteracy”. Many of us view the web under different circumstances whether it’s due to the country we’re born in or just how we percieve it; and that in turn can have a huge effect on how we learn using the Internet.

This was made very apparent after reading Iarina’s article where she recalled her past work on uneven development between the North and the South (Reuveny & Thompson, 2007). This prompted me to ask her about whether it wasn’t just a geographical issue but an issue of ability and knowledge in addition to this and her response enlightened me. The digital divide can happen on a personal level as well as a macro level. Such is the case with her grandfather who can’t speak fluent English and as such can’t get the same use out of the Internet as she does – causing a digital divide between them.

This then poses the question, what do we do about the digital divide? I made a comment on Nikhita’s blog with reference to an article by IEEE stating how local companies can help by producing local content that users can interact with more online (Nordrum, 2018). We both agreed on that not every piece of technology makes sense and that if more content was made for local users and it was what they wanted to see then access would increase.

We can deal with the digital divide. However it falls down to the incentive, the access, and our own determination to learn how to use it effectively.

Word Count: 297


References

Reuveny, R. X., & Thompson, W. R. (2007). The North–South divide and international studies: A symposiumInternational Studies Review9(4), 556-564.

Nordrum, A. (2018). 3 Ways To Bridge The Digital Divide. [online] IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Available at: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/networks/3-ways-to-bridge-the-digital-divide [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018].


My comment on Nikhita’s post here

My comment on Iarina’s post here

Digital Differences – We’re not all the same

When we’re surrounded by so much technology and have such easy access to information , it’s easy to forget that not everyone does, or even can, use the Internet in the same way. In 2017, almost all of those aged 16-24 and 24-34 in the UK were recent Internet users at 99%, yet there were still 9% of users who had never used the Internet from January till March (Ons.gov.uk, 2018).

This raises the question of why? Maybe some people don’t understand well enough how to use the Internet, or perhaps some don’t see the value in it and prefer to remain a resident who only goes online when necessary.

However, the conversation should also be focused on what the Internet is used for and not just whether we can access it. This can depend on age, gender or even your socio-economic group. The infographic below details just some of the ways in which people use the Internet differently.

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Adrian Kamulegeya using PiktoChart (2018)

While the graphic is a good outline, this is merely a generalisation and doesn’t tell the whole story. Some argue that it’s not just access or usage, but also ability which creates this digital divide (DiMaggio et al., 2013). For me, I know how to do simple tasks like use social media and do a Google search, but I also know how to create content to upload to a community and find information from respected sources for my research.

These factors affect the size of our own personal learning networks (PLN) which vary depending on what you see value in online. Some, see using social media as a benefit to education and use what they online to aid in their learning (however depending on who you follow this can also lead to different PLNs). Steve Regur explains further the importance of PLNs and how this can affect our learning.

 

Word Count: 300

References:

Ofcom Report (2017). Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes.

Ons.gov.uk. (2017). Internet access – households and individuals – Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2017 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].

Ons.gov.uk. (2017). Internet users in the UK – Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2017 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].

YouTube. (2018). Learning Networks Could Reconfigure Schools | Steve Regur | TEDxElCajonSalon. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpsMDbBrAbQ [Accessed 24 Feb. 2018].

DiMaggio, P., Hargittai, E., Celeste, C., & Shafer, S. (2004). Digital inequality: From unequal access to differentiated use. In K. Neckerman (Ed.), Social inequality (pp. 355-400). New York: Russell Sage.