I am currently a BSC Marketing student at the University of Southampton, with ambition to extend my online profile.
My current view on UOSM2033:
I have never maintained a blog before and the concept both excites and terrifies me at the same time! The opportunities that could arise from having a blog are endless, from job opportunities to a post going viral. However, it is these same benefits that are making me apprehensive. Knowing that anyone, regardless of their location, could read one of my blog posts presents a drive for perfection. Although, realistically everyone has their own opinion and it is impossible to think that everyone from different backgrounds will agree with my blog post.
I have completed my self test that shows my current understanding of the different aspects that are involved with living and working on the web. I intend to reflect back on this at the end of the module to review my progression.
What I hope to learn:
During this module I hope to develop my online network professionally. With this expansion, I hope to differentiate between my professional and social online presence. This separation will hopefully be easier to establish after completing this course. Finally, I hope to gain an understanding and view on many key online terms and be able to critically discuss them with my peers.
Sitting in the introductory lecture for this module I really began doubting my choice in optional module. Having no lectures or formal seminars was a scary prospect but the communication with other bloggers was the key. I engaged with many of my peers, who questioned me to think further or from another viewpoint. This constant feedback in a sense, only helped to strengthen not only my posts, but also their ability to challenge me and present their own opinions. This journey is shown through my self test results, shown below, which illustrates how my skills developed further with each blog post.
Topic 2 explored online identities and the advantages and disadvantages that came with having one. The statistics that illustrated the dependence of most employers on LinkedIn for recruitment purposes, pushed me to creating an account.
This had always been an intention of mine but was something that I had been putting off for ages. Since actually building my profile properly, my profile statistics have developed, shown below.
Not only this, but in the same week’s research, the possible repercussions of having a prominent online identity also gave me a reality check. These things do happen and there are prevention methods that I can implement into my own social networking. All privacy settings on my social networking accounts have changed to be set to the highest security, which is highlighted in my self test.
Not only did I gain a lot of information during this module that I could easily relate to, but it also enabled me to develop my ability to create digital tools. In the latter blog posts, I introduced two PowToon videos and three Infographics. This was the area within my self test that I saw the most progress, as before this module creating digital materials was something that I lacked experience in. This will be something that I can integrate into my other modules throughout university as an interesting way of presenting information. However, long-term these digital tools will be extremely useful during my teacher training. This module has provided me with a great platform of skills that i can extend further in order to present engaging and interactive lessons throughout my career. A summary of the key things that UOSM2033 taught me is displayed below.
When reviewing my self test, the only category that I rated myself to not yet be ‘experienced’ in, was building online networks around an area of interest. Despite progressing in this area from a 1 to 3, I still feel that this is the category that I can advance the most in. To achieve this, I am going to attempt to continue to post on this blog. Not only this, but focusing on expanding my LinkedIn network is also an area to consider. Making new business connections and posting articles that I have written should (hopefully!) result in business opportunities.
I hadn’t taken much thought into open access, except from receiving a few “you do not have access to read this article” pop-ups. After researching further into the subject, I realised that the impact that open access could offer is tremendous. Bridging the gap between students from low income families is something that I think is extremely important and should be a focus within education. My post on the digital divide showed the effect of not having internet access on a child’s grades. This is exactly the same principle for not having access to certain expensive research.
I commented on Xiaolu’s post this week as she also mentioned the importance of education. Xiaolu’s post focused on the tax payer and the government, both of which i agree have a certain input. However, I question whether in terms of education, that the institute itself should bear some responsbility of providing open access for students. For example, our university pays a subscription fee to certain reputable journals, meaning that all students have access to the articles included in this journal with their login details.
This week, I also commented on Nicoles post, which factually showed the financial impact that open access can have. I was shocked to see the average yearly price of textbooks that students are expected to buy. This only reinforced my opinion that not having open access widens the divide between those that can afford textbooks and those that can’t. Nicole mentioned however that there is still a need for printed textbooks as people trust them. I question whether there is a way to build a good reputation system for open access. Is there a way that we could ensure their reliability? If this is possible, I think that everything should have open access to ensure better research that reaches wider audiences.
The infographic that I created above highlights some of the problems that pay to read journal articles have caused. These issues created a need for open access to ensure the spread of information. Every student at the University of Southampton opens and reads online articles in order to support their studies. Without access to these articles, how would our studies suffer? I can only imagine that my own essays would not include the depth and debate that I am able to achieve from reading other peoples research in similar fields. Whilst slightly ironic, without open access I would not have been able to read the articles that I did to write this blog post.
“Without openness across global digital networks, it is doubtful that large and complex problems in areas such as economics, climate change and health can be solved” (Hall, M 2014). This statement taken from a Guardian article really emphasizes the need for open access. There are many major issues in our world right now that currently we do not have a solution for. However, due to the scale of these issues there are so many researchers and students right now working to diminish them. Privatising research papers on these topics eliminates the potential for other researchers to find trends and links to their own work. Although quite dramatic, what if the combination of these research papers that we cannot access, actually gives us a cure for cancer as an example? This is also supported in a Youtube video that says that science is about sharing your knowledge and discoveries to benefit others. How is this possible when you are unable to access the journal that these discoveries are included in?
As mentioned in the video above, open access is necessary if we want equal educational opportunities around the globe. Linking back to my post on the digital divide last week, open access is one step that could close the gap between low income families and higher earners. Students will be able to access the exact same information, regardless of their financial situations. This could be a great step to reducing the challenges faced by students that come from low income families that are unable to purchase journal articles.
If perhaps there was a way of ensuring the quality of open access articles in the same way that the most expensive journal is considered to be the best quality, then I strongly believe that the advantages of open access in every sense outweigh the disadvantages.
This weeks topic saw more variety within the blog posts that I read as there was a choice in which ethical issue we selected. This meant that I explored the digital age in more detail as well as learning about privacy issues, from interacting with other blog posts. This week I focused on my digital tools as that was the aspect that was lacking when reading my feedback.
Nikhil’s comment on my blog post this week questioned me on whether there were any solutions to the issues that I had raised regarding education and the digital divide. The only real effort that I found on a large scale within the UK, was the Home Access scheme. However, this has recently been abolished, leaving a substantial gap in our society for those who need the help. However, Nikhil rightly pointed out that even if we were still providing laptops for these households, the children may not actually get use of them, meaning that the issue still exists.
I focused this week on blog posts that covered a different ethical issue to mine, to broaden my understanding. I commented on Tiffany’s blog post regarding online privacy mentioned that there is an issue with the government being over precautious and taking joke tweets seriously. Whilst I think that this does happen, I feel that the governments control on our social media information is necessary. I linked this to the London riots, which were predominantly organised through social media. Yes, some jokes made online may be taken seriously and result in police investigations but having this system also means that real threats are also monitored. You wouldn’t joke about having a gun in a police station, it’s the same online.
I also commented on Will’s post this week, that presented ethics in terms of employees using social media websites for recruitment purposes. Will discussed some things that could be considered a ‘deterrent’ for an employer and concluded that it was down to personal opinion. However, he also acknowledged that there is extensive criteria to ensure the legality of screening candidates through their online profiles. I questioned Will as to whether these laws were different to if an employer rejected a candidate because of their gender/race from an offline interview or CV.
As we have explored in previous weeks, we are living in a digital age whereby technology is used within most aspects of our everyday lives. For example, this module is based fully on online interactivity. Whilst this is the norm for most of us, with the UK moving up on the connectivity table to eighth place, many developing countries do not have such advancements. Officials forecast that almost 40% of the world’s population would be online by the end of the year. However, this also still leaves 4.4 billion people offline.
The Powtoon I created below shares some of the reasons that the divide exists.
As a result of the above reasons, the digital divide has become a prominent ethical issue within business. As mentioned in last week’s blog post, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn, an online social media platform, to search for candidates. Not having access to the internet, denies people the opportunity to be found. This reduces their chances of employability due to the heavy reliance of online professional profiles.
Remote working has been a further trend in the UK that disregards people without access to a computer or internet. One article shows that four million people in the UK already work from home, and officials only predict this number to increase. These people work via fully-connected virtual offices, meaning that meetings are now held over group video call. Once again, this group of people who are not connected at all are missing out on job opportunities despite being fully qualified.
The Piktochart that I created above highlights how students without internet are affected negatively. In terms of education, the divide typically occurs due to low income. The fact that this divide can actually impact on a child’s education, grades and therefore future is a concerning matter. In the UK, the recent coalition government actually cut the Home Access scheme that was set up to help provide low-income families with a laptop (Boffey D, 2011). Therefore, it could easily be argued that the government is ethically responsible for those children at a disadvantage.
The digital divide is an ethical issue that impacts on both people’s employability and education. Whilst there can be a divide within the UK, there are larger gaps emerging across the globe. The majority of people have access to internet in our society, whether it be for free in the libraries or as broadband at home. People living in developing countries don’t even have this luxury and are getting left behind.
I thought that this weeks topic linked very well with last weeks. I also have an authentic professional online profile and therefore had some understand on how to build one. After reading the statistics included on most other blog posts, having an online professional profile is extremely important. I assumed that a lot of people would already have a profile because of this. This is why I focused more on how to make that profile ‘authentic’ in my post.
Joe’s comment on my blog was really thought provoking and seemed to summarise my thoughts on the topic. Joe asked whether or not there ‘authenticity’ was different between real life and online. In a professional sense, I do feel like I would filter myself in real life around management in the same way that I would filter my online profile. However, I do think it’s a lot easier to do this online with the help of privacy settings.
I noticed that Zac had also mentioned removing certain images from his Facebook profile. I questioned him similarly on this, to see if he thought that now those images had been deleted that his profile was still as ‘authentic’. He rightly pointed out that the pictures that he had left on his profile were still him. So yes, his online professional profile would still be authentic but perhaps just more controlled.
I found Hei’s blog post interesting, where her research found that a 10 second snapshot is all we have to make an impression. When referring this back to my research, I wonder whether or not this also would have an impact on authenticity. Surely, if we only have 10 seconds we have to do something to get noticed and present ourselves in the best way possible. Therefore, again we may leave out some aspects of ourselves.
I think it’s still debatable as to whether we can really build an online profile that is both authentic and professional. Whilst it is still a representation of us, it may not document every part of us.
Having an online professional profile in today’s society is essential. 94% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates (Harris, 2014), meaning that without a profile you are extremely unlikely to be found by the HR department of your dream job.
So, how DO you build an online professional profile?
I created a wordle with all of the key terms that I came across in my research. Each word represents an important point to consider when building an online professional profile. For example: Peter Bowes (2013) explains that it is important to differentiate ourselves from other candidates. In the same way as we would want our CV to stand out in the pile, our online professional profile must be engaging.
One article suggests that a blog can ‘make you a little different from everyone else’ (The Employable, 2014). Before UOSM2033 I hadn’t considered starting a blog. Now that I do, I have the start of a professional portfolio that I can show to potential employers. In our introductory lecture, it was mentioned that a previous pupil had actually got a job offer due to her blog. So, there’s always hope!
However, I do think that building an ‘authentic’ profile is the tricky part here. The best example that I read to illustrate this, was F.A.K.E. Anyone can create a convincing profile with a list of achievements and qualifications, but how do we know its genuine? My first thoughts on this, was a sketch from Friends, whilst the CV is not online it still conveys the point.
Linking back to last weeks topic, I suggested that there is a difference in content between the same individual’s personal and professional profiles. It’s very unlikely that someone would post their pictures from a night out onto their professional profile. Therefore, can a profile ever really be fully authentic? Yes it’s still us, but its a version of us that we want other people to see.
Before I started to research into the topic, I already had an opinion on online identities. I found the topic more relatable in today’s society than last week. For example, the idea of ‘catfishing’ was one that I saw mentioned in the majority of blog posts that I read. Whilst it is a good example of someone having multiple online identities, I think it proves how common the danger of catfishing is now.
Arthur’s comment on my blog post broadened my initial perceptions on the topic. I followed my first thoughts and researched into them. Arthur’s comment suggested other factors that having more than one online identity posed. Ones that I hadn’t looked into in depth. Reading all of the other blog posts, showed that these factors such as cyberbullying or ‘trolling’ was another prominent issue in today’s world. I just hadn’t considered this as much.
After acknowledging this, I questioned Davina on the subject. She had suggested that anonymity can provide comfort so that users can express their feelings with confidence. Again, this was another idea that I hadn’t considered in my post. After thinking about this concept, I concluded that ‘trolls’ use anonymity more than someone just seeking comfort. Or perhaps trolls were just more obvious when I was scrolling through online.
After reading Emma’s response to my comment, which addressed personal versus professional profiles, I realised that every person has a different approach to how they manage their online identities. For example, Emma is very keen on keeping a divide between these two partial identities whereas I have managers from my old job on my personal accounts.
From this, I think is where problems may occur. After all, people have the freedom to express themselves however they want online. Its a personal choice to remain anonymous or not for example. Therefore, I fail to see how we can begin to reduce the negatives of having more than one identity.
To me, this phrase summarises the endless possibilities that the internet provides us with. The internet allows us to create as many social ‘identities’ as we want. Essentially, an online identity is the set of characteristics that define you online and make you distinguishable from other users. Each different representation of you online is known as a partial identity (internetsociety.org, 2016). I have illustrated mine below.
For many of us, an example of our online identity, would be our real life Facebook profiles. However, out of the 1.71 billion monthly active Facebook users (Noyes, 2016), how many of these are authentic? Profiles that are considered authentic, are tied to the account holders real name and they upload real life images of themselves. The television show Catfish springs to mind. Do you know for certain who you are talking to online? The presenters seek out fake social media profiles that are used to engage online relationships with ‘authentic’ users. This obviously raises a huge security issue.
However, the option to create an anonymous identity online can actually be a positive. One of my first thoughts on the topic was the organisation Anonymous.
This act against terrorism was only possible due to the anonymous nature of the hackers. If their real identities were used then they would have been targeted by ISIS. This shows in some instances, having more than one online identity, is actually extremely beneficial.
Perhaps, these are extreme examples. The reality for many users with multiple online identities is to establish boundaries between their personal and professional life. Warburton (2012) points out that having multiple identities means you can adopt a different persona, different levels and types of control and regulate your behaviour accordingly. A teacher may set up a Twitter page to interact with students and share topic related posts. This same teacher may also have a personal Twitter page, most likely set to private, to communicate with friends. There would be a huge difference in the content of these online identities, despite being linked to the same person.
For future thought, Casserly’s blog (2011) proposed that having so many partial identities actually affects you offline, making it extremely difficult to become a real person. The term ‘real’ used here is perhaps the problem. Offline, which identity actually are we? My only real response to this, is that each partial identity that we leave online is a representation of one side of our personality.