Blog Post 5

Following my completion of this course, I have gained a vast amount of intelligence in the field of social computing and media. As a result of taking part in online lecture sessions, discussion forums and the outlined tasks in the four digital badges I have accumulated knowledge that will serve as building blocks for further cognitive development. In this blog post, I will evaluate my learning to date by critically reviewing my thoughts on social media as a whole and discussing the cumulative information I have acquired from the activities associated with this module.

At the beginning of this module we were presented with a syllabus which stated a different topic for every week, for example, in ‘Week 3’ the topic revolved around “Collaborative Information Generation”. In the online discussion session for this section, topics such as developing content collaboratively and the advantages and disadvantages of user-generated content were discussed as a group with our lecturer. This type of informal discussion surrounding social media tools and the impact of social media on our lives really allowed me to understand and engage with the information that was being shared and further apply this knowledge to the activities in the four digital badges. From this lecture in particular I learned more about factual information and how to find accurate content online rather than taking information at face value. In this digital age anyone can write anything on the internet, if you reference a source which is not credible your research/opinion based on this reference will no longer be credible either (Clark, 2018). This is a factor which is essential for the majority of the information analysis that we do online. It will be extremely useful to me in my future research as I now know how to verify and distinguish between fact and opinion.

I believe that I gained most of my insight from the completion of the digital badges as they allowed me to physically interact with different social media tools. Each topic that was discussed weekly gave us a basic grasp of the concept required to complete the badge activities and then by completing the badge itself we were given a first-hand experience of dealing with a particular social media tool. For example, when we had to set up a LinkedIn account we created a personal profile and provided information that would be sought by employers. However, we were only able to complete this task successfully due to the content that had been discussed in class such as what is considered appropriate and inappropriate online and how to present yourself professionally. The influence of social computing and media on the workplace and the marketing power of personalisation which were discussed in week 7 had a huge impact on this task as it brought to life the idea that everything you post online is most likely going to be there forever. This could affect our future careers as nowadays most employers are taking an increased interest in the digital footprint of job applicants (Bond, 2018). The main lesson that I learned here was that it is important to monitor our digital footprints and brand ourselves online in a way that our social media accounts show positive and pertinent information about us.

Following on from my insight into digital footprints I also noticed how the idea of privacy settings was continuously mentioned throughout lectures and badge activities. For example, in the creation of the Pinterest, Pocket, Google Map Mashup and YouTube Screen publication tasks, there was requirements to choose account privacy settings. This was one of the final steps in each of these badge activities, but it was still extremely important. According to the Pew Research Center only 9% of teens state that they are concerned about third-party access to their data and they are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites such as Facebook than ever before (Madden, et al., 2013). It is only from this module and my continued reading on how our personal data can become public without having secure privacy settings, that I have updated my personal privacy settings on my social media accounts. I will continue to do this in the future to prevent my personal data being publicly shared. These tasks also aided in the Facebook privacy policy that I wrote for badge 4 and really allowed me to grasp the theory of online data privacy.

When creating the WordPress blog for badge 1, I didn’t realise how creative and free one was allowed to be with the blogs display. I decided to create a calm and welcoming theme on my blog through the use of colour images and font. I carried this layout throughout each post. It was interesting to see my classmates blog homepages in comparison to mine and how each page had their own personal touch. This idea of being creative online is something that I continued to see throughout each of the badge activities. For example, in badge 3 we created an infographic and YouTube video and from this I was able to explore and implement an effective means of information through digital audio, video and graphics. This online creativity is something that interests me on a personal level as I think it is important to be able to communicate information in other ways than just words and to be able to have the ability to express one’s thoughts in such a unique way is fascinating. Rettberg’s article on self- representation in social media really enhances this point. She explains how we have been presented with different platforms to represent ourselves in any way that we wish whether it be visual, written or quantitative (Rettberg, 2017).

The use of the blog to publish information surrounding different social media topics really assisted me in my learning. The blog itself unfolded a space which allowed me to share my personal opinion on different social computing concepts as well as teaching me to understand how to correctly critically review an article. I learned how to think clearly and carefully while taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of the material that I was reviewing, this is something which will definitely benefit my future writing in both an academic and professional sense. The main knowledge that I gained from the use of the blog was that it allowed me to understand the importance of reflective and collective learning. For example, I used my existing knowledge on social media topics and tools while allowing the module to help me understand new concepts by aligning and comparing them to my life experiences. For example, when creating the data privacy policy I used my previous knowledge of Facebook’s privacy as well as including what I would want to have in a data policy. I also learned about the difference between academic and popular sources, something I was unaware of before but that was an essential feature and great learning tool that I acquired from the digital badges.

In conclusion, I gained a great understanding of social computing and media from this module. I believe that I have learned to express my opinion through the use of different social media tools, I have increased my digital literacy and I have also explored the application of social media in different aspects of my life for example in the workplace. I plan on continuing to study the ethical and social issues that social media can have on my life both now and in the future.

Bibliography

Bond, S. (2018, October 12). A Messy Digital Footprint Can Cost You A Job. Retrieved from Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/87cfe2ee-bfeb-11e8-84cd-9e601db069b8

Clark, C. (2018, June 7). How Do You Know If Information Is Accurate? How To Evaluate Information Sources. Retrieved from Owlcation: https://owlcation.com/academia/Evaluating-Your-Sources-of-Information

Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013, May 21). Teens, Social Media and Privacy. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: https://www.pewinternet.org/2013/05/21/teens-social-media-and-privacy/

Rettberg, J. W. (2017, December). Self-Representation In Social Media. Retrieved from Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305073320_Self–Representation_in_Social_Media

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