Topic 6: I’m now a Statistic and other discoveries from UOSM2008…

I created the video below to highlight the key points that this Module has taught me, but 45 seconds simply wasn’t enough time to cover everything, and so below is a ‘proper’ post to make sure that I haven’t missed anything important!

Prior to participating in this Module I had only ever completed ‘traditional’ modules, which focussed around weekly lectures, essays and assignments. After 3 years of this format, I found the remote teaching and the bi-weekly topics hugely refreshing. Most importantly though, despite only meeting the rest of the class twice, once at the beginning of the Module and again towards the end, I really felt like we engaged much more than a traditional class.

Enjoying a Module is all well and good, but what have I actually learnt?

In all honesty, far more than the length of this post will allow so I will try to keep it brief!

I’ve learnt that blogging is hard work and takes some serious commitment. Prior to this I always thought all those rather glamorous looking beauty and fashion bloggers had a pretty easy life, but gaining and maintaining followers, keeping content interesting and relevant and developing your own distinctive style all takes time and dedication. Having a set timetable every two weeks built up a routine which I discovered was very important!

I’ve finally embraced Twitter (sort of!) Before this Module I had an account, which could be described as dormant at best, it’s now active, but not prolific. So this is definitely an area for further improvement and development. Being able to Tweet Lecturers directly with questions was great though, especially for simple questions that needed a brief answer.

From my point of view, as a final year student, Topic 3 was of the most interest in regards to developing my Professional Profile. I’m rather proud of reaching 109 connections, a number which seems to grow most days. And in the process of this Module, I have truly learnt the absolute value that it can have. Breaking News: I’m now employed! I start my first proper job in late June, thanks in part to LinkedIn, so you could say that I’m one of the statistics I was so keen on in my Topic 3 post.

Even more interestingly I’m entering the field of Digital Marketing so maybe, just maybe, this Module had a far deeper impact on my life than I could ever have imagined.

Will I continue Living & Working on the Web? Definitely, it’s now an aspect of life that is totally unavoidable, so the knowledge that we have gained through this Module will be invaluable as we enter the ‘Real World’.

Will I continue Blogging?
Yes, I really think I will. I’ve registered another Blog Title on WordPress, so watch this space!

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Topic 5: Reflective Summary

When I first read the introduction to Topic 5 I have to admit I was a little put off, I wasn’t sure what I could possibly say about it. But actually, it has proved to be one of the most interesting topics.

While most people focussed on the Academic impact of Open Access, but Jack showed a totally different side that I hadn’t really considered until I read his Blog. He showed how services such as Music and Gaming Platforms are experiencing similar discussions as to what the future holds in regards to open access.

I thought that Jens really highlighted what is for me the main concern in regards to current access to Journal Articles. That is that prices are currently rising faster than the rate of Inflation, which means they are being used as a major income generator for the companies which own them. It was in the comments on Jens article that I noticed an interesting point being raised by Leigh; that less money being generated by Universities and Academics from the publishing of Research could in turn limit the academic employment opportunities for Graduate Students looking for a future in Academia.

But Namat brought forward another dimension to the argument. He presented the idea that because much of the research that is used to create Online Journals is actually done so using data which has been funded by public money, so the fact that we have to pay to access it is a little problematic for a lot of people.

Overall, I have to admit I’m still a little undecided. In an ideal world we would be able to access all articles entirely free, but people need to make a living, the work needs to be researched, developed, reviewed and maintained. As I said in my original post, none of this is free. I struggle to see an option which will keep all parties happy so it will be interesting to see where this goes in the future.

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Blogs I commented on:



Topic 5: Want to Read this Journal? That’ll be £20 Please.

Open Education Resources

(Image Credit:

Wherever we look on the Internet we can gain information for free, but things are beginning to change. Increasing amounts of information are becoming only accessible if you’re willing to pay for it, and it’s an area which is being targeted as a strong and legitimate revenue stream for companies (Lepitak, 2013).

For those not already familiar with the concept of Open Education Resources (OER’s) the video below details how it works and presents some of the benefits of such a system.

From a personal perspective, having just completed my Dissertation my perspective on OER’s is obviously influenced by this. Looking back at it, if I’d had to pay just £1 for access to each online journal I’d read then it would have cost me a considerable amount of money, on top of the amount I’m already paying to attend University. The danger is, if we start having to pay for access to resources the whole concept of University starts to become increasingly inaccessible for all but the privileged. This is highlighted in an article in Forbes where Baraniuk highlights that by making one of his books freely available online it has been downloaded 3 million times since 1999, particularly in the Developing world (Baraniuk, 2014).

However, Research costs. Studies aren’t free. And Academics need to make a living. If people aren’t making money from licensing of their research there is a valid concern that the quality and quantity of Research may suffer. But there are plenty of people between Researchers and the Student who make money from our desire for knowledge. If OER are severely limited and become viewed as a good ‘money-maker’ surely there is a concern that prices will be driven up and quality could be compromised in an attempt to satisfy the demands of a Multi-National Company with the sole aim to make a profit. Whatever happens in the future, there is no denying that the face of OER’s is changing and we’re currently in the middle of an Educational Revolution (Wiley et al., 2012).


Baraniuk, R. (2014) The Future of Online Education. Forbes. Accessed: May 2015.

Lepitak, S. (2013) 90% of Online Content to be held behind Paywalls in Three Years Media Company suggests. The Drum. Accessed: May 2015.

Wiley, D. Green, C. and Soares, L. (2012) Dramatically Bringing down the cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the door to Free Learning. Centre for American Progress. Washington. Accessed: May 2015.

Topic 4: Reflective Summary

The Ethics surrounding Social Media for Marketing from the perspective of a Business remains a grey area. Previous to this topic I hadn’t considered the implications, or the use of Social Media in regards to Education, but to avoid this post being an explanation of how this works I will instead focus on its use by Businesses.

Namat shows the problems that arise for a company when a fake account is set up. In his post the example of the fake Emirates account on Instagram, it amassed 10,000 followers who shared an image thinking they were being entered into a competition for free flights. I’ve seen these fake accounts in my use of Instagram. I think we have to remember that if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is!

Sarah’s post highlighted the instant nature of twitter, everything is happening in real time, which can have really negative consequences if people respond with off the cuff comments. As the video she linked to pointed out, no one is going to stop eating Skittles because they didn’t post about 9/11. But when such a sensitive topic is up for discussion, trivialising it by making a tedious link to Skittles isn’t going to endear you to the consumer.

I thought the quote with which Leigh started her blog post put all of this in perspective, “Social-Media-Ad spending is expected to reach a total of $4.8 Billion at the end of 2012 and $9.8 Billion by 2016”. Essentially it’s a big money area, and so everyone is going to want a slice of that pie. Whether they’re actually qualified or doing it in a successful way remains to be seen.

It was Tatiana’s post that made me think of the Ethical Implications of the public ‘persona’ that Katie Hopkins portrays. Katie makes her living from making ill-timed, ill-though out and deeply offensive comments in the media and on her Social Media accounts. However, she is paid to this, and people pay her to appear on chat shows etc. and thus encourage her to continue to make her living in this way.

Ethically there has to be more of an issue here than when a celebrity endorses a car manufacturer after being given a free car. If you’re deciding your next car purchase on the basis of what a member of the TOWIE cast is driving then it’s probably time to re-evaluate your priorities in life.

Blog Posts which I commented on:



Topic 4: Ethical Concerns about the Relationships between Businesses & Celebrities. Kim Kardashain made me do it…

The UK is the 8th most connected country in the World in terms of Internet Connectivity according to the UN, with 80% of households having an Internet connection (Kelion, 2013). For companies harnessing the power of Digital Marketing this can be a complete goldmine, but for the Consumer and The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) (Langford, 2014).

Celebrity endorsements are nothing new, be it through traditional advertising on the television and in magazines, or product placement in Films and Music Videos. However, the difference is now that with the continual rise of Social Media and the continual creation of further platforms for endorsement it is no longer quite so easy for the consumer to determine whether they are being sold to or receiving a genuine recommendation.

This YouTube video from TFN shows just how lucrative a tweet endorsing a brand can be for Celebrities, and just quite how many well-known names are doing it.

In an article for LinkedIn Matthew Geiger discusses when a Celebrity endorsement crosses the line from a genuine recommendation to an ethically challenging situation. The biggest ethical concern he raises is the endorsement by Celebrities of Diets and Healthcare products. For many consumers an endorsement by a Celebrity has a greater influence than the advice of Medics or Industry Professionals (Geiger, 2014). In terms of Diet, exercise programmes and the use of meal replacements products and ‘shakes’ this patently has greater ethical repercussions than ‘Louise from Made in Chelsea trying to sell us the fact she has a Volvo’ as one of my friends put it!

The infographic above was created using data featured in an article on featuring a study on what impact these ‘endorsed tweets’ have on the consumer (Langford, 2014). Interestingly, the data collected here suggests that the public is much more aware of what Celebrities doing in terms of ‘cash for endorsements’ than much of the literature I read suggested.

Topic 4 Graphic

Whilst this doesn’t remove the ethical issues of promoting a product which you don’t use or simply because you’ve been paid by a Brand to tweet about them, it does at least suggest that we aren’t quite as simple as the advertising industry would hope.

The ASA is placed in a complex and continually changing situation, Celebrities and Brands are now required to make clear when a tweet or post is sponsored, and failure to do so results in both the Brand and Celebrity being liable. But while Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian earning a reported $20,000 a tweet, Celebrity endorsements are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Now if only I could be paid that much per tweet!


Geiger, M. 6th July 2014. “When Celebrity Endorsements aren’t Ethical”, LinkedIn Pulse. Accessed: 22/3/2015

Kelion, L. 7th October 2013. “UK jumps up internet scoreboard as Digital Divide grows”. BBC News. Accessed: 22/3/2015

Langford, L. 17th January 2014. “Celebrity Endorsements on Social Media”, Brand Republic. Accessed: 22/3/2015

Topic 3: Branding- Professional or Personal?

When I began this topic it hadn’t really considered my Social Media profile much beyond Facebook, I already had a LinkedIn account and it’s something as an ‘almost graduate’ that I have put quite a considerable amount of effort into, I’m aware of how important it is, and reading blogs such as Leigh’s showed me just how important this was. I felt the clearest way to convey this importance in my original post was through the use of an info graphic and those that read and commented on my post such as Andrew felt that it was really interesting to have our Social Media use quantified.

The biggest issue raised this week was the ‘authenticity’ of our Social Media profiles and how this co-exists with our Professional Lives. I personally don’t see my own use of Facebook as a concern when it comes to future employment but I know there are people who are far more prolific users than I am and that it is something that has concerned them. From browsing through other Blogs and comments I found that for many the solution to this was to make your ‘personal’ profile entirely private, and to create a ‘professional’ profile which could be viewed by potential employers. Arguably this could reduce the authenticity of the profile.

Because this is such previously unchartered territory, it’s a situation that is currently entirely down to personal preference, there isn’t a recommended ‘done thing’, and therefore it depends upon the desired employment sector and your previous use of Social Media. What is undeniable is that Social Media is an invaluable way to project and refine your CV to a limitless audience.

Blogs I commented on:

Sarah’s Blog

Leigh’s Blog

Topic 3: Hard Working Graduate Desperately Seeking Employment

As we all near Graduation and our entrance into the ‘Real World’ draws ever closer, our Social Media habits must adapt and change to reflect this. Instead of filling our newsfeeds with photos of last Wednesday’s Social people are starting to dedicate time to creating, updating and maintaining LinkedIn profiles. On average we spend nearly 4 hours per day on Social Media, this equates to almost half a working day (Nyman, 2014). So it’s not really surprising that recruiters are turning to Social Media in order to find candidates for vacant roles within companies. The info graphic shows just how many jobs are allocated through Social Media.

Social Media & Employment Inforgraphic

If you’re yet to embrace Social Media in a professional capacity, you’re already late to the party (BBC, 2013). With an online profile you can begin to tell a story about yourself to potential employers. Effectively it’s an interactive CV. BUT it needs to be done properly. It’s not just LinkedIn and the carefully constructed profile that you’ve created on here which will be scrutinised. Every other aspect of your Online Presence will be scoured by savvy recruiters, and even the nosy public.

The case of Justine Sacco shows just how important it is to maintain a professional Online Identity across all Social Media. An inappropriate tweet en route to South Africa resulted in her being fired from her job (Ronson, 2015). The general public leapt on her and she had to leave South Africa after hotels refused to accommodate her and her personal safety couldn’t be guaranteed. Even a Buzzfeed article featuring all her questionable tweets was published.

Obviously Justine Sacco is a pretty good example of how wrong things can go on Social Media, but her case is by no means a one off. Your Online Identity has been central to you gaining the job in the first place for some time, but it is now also a key factor in determining whether you remain employed. Activities such as Blogging can really help to boost your profile; they demonstrate traits such as creativity, dedication and motivation (The Employable, 2014). But before you jump straight in, Blogging is something that needs to be done ‘properly’. Potential employers are not interested in the incoherent ramblings of your inner mind. Make it personal, but make it interesting, intellectual and truthful.

I think the ‘authentic’ aspect of building an online professional identity is important, but has its limitations. Obviously things such as educational attainment and employment record should be honest, and are things which employers can and will check. We’ve all claimed on CV’s in the past that we love nothing more than country walks and a classic novel, when really at 18 we’re more likely to be in the local club downing shots. I don’t personally think this affects the ‘authenticity’ of our professional identity providing it doesn’t interfere in our ability to do the job at hand.

Building a successful online identity takes hard work, perseverance and dedication, but beware, it only takes one ill-advised tweet to destroy it all.

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BBC, 18 October 2013, ‘Job Hunting: How to Promote Yourself Online”, Accessed: 5/3/2015

The Employable, 28 October 2014. ‘How Blogging can help you get a Job’. Accessed: 5/3/2015

Nyman, N. 13/3/2014. ‘Using Social Media in your Job Search’. Accessed: 5/3/2014

Ronson, J. 12/2/2015. ‘How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s Life’, New York Times. Accessed: 5/3/2015

Source of Info-graphic Statistics: Accessed: 5/3/2015 Accessed: 5/3/2015

Topic 2: Reflective Summary

Having completed my own blog entry on this topic and read entries from the rest of the class, it is clear that this is a topic that is determined much more by personal opinion than what we have covered so far.

I thought that Ben’s post summed up the dangers that I see with having multiple identities on the web, Catfish is a great example, it’s pretty entertaining viewing but it definitely makes you think (and question quite how gullible some people are!)

The general feeling that I got from most of the blogs was that most people felt the use of multiple identities could rarely be used for innocent reasons, something that Francesca and I discussed in the comments section of my post.

I found the idea of 4 Chan and Tor a pretty confusing concept, something which Andrew was able to explain to me in his comments section. Now having a greater understanding of it, I actually find it even more worrying than I did when I read about it originally to write my first post on this topic.

I think for me personally, if you’re putting it on the web you should be happy for people to see it. My internet browsing shows me to be a pretty dedicated shopper and a compulsive procrastinator, but there will be people out there who are searching for things far more dangerous than I am and do we really want this to be done entirely in secret and without any trace? I don’t really think we do..

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Blogs I commented on:
Andrew’s Blog

Jens’ Blog

Topic 2: Online Identity

A quick Google of my name shows the usual links to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc, all of which I’ve knowingly placed information into in order to build a profile. But there is also information that I’ve never placed on the internet; you can see that I passed my Grade 1 Ballet exam when I was in Year 2, not exactly scandalous and it won’t stop me from getting a job but it just shows that we have little control of what is written about us online. Regardless of whether we want to have an online identity, by the time we’re at University, the chances are we inadvertently already have one. A further Google search of “For and Against having an Online Identity” produces results almost exclusively claiming having an online identity can lead to you falling victim to Identity theft; our habit of over sharing personal information on Social Media can leave us exposed to identity and bank fraud (Smith, 2014). We could argue that having more than one online identity could actually protect us.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 17.03.13

This graphic is based on the ideas found on It shows how our individual identities on the web are combined to create what is known about our Identity on the Internet. I think that this show how hard it is to have a credible identity when we attempt to have more than one; the circles wouldn’t overlap in the same way. As Aleks Krotoski points out in his article, “the main value now lies within creating a platform that provides confidence that a person is who they say they are” (Krotoski, 2012).

Something that wasn’t raised by my readings was what the motivation was for having more than one identity? I use my online identity to communicate with friends, follow beauty blogs and aimlessly browse Amazon, I find it hard to comprehend why you would have the need to do this outside of your actual identity. In Japan there are sites such as 4Chan where you are totally anonymous to other users (Krotoski, 2012). However, with cookies, IP addresses etc, can you ever truly be anonymous online?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently announced that in the not so distant future “every young person.. will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends social media sites” (Jenkins, 2010). This presents the idea of ‘Reputation Bankruptcy’ (Zittrain, 2010). If you gain Reputation Bankruptcy, the good as well as the bad would be removed; what does it mean for society if we can effectively remove our past from the Internet?

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Reference List: Accessed: 19/02/2015

Jenkins Jr, Holman W, 14/08/2010. “Google and the search to the future”, The Wall Street Journal. Accessed: 19/02/2015

Krotoski, Aleks, 19/04/2012. “Online Identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?, The Guardian. Accessed: 19/02/2015

Smith, Anthony, 24/10/2014. “Five ways to protect yourself against online identity theft”. The Huffington Post. Accessed:19/02/2015

Zittrain, Jonathon, 07/09/2010. “Reputation Bankruptcy”, The future of the Internet and how to stop it. Accessed: 19/02/2015

Topic 1: Reflective Summary

When I first saw the question to consider for Topic 1, I instantly thought that I must fall into the category of ‘Native’ in terms of my use of the Web and Technology. However, as I began to research and read ideas presented by Prensky and Cornu and White I started to question whether perhaps the distinctions they were making were perhaps a little too simplistic. Hayley’s info graphic gave a really clear and helpful representation of the distinction between ‘Natives’ and ‘Visitors’, whilst Tatiana’s image was haunting and I felt an accurate portrayal of our dependence on the web.

However, having read many of the blogs linked to this topic I have discovered that I am not alone in terms of not living my entire life online. When I started this module, all of my online profiles were completely private, only friends could view any of the information on them. The information I posted on these sites was, and still is limited. I don’t feel that I live my life entirely through the web, although the perception is that a person from my generation should.

The point raised by Namat got me thinking. Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet over 30 years ago. The more people that ‘come online’, the more it changes in what it can offer and further developments are made. Without lowering the tone too much, I remember being told in an A-Level class at school by a slightly eccentric teacher that the reason the Internet exploded and expanded so rapidly was as a result of the Porn Industry.

This module is definitely impacting already on my use of the Web in order to live my everyday life, I’m already embracing Twitter much more, but having researched the topic of ‘Natives’ and ‘Visitors’ and read the blogs by others and the comments which resulted from them I feel that I’m not alone in my desire not to be pigeonholed based on the expectations of academics on how I should use the Web.

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