Topic 6 – Reflections


UOSM2008 has been a very rewarding, challenging and eye-opening module.  It was a welcomed change from English Literature, and I not only acquired valuable digital literacy skills  but an online identity which will undoubtedly assist future employment prospects.

My additional reflections have been collected in a PowToon below:


My Twitter, LinkedIn and pages can be found here, or on the widget on my homepage.  I hope to remain in contact with as many of the UOSM2008 students as possible, and wish you all good luck with any upcoming exams!

Topic 5: Reflective Summary

This week’s topic on the advantages and disadvantages of Open Access for the content producer generated some interesting thoughts amongst fellow UOSM2008 students. It additionally prompted several of us to try new ways of presenting our blog posts: Prezis, SlideShares and videos were abundant!

What stood out the most this week was the overwhelmingly positive response to Open Access.  I was not alone in sharing my frustration at restricted access to articles.  Tat, for example, voiced her annoyance at being faced with a hefty price tag for a journal article she needed to read, whilst Bartosz similarly covered the hypocrisy of funding, and the notion that content producers are denying themselves citations by continuing with closed access.  Both Tat and I held similar opinions with regards to Open Access: we both saw its advantages not only as students, but to those across the globe, including the author.

Whilst my blog post focused on the academic content producer, Nicole’s blog post addressed the open access to music via online streaming services, just as May’s, similarly, focused on open access in journalism.  As a long-term user of Spotify, I felt I could relate and respond to Nicole’s post.  We mutually agreed that the music industry was far more vulnerable to exploitation and illegal downloads, and can never fully be ‘restricted’ in the same way as academic journals.

This week’s topic definitely required the most research during this module. However, I was excited to discover that the Higher Education Funding Council for England will require future research to be open access after April 2016 in order to qualify for funding.  For a topic I had little knowledge of before this blog post, I was surprised at how strongly I felt about it!

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Blogs I commented on:



Topic 5: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access

One of the most frustrating things when it comes to essays, as a student, is when you cannot gain full access to a journal article.

Recently, I attempted an inter-library loan, waiting over a month to discover that my request had been cancelled – other libraries were unable to share the article due to copyright. My deadline by this time had passed, so I could neither read nor cite this academic’s work.

Open Access strives to make academic work freely available online without technological, financial or legal barriers.[1]  Barriers, which in this case, stopped me from reading material, even with access to a university library.  Jack Andraka, a teenage cancer researcher who created a revolutionary diagnostic test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer, stresses the importance of open access not only to the medical field but worldwide knowledge and innovation.  He argues that open access to scientific journals is important because then an important financial barrier to knowledge would be removed. Ideas could be exchanged more easily and rapidly and hopefully barriers due to age, gender or race could be eliminated’[2]

So whilst this slideshare I’ve created covers the advantages (and disadvantages) of content being made open access by content producers, it is also worth considering the advantages for the readers, who can cite, develop and build on these published ideas – a process made quicker and easier by open access.  At the core of education is the sharing of knowledge,  and open access reflects this ethic by reducing and removing unnecessary restrictions.





(Other sources have been cited within the slideshare)


Topic 4: Reflective Summary

In my reflective summary for Topic 3, I noted how Aliyu’s use of a current social media trend within his blog was really effective.  This influenced my approach to Topic 4, prompting me to highlight a current, widely covered topic on social media, the eclipse, and the ethics behind hashtag ‘hijacking’ by businesses and corporations.

Liveblogging varsity this year gave me the skills to embed relevant tweets but, frustratingly, Youtube did not allow embedding of John Oliver’s video.  I tried to counteract this by providing a screenshot of the video as a hyperlink.  However, I fear many people may not have watched it because it was not embed within the post.  Nevertheless, I still included it as I felt it held many relevant points.

Olivia’s blog post covered the ethics of celebrity endorsement on social media.  I thought the video included in her post strengthened her point about celebrity influence online, and how they can abuse this by pretending to be consumers (when they are in fact being paid). What struck me, however, was whether celebrity endorsement of their own products or services was also deemed as ‘unethical’, or simply as advertising.

Hayley’s blog post similarly covered a celebrity on twitter – Courtney Love – but in terms of libel defamation.  As I mentioned in my comment, I had not actually heard of the legal case I enjoyed learning about it.  Though Hayley continued to discuss the ethics of employers controlling employees’ use of social media out of the office (in terms of speech), I tried to highlight that employers are not always able to control them ‘in-house’, using the example of HMV.

Overall, Topic 4 has been really engaging and it’s been interesting to read a variety of responses, and comments, on the module.


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Topic 4: Social Media, Businesses and Ethics

Social media is a great tool for businesses.  Not only can they communicate with customers on an accessible (and increasingly popular) platform, but they can promote products and services to a massive audience – Twitter alone has over 270 million active users.[1]

When it comes to advertising, Twitter is also key to a successful campaign.  There’s now even the term ‘reactervising’: when businesses react to live events with adverts.  A famous example of this was the Super Bowl blackout.  You can read more about that here. [2] 

But when does advertising on social media become unethical? When does ‘hijacking’ of hashtags go wrong?

Though I won’t be focusing on privacy in this post, this also raises the question of whether advertising on social media is ever ethical (specifically with regards to targeted advertisements). If you’re interested in digital privacy, watch this TED Talk.

This week, I looked to see which companies would ‘hijack’ the #eclipse2015 on Twitter to promote their brand, rather than contribute to the discussion of the eclipse. Below is a handful that stood out (with BMW’s perhaps being the least subtle).



Kopparberg UK:


Oreo Cookie, however, launched their own hashtag: #oreoeclipse.  This was also successful, and arguably more ‘ethical’ since it didn’t ‘piggyback’ an existing hashtag trend:

Though the above examples are not offensive, John Oliver collects a number of inappropriate and unethical uses of corporations ‘hijacking’ hashtags.  In fact, he argues that corporations on Twitter are entirely inappropriate, comparing them to uninvited guests at a cocktail party.  This raises an interesting point on whether businesses abuse Twitter’s status as ‘a platform of communication’.[3]

Click image to view the video

Click image to view video

John Oliver shames corporations for their unethical approach to meaningful hashtags. However,  a recent BBC podcast argues  big corporations ‘can’t feel guilt’ when they publicly shamed online.  Instead, they have a ‘soft underbelly’ to shame, purely because they care about their ‘reputation’. [4]  This makes them different to individuals like Jamie Stone, who as a result of being publicly shamed online became ‘racked by PTSD, depression and insomnia’.[5]

Twitter has ‘given a megaphone to people who enjoy shouting’ [3] but this megaphone has also been given to businesses and corporations, who don’t feel the same effects of shame. It would be harmful for businesses to avoid social media altogether, as I explained in the introduction, but they tread a thin line between ethical and unethical when hijacking hashtags.




[1] Team Caffeine, ’10 Remarkable Twitter Statistics for 2015′,

[2] Nat Ives and Rupal Parekh, ‘Marketers Jump on Super Bowl Blackout with Real-Time Twitter Campaigns’,

[3] ‘Twitter Abuse: Easy on the Messenger’,

[4] ‘Shame with Jon Ronson’, BBC,

[5] Jon Ronson, ‘How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life’,

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Topic 3: Reflective Summary

This week’s blog post took me a little longer than usual to gather my thoughts – I got distracted by wanting to read more facts and articles, whilst being attracted to articles about graduate jobs (behaviour typical of a final year university student, unfortunately!).

However, my additional research did lead me to two insightful videos, which I finally discovered how to embed within the body of my text.  This allowed me to rely less on images for visual content and try something new, whilst supporting my argument.  I was similarly pleased to follow up on my reflective summary from Topic 1:  opening a blog post with a quote outside from the set reading.

Tamara’s blog post stood out to me this week because of its clarity and creativity.   I liked the tone and structure of her blog.  I thought it was interesting how we raised the same point on consistency, but with slightly contrasting angles.  My point encouraged consistency with blogging, and a consistent ‘brand’ image, whereas Tamara raised a valid point on consistency with content and social media accounts.  Tamara also provided a great answer in response to my question about people going ‘offline’ in their job hunt.

Aliyu’s blog post was also really engaging, and I loved the inclusion of the Seth Godin quote.  Although I didn’t initially understand her closing point (the #DearMe hashtag), I understood its relevance later throughout the week when I saw it on Twitter.  I thought this was a really interesting way to relate our UOSM2008 blog posts to current internet stories.

Though I didn’t have enough words to relate my personal experience within this week’s blog, I did find this week’s topic really relevant as a student in my final year approaching the world of work.  I particularly enjoyed being able to read how recruitment is affected by the internet, and reflect on how this tied in with Topic 2.

Topic 3: Discuss the ways in which an authentic online professional profile can be developed

Your personal online branding is very important. Employers will look at what groups you’re part of, the photographs you’ve been tagged in, and comments you’ve made on other people’s blogs; negative feedback you’ve left can really go against you.” – Julie Bishop [1]

The above quote does not intend to discourage anyone commenting on this blog but instead introduce the idea of a ‘personal online brand’.  You can read more here on how this differs from corporate branding.  A BBC video mentions how, increasingly, people and brands are blending together, which supports Nyman’s view that ‘nowadays you need to market yourself, not just apply for the job’.[2]  By treating our online personas like a brand, we can start developing an authentic online professional profile.

This video has 5 great tips on developing your personal brand, and marketing yourself using social media:

Marketing ourselves professionally online echoes back to the idea of managing our online presentation and reputation in Topic 2.  In terms of professionalism and employability, we have to place ourselves in our employer’s shoes. Some recruiters, like Ashley Hever, don’t believe in checking candidate’s social media, arguing it is invasive and is ‘a bit like rifling through someone’s drawers’. [3]  However, social recruiting is now considered to be the norm, and ‘55% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile with 61% of those reconsiderations being negative’.[4]

Nyman argues this can be avoided if we ‘do an audit of [our] online presence’. [5] The first step is to ‘Google’ ourselves (we’d be idiots not to, according to this article), and from here assess our online professionalism and privacy settings.  Alternatively, websites like Reppler can do all the hard work for you.

However, a personal online brand is more than just privacy settings or having a LinkedIn account.  It’s about using social media to your advantage.  By finding the right voice for your intended audience and engaging with the right people online, you can improve and develop your professional profile in a positive and authentic way. Blogging, for example, is a great way to show your passion and commitment, whether related to the industry you intend to enter, or a hobby. Being consistent is also key – with blog posts, and your ‘brand image’.  Your photo, for example, should be of a high quality and the same across social media accounts in order to increase authenticity.

This slideshare explores how to ‘brand yourself’ with a professional, ‘external’ audience in mind:

Ultimately, social media can either support your personal online brand and your professional identity, or it can hinder it. If you are managing your personal ‘branding’ on the internet correctly, and managing your privacy settings properly, in theory you have nothing to worry about when people Google your name.  You might even welcome it.


[1]             Josie Gurney – Read, ‘ Students – Use This Summer for a Social Media Clean – Up’,The Telegraph <>

[2]               Nik Nyman, ‘Using Social Media in Your Job Search, <;

[3]              Ashley Hever, ‘How to use Social Media to get a Graduate Job’, The Telegraph <>

[4]               Jobvite, ‘2014 Social Recruiting Survey’, <; ,(p. 2)

[5]               Nik Nyman, ‘Curating your online profile’, (2013) <>


Topic 2: Reflective Summary

This week’s background reading covered a variety of issues relating to online identity: anonymity and authenticity, presentation and reputation, our online and offline identity, privacy and security, and finally, identity protection.  Initially, I found myself trying to cover all of these topics but I quickly realised this was not realistic – it was never going to fit under the word count!

Instead, I tried to limit myself to the areas that took my interest: online personas and anonymity.  Where I was unable to write about certain topics, I tried to read about them in other UOSM2008 blogs and/or leave a comment.

Bartosz Paszcza’s post had a great point about digital privacy.  The embed video strengthened his argument and I found myself wanting to share one similar that I had seen.  Another thing that struck me about his blog was how it looked forward – he included a theory about potential changes in digital advertising of the future, whereas, in contrast, my blog related back to existing arguments on digital ‘residents’ and ‘visitors’ (topic 1).  I thought this was a good way to conclude a blog post and one which I will myself consider in upcoming topics.

Cheuk Sun’s post was also visually engaging.  The structure and approach was different to others I read in providing both sides of the argument (for and against multiple online identities) and then concluding with her thoughts.  At the beginning, I was initially disorientated by the structure and her argument, but I liked how strongly the post incorporated the blogger’s voice, something I am still working on myself.

Overall, a challenging but really interesting topic this week, and I look forward to the next.

Discuss the arguments for and against having more than one online identity

This post primarily focuses on online personas, arguing that in terms of professionalism, there is value in having multiple online identities and potential drawbacks to being anonymous.

An online persona can be defined as ‘a partial identity created by you to represent yourself in a specific situation’.[1]  Examples of personas include social networking accounts, such as Facebook, or online blogs.[2]  Julia Allison argues ‘we should maintain many identities – one for work, another for school, another for home, another for friends’.[3]  In terms of professional and personal online personas, I can relate.  I use LinkedIn to maintain a professional, online relationship with colleagues and contacts and the content and information I share is different to that on Facebook (where I have created a personal online persona).

We’re always being told (and warned) that potential employers will be looking for us online.  Our digital identity is formed of both presentation and reputation, where management of our personas ‘can impact our activity both face to face and online’.[4]  Digitial Trends has a great article here showing how poor digital management of online identity affects employment. However, what we’re not told is that being anonymous online is met with equal suspicion.  This is since Facebook successfully promoted the idea of transparent identity as authentic identity.[5]

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Though no one is ever truly anonymous whilst using the internet, (Internet Society comments how partial identities are formed every time we use the internet in an ‘exchange’ of information), Andrew Lewman argues for total anonymity over any online persona.  He argues anonymity ‘gives people control’.[6]  A refusal to create an online persona is a characteristic that hints to digital visitors, whereas people that have multiple online personas seem behaviourally more like digital residents (as discussed last week).  The positives of embracing multiple and open identities is allowing greater engagement with larger online communities. Costa and Torres similarly argue it ‘advance[s] knowledge’ (50).

Having multiple online identities can even grant fame.  More than ever, people are being ‘internet famous’, launching a career through blogging or vlogging.  Two of my housemates love Tuula – an online travel blogger, whose website links to her other online personas: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.  Though many like her become famous due to their ‘personal’ online personas rather than ‘professional’ ones, their online presentation and reputation is certainly not overlooked.

[1]               Internet Society, ‘Online Identity Overview: What is Partial Identity’,<>

[2]               Internet Society, ‘Online Identity Overview: What is Partial Identity’, <>

[3]               Jeff Jarvis, ‘One identity or more?’, (2011) <>

[4]               Cristina Costa and Ricardo Torres, “To be or not to be? The importance of digital identity in the networked society”,  (2011), p.49.  <>  Subsequent references are to this edition and are given in parentheses.

[5]               Alex Kroski, ‘Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?’, (2012)<>

[6]               Alex Kroski, ‘Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?’ (2012) <>

Topic 1: Reflective Summary

This week’s topic focused on exploring the concept of digital “visitors” and “residents”, drawing on our own experiences and theories by Prensky, Cornu and White.

By engaging with other members of UOSM2008, I was able to gain a deeper understanding and new thoughts on the topic.  When reading Nicole’s response, I realised I could relate more of my own experiences to this week’s theories (at the time of my first blog post, I could only think of one example: my mum as a digital “visitor”).  Though my view of the older generation was not the same as Nicole’s, I did find it useful in reading an alternative opinion.

Francesca’s blog provoked new questions on digital “residents” and “visitors”.  Her post highlighted a large portion of older professionals that are digital “residents” due to their online presence and use of online networking.  This provoked me to consider whether digital ‘residency’ is a potential issue if both our personal and professional lives are online – it now feels like people have to choose to be offline, than online, like a reverse “visitor”.

Though we were all set the same topic and reading, I found it really interesting how each blog was different, with a different focus in every argument.  I also discovered how style can impact a blog.  The strength of Nicole’s introduction, with the inclusion of an external quote, is something I would like to include in future blog posts.  Additionally, other blogs managed to embed Youtube videos within their text to make their work more visually engaging, whereas my hyperlink was less effective.

The most important aspect I’ve learnt from Topic 1, however, is the value of reading other member’s blogs, even if opinions differ.  Ultimately, they still spark new topics of debate which we wouldn’t get if we simply read the set texts.