In The Beginning
During the first week of uni this semester Social Technologies was definitely the class I was most scared about. Yeah, I’ve used social media tools before. I’ve spend hundreds of hours on them. Yeah, I’ve blogged before. I have had other classes that utilised a blogging format and in my spare time am the editor of the blog Collective Bliss. But have I actually thought about online personas and how I portray myself in online communities? Had I ever used Google+? Not at all. I do love challenges and continual learning however, so I was looking forward to learning something I didn’t have knowledge about and using Google+.
Blog Post 1: My Information Gathering Strategy
For the first few weeks of semester up until this blog post I had been reflecting a lot about how I use social media and how I portray myself on the different tools I use. This specific week we learned about information in social media, and I chose to track my social technology usage during a normal weekday. I was not very shocked, as my habits were actually the same each day during my commutes to and from work. I received great feedback from my first blog post though, knowing that while my writing style was nice and easy to read, I must reference back to outside literature. From here I knew that all of my future posts would contain as many references and sources as possible!
Blog Post 2: #iftheygunnedmedown
The citizen journalism and activism week was probably the most interesting for me, and the one which pushed me to research further and further. I have had many heated debates with friends and colleagues after acts of citizen journalism have brought to the mass publics attention things they may not have been aware of. Even after completing and submitting my blog post about three twitter hashtags that arose from the police mistreatment in Ferguson, I still spent hours researching similar cases and other acts of citizen journalism. The #iftheygunnedmedown hashtag was something that really opened my eyes about how much control the media can have over your assumptions of people from the photo they choose to display. It has made me think critically when viewing media from any medium – and not base judgements from photographs.
Blog Post 3: The Overly Attached Girlfriend
Memes! After the many hours of my life I had spent browsing through my favourite memes, I was very excited to actually research the history of one of them and discover what made it go viral. It was so much fun discovering the origins of memes that it took me hours to even choose which one to write about, but I liked the story of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme too much to pick anything else. I was amazed to see how Laina has made a career out of one comedic YouTube upload, and upon further research was shocked with the amount of people making careers from their content going viral. As Kevin Allocca said in his TED talk “no one has to green light your idea”. It tastemakers like your content, communities participate in the sharing of your content or it is just so unexpected people enjoy looking at it, you can go viral overnight.
Blog Post 4: Yes You Definitely Should Monitor Your Privacy And Security Settings
This was a fun post. Learning about trust and ethics made me really want to share the risks of not monitoring your privacy and security settings. From my research I even found out that Apple’s iOS devices have automatically enabled ad tracking which was a shock to me, because I generally look through all security and privacy settings on my devices and I work for Apple! Writing the post actually made me tighten the information viewable on my social media platforms to only people I know, and really think about what I am to post in the future.
Assignment 1 – Finding My Persona
While creating my persona poster and identity map end as the highlight of my Social Technologies semester, reading the assessment description I was definitely not looking forward to starting. It was rare for me to have a piece of assessment worth so much of grade based on a poster. Once I actually started brainstorming ideas and seeing the persona poster and identity maps of my peers in our Google+ community, my thoughts completely changed. It was great seeing the ideas my peers had and identifying and reviewing their personas really helped me dig into my own. I had never before thought about how I present myself on and use social technologies, and was shocked with some of my findings. By actively thinking about how I am portraying myself online and by analysing the personas of my peers in the future, I will be able to connect with people easier and develop myself personally and professionally.
I love reading the learning outcomes at the start and then end of a semester, and realising that I have actually achieved them! To complete assignment 1 and my blog posts to a high standard I had go assess and critically reflect on social technologies, research the topics I wanted to know more about or were not strong with, critically analyse the topics and write them into a new style of writing – a blog post. I have learnt more about many aspects of social technologies, in particular the areas that I am still researching to this day; online personas, communities and networks, vitality and trust/ethics.
Key Take Away
My key take away from IAB230 Social Technologies is that I need to make a video, gain an online following from viral social spread, become famous, profit $$$…
Since that is probably never going to happen, I also have some other key take aways. While being who I want myself to be has always been very important to me, how I portray myself within online communities can have a huge impact on both my personal and professional life. This does not mean I need to change who I am, just what information I decide to share and how I decide to share it. Would a prospective employer look kindly on what I share? Is this important information for people in my network? Do I want everyone to have access to this information? All of these questions have become important to me while conducting myself within my online communities. While I already felt like social technologies could be used as tools for much more than networking, the disasters/crisis, activism/news and movements/viralty information has opened my mind to a massive potential for free social technologies to be used to inform the mass public in short timeframes.
While daunting at first, running a class completely online and separate from Blackboard is a brilliant idea. For the first few weeks I found it hard to stay active online having not used Google+ before or had a class run like this. Once the barriers of connecting online were broken down it was a great approach to learning. By creating a community for our peers to liaise with each other online, it not only gave us a medium to use to discuss topics and share ideas, but allowed me to truly see how easy it is to create a sense of community with social tools. I have discovered that reflecting on your online persona and what information you choose to display within social technologies can be a great benefit to personally and professionally develop yourself online.