My digital inception

Going back to my very first blog post I was struck by the opening quote:

The nature of knowledge is changing and, in this digital age, our definition of basic literacy urgently needs expanding (Knight, 2011).

At the start of ‘Living and Working on the Web’ I felt I was lacking the knowledge to make the most of the wealth of digital tools and online networks on offer. I was accustomed to passive online consumption, but I wanted to be able to actively create and handle my own digital material. This was not only of personal importance to me, but also professional, as I am aspiring to a career in marketing; a part of the communications industry which is increasingly online in focus.

Blogging has helped me to develop and demonstrate valuable skills for employability including creativity, critical thinking, passion and motivation. It also shows I am up-to-date and digital savvy and may help me to stand out from the crowd in the job market rat race.

Click the image below and use the arrows to follow my digital journey over the course of the module.

Fig. 1: interactive line graph showing the development of my digital skills.

I was encouraged to see that due to the breadth of the course I had improved in every section of the test. The most significant improvement was in my ability to create original online materials.

Fig. 2: My learnings in the use of online tools.

These new digital skills are an asset to my professional profile. I have already used them as a selling point in an application for an Excel internship where I provided a link to my blog. I have secured an interview for Marketing Assistant to help rebrand a youth theatre.

Fig. 3: Excel Southampton Internship application status

This animated video pinpoints turning points in my understanding across the topics.

I have started to apply my learnings by using my Twitter account in a productive and professional manner rather than just posting passing thoughts.

Fig. 4: my Twitter feed.
Fig. 5: my LinkedIn profile.

I am seeking a career in arts marketing, that is, working in an arts organisation in a marketing and communications role. I plan to tailor my LinkedIn profile accordingly with an appropriate network of contacts.

Steps I will be taking to improve my online professional profile:

  • Make an effort to post regularly.
  • Engage with others involved in marketing the Arts and culture.
  • Include pithy explanations of my work experience and skills on LinkedIn.
  • Grow my following and connections.
  • Get a professional head-shot taken to use as my display picture across all networks .
  • Include links to my blog.
  • Make sure personal online accounts such as Facebook have the correct privacy settings.

As I complete this module, I have a greater understanding of what lies behind the title: ‘Living and Working on the Web’. I now know the distinction between my personal and professional online identities and have gained the confidence to build a profile that will help me work towards my chosen career path.

Word count: 510

Figure references

Figure 1: self-produced using Prezi.

Figure 2: self-produced using Piktochart.

Figure 3: screen capture from

Figure 4: screen capture from Twitter.

Figure 5: screen capture from LinkedIn.

Featured Image: courtesy of Pexels.

Animated video: self-produced using PowToon.



Topic 5 – Reflection

At first Topic 5 seemed quite dry so I experimented with adding a theme to my post to try and bring my argument to life. I also found the student posts which focused their discussion on content producers to have the clearest structure.

in reverie
Fig.1: Infographic showing learnings from Topic 5.

There was a good deal of support for open access in last week’s research including clear benefits to content producers. Scott supported this in his comment that publishers unfairly drive profit margins at the expense of shared academia. I tried to address the balance by arguing that publishers are simply businesses and so cannot be blamed for these larger issues. In a similar vein, Rachel covered the less obvious disadvantages to a content producer of publishing open access and even went as far as to say that in their shoes she would follow conventional methods of publication due to the stigma surrounding open access and the importance of reputation when publishing. It is clearly a sensitive issue with complications and risks for involved parties; rather than blame being placed on one entity, I feel solutions must be driven by society as a whole.

Open access perhaps needs to be treated more like a movement with a gradual transition to a more open academic environment. I suggested the seeming redundancy of journals, to which Brad agreed:  ‘I think the entire process needs to be rejuvenated … Interactive, free and accessible content (such as MOOCs) are definitely the most effective and efficient way forward’. Wil also picked up on MOOCs, and we discussed the implications of these in greater detail.

In a digital world where everything increasingly feels like a closed book, whether open access can challenge current methods without the big publishers finding loopholes or adopting new policies remains to be seen. Ultimately there is a need to create new ways of communicating and sharing knowledge.

Word count: 307


Comment on Brad’s blog here.

Comment on Rachel’s blog here.

Featured Image: courtesy of Pexels.

Figure 1: Self-produced using Canva.

Access denied or granted?

There is an ongoing dialogue about whether work published online could and should be more freely available, expressly to those in education and those wishing to contribute to current research. Open access describes a situation where anyone anywhere in the world can access, read and build upon research content found online (Shockey and Eisen, 2012).

Open, adj. generous, sharing, giving (Wiley, 2010).

Those in support of open access argue that restricting material with pay walls can stifle creativity and the human desire for a shared culture as well as hindering educational goals and even global issues (Waters, 2017):

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, 2014).

So what does this mean for those wanting to post new material?

Fig. 1: Advantages to a content producer of making their materials freely available online

It is easy to get swept up in the talk about open access being the future of digital and to heartily agree that publishers who charge users to view content online make large profits and add little value.

even the richest institutions can only afford to subscribe to a fraction of [journals] (Harnad, 2012).

Publishers argue that such accusations are unfounded and that without appropriate fees they would not be able to edit work to the same scholarly standard nor distribute it so effectively (Brown, 2012). This short film shows us the perils of being a publisher.

As a university student I am frequently made aware of the extent to which online material is restricted and am left feeling frustrated and disappointed when I am denied access to some of the best journal articles for my assignments. This topic has helped me to realise how much I am enjoying the research process for this module which encourages use of widely available sources and the sharing of those sources with peers for an enriched and supportive learning experience.

There is a new trend for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which form a way of widening access and tackling the spiralling cost of education (Coughlan, 2012). I first became aware of a these a few weeks ago during this module when I was asked to speak to camera about my views on online identity for Future Learn MOOC ‘Learning in the network age’. I was interested to learn that these represent a fantastic learning resource for a limitless audience.

Word count: 409


Brown, K, A. (2012). Open access: why academic publishers still add value. Guardian.

Coughlan, S. (2012). Gates Foundation funds online university open access. BBC News.

Hall, M. (2014). Why open access should be a key issue for university leaders. Guardian.

Harnad, S. (2012). There’s no justifying Research Council UK’s support for gold open access. Guardian.

JustinG4000. (2008). A Shared Culture: Creative Commons.

Lepitak, S. (2013). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. The Drum.

Shockey, N. and Eisen, J. (2012). Open Access Explained! Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics).

Waters, S. (2017). The educator’s guide to copyright, fair use, and creative commons. The Edublogger.

Weller, M. (2013). What Sort Of Open Do You Want? The Ed Techie.

Wiley, D. (2010). Openness and the Future of Education.  SlideShare.

Wiley, D, Green, C,, and Soares, L. (2012). Dramatically Bringing down the Cost of Education with OER. Center For American Progress.

Figure References

Featured Image: courtesy of Pexels.

Figure 1: Self-produced using Microsoft PowerPoint with information from Weller (2013).

Film: Self-produced using Powtoon.

Topic 4 – Reflection

During this topic, I made a conscious effort to link my ideas to current affairs relating to business and social media, to make my arguments more engaging and relevant. It came as no surprise that business use of social media raised serious ethical issues. What was surprising was the varied ways in which ‘business use of social media’ had been interpreted by students. I chose to focus on high-profile individuals (specifically politicians but celebrities were also discussed in the comments) whose professions place them in the public eye online. Emily studied the social media platforms as businesses with policies and complicating pressures of their own, while Jordan looked at use of social media by individuals within a business and how this reflects on a company.

While these different approaches covered separate ethical concerns, a common issue raised on blogs was who is responsible for prescribing and maintaining ethical conduct on social media platforms: businesses, individuals, society, government bodies or the platforms themselves? This inspired me to think not just about the existing problems but about steps which can be taken towards solving them.

So, taking trolling on Twitter from my own blog as an example, I have gathered some of the suggestions and learnings which came through in the comments to see what can be done to help. I received several comments on my Topic 4 post, creating a rich and wide-ranging discussion (key points captured in the graphic below).

Trolling infographic
Fig. 1: visual representation of the discussion generated from my Topic 4 post

As Jordan pointed out in his comment, there are ‘few other tools’ like Twitter where opinions can be shared so freely. While I realise that this a huge part of the appeal of the platform, can the pleasure that we get from Twitter ever make up for when it goes wrong? Hopefully the wider recognition and improved understanding of trolling is leading towards less damaging online dialogue in future.

Comment on Emily’s blog here.

Comment on Jordan’s blog here.

Word count: 319

Image References

Featured Image: courtesy of Pexels.

Figure 1: self-produced using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Bitter Twitter: when free speech goes wrong

In June last year a woman was brutally killed in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Jo Cox was a respected MP and mother of two children. Her murderer, Thomas Mair, was only interested in her political voice, communicated through her professional Twitter account, which he viewed two days prior to the killing (Cobain, 2016). Jo, like most MPs, freely expressed her political opinions online; Mair was reacting against her support for the Remain campaign during the EU referendum.

Fig 1: The politics of Twitter

This recent tragedy has brought issues of personal safety in connection to social media to the fore. In the wake of Jo Cox’s murder, the founder of hate-crime monitoring group Tell MAMA told MPs that Twitter is failing to tackle far-right extremists.

“There’s a real risk after the murder of Jo Cox to individuals in our country that organisations and corporations like Twitter simply disregard … and it cannot continue” (Mughal, 2016).

However, Twitter does have a hateful conduct policy and an abuse-reporting page (Grierson, 2016). A Guardian article (2014) applies the saying ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ in defence of Twitter, arguing that the platform is ‘only the messenger for the society in which it operates. It is not responsible for … the social misfits who use it. We are.’ Perhaps the issue lies in the fact that social networking platforms can expose the gross prejudices still at work in modern society; not a comfortable realisation.

Just a few months after the tragedy, a man was arrested for tweeting “someone jo cox Anna sourby please” (The Guardian, 2016). Under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 it is an offence to send messages that are ‘grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character’. Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire was, like Cox, a Remain supporter. She responded to the message on social media, calling the Twitter user a “sad cowardly troll”. Trolling is new internet slang term for a person who posts provocative and potentially hurtful messages in an online community.

new-piktochart_172_f25edc1360667224b859c31543eebce5864a32d3 (3)
Fig 2: Trolling infographic

Twitter is a wonderful medium for freedom of speech. Unfortunately there is also the potential for it to be a conduit for terrible things. We have to realise that social media infers a societal responsibility on us all.

Word count: 383


Castella, T & Brown, V (2011). Trolling: Who does it and why? BBC News.

Cobain, I (2016). Jo Cox killed in ‘brutal, cowardly’ and politically motivated murder, trial hears. The Guardian

Communications Act (2003).

Gammon, J (2014). Over a quarter of Americans have made malicious online comments. YouGov.

Greenwald, G (2014). Why privacy matters. TED Talk.

Grierson, J (2016). Twitter fails to deal with far-right abuse, anti-hate group tells MPs. The Guardian.

Ronson, J (2015). How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life. The New York Times Magazine.

The Guardian (2014). Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger.

The Guardian (2016). Man arrested over tweet urging someone to ‘Jo Cox’ MP Anna Soubry.

The Telegraph (2015). Five internet trolls a day convicted in UK shows ten-fold increase. Ministry of Justice Figures.

Figure references

Figure 1: Self-produced using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Figure 2: Self-produced using Piktochart using statistics from YouGov and the Ministry of Justice.

Topic 3 – Reflection

I enjoyed this week’s topic as it was all about applying the technical learning from Topic 2.

How to build a professional profile in the right way is of interest and importance to me. As a soon-to-be graduate, I often feel (and I know I am not alone in this) more than slightly daunted by the contemporary pressure to join the job market rat race. This topic has helped me to get a calm handle on some of the main things to be aware of online.

It seems obvious now, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that blogging can be a very beneficial addition to your professional profile, for the reasons highlighted in the below animation. I am now even happier to be taking this module which has introduced me to blogging and exhibiting the right skills and competencies to future employers.

Although I have opened a LinkedIn account, this topic has made me realise that I want to invest proper time and thought in setting this up in the right way. The finished profile will be influential to how people perceive me professionally.

I agree with Eloane’s reflection that the discussions generated in topic 3 are the best to date; they flow much better and are more stimulating. For example, Madelaine and I discussed the implications of recruitment going online, such as compromised Equal Employment Opportunities. On Eloane’s blog we debated authenticity, which led back to issues of online identity from topic 2. I am also noticing how students are developing a distinct blogging style. I found Mary and Eloane’s blogs to be full of personality and concise information presented in an accessible way.

Moving forward, with each topic I am feeling more confident and eager to build my digital skills and understanding.

Word count: 297


Eloane’s post

Mary’s post


Feature image: credit to Pexels

Video: self-produced using PowToon




Why you should be conscious of your online professional profile

Your online presence can tell a story about who you are. It has never been more important to present the right narrative to future employers or potential clients.

The way in which we work is changing as connections are made faster and more efficiently, and this extends to job hunting and recruitment (Tapscott, 2014). Recent statistics reveal that 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision (Jobvite, 2014).

Jobvite 2
Figure 1: Jobvite Social Recruting Survey Results.

However, your professional online profile is not just something to impress recruiters with, but needs to be carefully maintained throughout your professional life as the case of Justine Sacco painfully proves; one badly judged tweet can lose you your job (Ronson, 2015).

In Topic 2 it became clear that while having multiple identities on different platforms can allow you to separate your professional and personal profiles, a single identity across platforms is more authentic; helping to create a trustworthy and consistent image in the world of business.

Watch the SlideShare below for tips on how to get started with building an effective and authentic online professional profile. According to Neil Nyman (2014), because of the high volume of applications, you now have just ten seconds to wow a recruiter and social media might just help you to stand out.

LinkedIn launched in 2003 and is now the major professional networking online platform, connecting millions of individuals across the world (Carruthers, 2012). It has a distinctly different culture to other social networking platforms and is a useful way of letting people see a professional representation of you (Bowes, 2013). Users can publish their CV, link with others who have similar interests and explore career paths. Watch the clip below (1:20 to 2:21) to hear how it works from a LinkedIn Engineer.

As with most online services you have to pay for the optimum service and upgrades. However, LinkedIn is not just a valuable tool for securing a job but can also be important for a successful career; it forms a marketing tool to help you sell yourself to potential clients (Henley, 2014).

‘people and brands are sort of blending’ (Weiss, 2013).

I find Weiss’ analogy of the ‘personal brand’ fascinating as I am interested in all things marketing. Personally, I have realised that I need to set up a LinkedIn profile as a matter of urgency and will be applying my learnings to this process.

Differentiation and authentication emerge as key to a successful online professional profile. What it comes down to is promoting what you do best in the right places.

Word count: 435


Bowes, P. (2013). Using social media to find a new job. BBC News.

Carruthers, R. (2012). Managing your digital footprint. Career Destinations, University of Southampton.

Henley, M. (2014). How to Create a Killer LinkedIn Profile. The Effective Marketing Company.

Jobvite (2014). Social Recruiting Survey 2014.

Nyman, N. (2014). I’ll tweet you my job spec if you snap me your CV. Web Science MOOC.

Nyman, N. (2014) Let’s get LinkedIn. Neil’s Recruitment Co.

Ronson, J. (2015). How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life. The New York Times Magazine.

Tapscott, D. (2014). Five ways talent management must change. World Economic Forum.

TheEmployable (2014). How blogging can get you a job. TheEmployable.

Weiss, M. (2013). Job hunting: How to promote yourself online. BBC News.

White, M. (2016). The 9 Things Your Online Professional Profile Must Have.

Figure references

Featured Image: Self-produced using Canva. Photo credit to Pexels.

Figure 1: Screen capture of page 7 of the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 2014.

Figure 2: Self-produced using Microsoft PowerPoint and SlideShare. Photo credit to Pexels.