Facebook and Your Job

Who doesn’t have a Facebook account these days? It’s almost a must. How else would we socailise with our friends and display who we are and what we think? Just jump on Facebook and connect with your friends, while posting status updates, photos and more.

But wait, there’s a problem. What you’re posting on Facebook could potentially harm your job. The question is, should it?

As reported by Ewin Hanna of The Weekend Australia in 2011, employees of the Commonwealth Bank were advised to immediately notify managers in the occurrence of inappropriate content and information being posted by both employees and non-employees on social media sites. (Hanna 2011) In other words, as an employee of the Commonwealth Bank, your Facebook page, whether private or not, could effect your job position depending on what you post.

This posting of inappropriate content on Facebook, however, is not all that different to talking badly about a workplace in a real life situation, such as a conversation between friends or acquaintances. If you were to negatively represent your workplace or job in front of a group of friends or acquaintances, they could quite easily then go and tell your boss, or even by way or word of mouth. The only difference being that content on Facebook such as a status update or comment is permanent until deleted by the Facebook user who posted it, and even after being it deleted it may still be retrieved.

It doesn’t even have to be Facebook. Anyone with Internet access can voice their opinion online, and as Howard (2008) explains, it doesn’t require any real technical skills to do so – simply access social media and or blog. (Howard 2008)

Facebook, or any other social online platform, is not the place to inappropriately slander or badmouth your workplace, or any other workplace, if you don’t intent to handle the consequences. Certain things should not be said and posted online. So to answer the question, yes, what you post on social media should not be taken lightly, and there should be ramifications for posting inappropriate information.

References

Hannan, E 2011, ‘Bank’s Facebook Sacking Threat,’ The Australian, 5 February

Howard, R 2008, ‘The Vernacular Web of Participatory Media’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 490-513

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068

Advertisements

Gendered Vidding

Vidding is all about fan made remix music videos as “vids use footage from favourite media texts and edit them to music in order to share a particular interpretation of that televisual text.” (Freund 2012, pg. 5) Though more than anything, vidders are media savvy fanatics, who often desire to tell a story differently through a vid, mostly revolving around character relationships.

Vidders will take certain footage and add dramatic music to convey a certain relationship between two or more characters of a television show or movie. However, as Katie Freud (2013) explained during a lecture on the topic, 90% of the vidding community is female, leading us to assume there is a gender separation fueling this relationship interest.

“Vidders understand themselves in gendered terms, and many see their work as a type of feminist revision of popular culture which speaks more clearly to the interests of female viewers.” (Freund 2012, pg. 6) As pointed out, while there may be some males interested in characters relationships, it is clear that females are more so the ones caring about romantic or sometimes sexual situations broadcasted through vids.

Francesca Coppa (2008) makes the point that, “many vids still make overt or subtextual arguments about gender, and vids in a broad variety of fandoms engage issues of female representation, displacement, and marginalization in visual culture.” (Coppa 2008) With that in mind, it is clear that there is in fact gender separation and this female dominated vidding community is apparent in the vids themselves, particularly through this interest in character relationships. But we should not make the assumption that male vidders are not interested in character relationships. Instead, we should realise that gender is playing a part in how vidding is approached and why vids are often focused on romance and lust of certain characters.

References

Freund, K 2012, ‘“Fair Use is Legal Use”: Copyright negotiations and strategies in the fan vidding community’, New Media and Society

Freund K, 2013, Vidding, lecture, DIGC335, Cybercultures, University of Wollongong, delivered April 30

Coppa, F 2008. ‘Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding’, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 1

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068

MOOC Learning

“Ps get degrees” – a saying often used by university students, particularly the younger demographic of those who prefer to skip lectures or class to sleep in after a big night. But hey, students don’t even have to go to class to get a degree nowadays with the emergence of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), which are, as explained by the Chronicle of Higher Education, classes taken online by watching short videos and completing tasks that are graded either by machines or by other students.

Enrolling in MOOC has become a popular trend and form of study – often for free, but not for accreditation – while working or doing whatever else full time. All you need is a computer and decent Internet connection and you can take on a MOOC, reiterating my last blog post on Internet access.

However, is this form of online learning a lesser way of education?

Most people find it hard to learn and complete tasks independently, by which I mean not having structured learning or having to attend face-to-face class, especially when they are not paying for it – not to mention little to no help or involvement from professors, lectures and tutors. Sure, MOOC students can work their studies around their job, social life and hobbies, but then study can becomes of less importance, and is why MOOCs have a very poor completion rate as mentioned by Dr. Kate Bowles (2013).

Although one thing that is great about MOOCs is that you can choose exactly what you want to study and how you engage with your studies – self-learning. While it may be somewhat aided, self-learning is a great skill to have nonetheless.

So, to answer my question, yes, I personally believe MOOCs are currently a lesser way of education. But I also believe that it depends on the students approach to an MOOC, and how well time is managed, for it is the key with this self-learning procedure. And I’m sure we can only expect MOOCs to improve and become even more popular, and hopefully more successful in completion, while of course not destroying the current primary face-to-face way of learning.

Reference

Bowles, K 2013, Education-case study, lecture, DIGC335, Cybercultures, University of Wollongong, delivered April 16

What You Need to Know About MOOCs regularly updated, Chronicle of Higher Education, viewed 17 April 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/What-You-Need-to-Know-About/133475/

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068

Access the Internet or Miss Out

Access to the Internet is basically a must in this day and age, particularly for students. Whether it is at the primary, secondary or university level, students need the Internet to learn, connect and best complete their education.

Students and teachers use the Internet for a variety of things – most lectures are available online, assessments are submitted online and contact between teachers and students is also done online. So, what happens to those who either don’t have a computer or don’t have access to the Internet? Well, they simply miss out, and don’t have the same opportunities as those who do.

Looking at the University of Wollongong for example, each student is given an account in which they use to access the Internet to communicate, study, research and manage their degree on either their own computer or the those available on campus. However, not all students own a computer, and not all students can use the provided computers at the same time or when they’re in certain rooms or lecture halls without computers.

As stated by Chatswood High School principal Sue Low (2013) stated during an interview with The Herald Sun, “Laptops are now just as much of the culture of education as are pens and paper.” While Low was referring to providing high school students with laptops, the same thing applies – those who can’t afford a computer are indeed missing out, and as she goes on to say, “It’s fine if your family can afford a computer. But if those funds are not there for you in the family, you’re not going to have a computer in school.”

With the NBN slowly being implemented, students online education will become even more important and, “The NBN will create new opportunities for education,” making accesses even more important in the times ahead.

It really comes down to students being well aware of how important Internet access is, and making sure they utilise the Internet if they are lucky enough to have complete Internet access. As for those who don’t, they will ultimately miss out, unfortunately.

References

Wright, J 2013, ‘Computer cash in lap of chaos’, Sun Herald, 3 February, accessed 11/04/13, http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/computer-cash-in-lap-of-chaos-20130202-2dr65.html

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068

Modifications Through Avatars and Identity

Body modification is rather popular in the world today. Take tattoos and plastic surgery for example, an interest and choice for many to somewhat change their identity, going from natural to artificial.

Much like the real world, we can modify our identity online, through avatars, changing our appearance, gender, race and more. I, for example, am a human male with short dark brown hair, but if I wanted to, I could be represented online in a game like World of Warcraft as a female night elf with purple hair.

Online identify isn’t limited to gaming either. Ones online social media presence can also be very different from that of the real world. While someone may be a quiet and polite person offline, they could very well be a talkative, rude and aggressive person online, with a completely different look and avatar, which doesn’t at all represent who they are in the real world. Also through social networks, people can quite easily falsely represent themselves as that of the opposite gender or age, with their avatar and way they interact online.

This then leads to the following questions: Are real life body modifications, online identities and avatars just fake irrelevant representations of who we are? Are we trying to be someone we are not through different representations of ourselves? Or perhaps the real question should be: Are we trying to be the person we really are? Certainly arguments can be made for each way of thinking.

Another point to be made is that our online identities can also be shaped by other people’s interpretations us. As found by Malene Larsen (2008) in a study of young people’s construction of identities, “users are continuously constructing and co-constructing their identity online” (Larsen 2008, pg.16).

I think it comes down to how comfortable one is with their inner self and surroundings. People are influenced by the real world – whether it be social norms, friends or family – but in the cyber world, a free environment with very little limitations, we can be whoever we want, judged only by people we probably don’t know. All it takes is an avatar and/or online presence, and our identity is modified just like that.

Reference

Larsen, M 2008, ‘Understanding Social Networking: On Young People’s Construction and Co-construction of Identity Online’, Online Networking: Connecting People. Ed. K. Sangeetha. Hyderabad, India: Icfai UP, accessed 03/04/13, http://vbn.aau.dk/files/17515750/Understanding_social__networking._Bidrag_til_bog.pdf

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068

Online Interactivity

With the introduction of the second-generation Internet, Web 2.0, we now interact and engage with online material like never before. Instead of simply reading information on a webpage we can comment, share and even produce our own work through blogs.

As stated by Warschauer and Grimes in 2007, “The new Web’s architecture allows more interactive forms of publishing (of textual and multimedia content), participation, and networking through blogs, wikis, and social network sites.” (Warschauer & Grimes 2007, p.2) This form of participation allows the audience to read, listen and view information, while interacting with it.

Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, has taken over now more than ever. But as well as taking over the online world, and making the online consumer a participant, social media has moved to television, movies, sport and so on. While we are watching a television show like Masterchef or Q&A, we can interact by tweeting our thoughts by simply including the show’s hashtag. By doing so, we are having our own conversation or debate with others online, which may continue well after the show’s conclusion.

But is this online interactivity actually useful? Some would argue that this new interactive way of consumption and engagement has actually made us lazy and has shorted our attention span as individuals, which is perhaps true is some cases. Instead of digging deep to find information, we can simple use Google. And instead of watching a television show focusing on it, we are interacting with it, multitasking on our computer or smartphone.

While being able to interact with online information has its benefits of public review through comments, gained participation through social media, shared opinions through blogs and, as stated by Cover in 2006, the promotion of convenient and comfortable ways of altering text (Cover 2006, pg.141), we are now becoming dependent upon this interactivity.

For better or for worse, online interactivity is the here and now, and isn’t going anywhere, so we may as well use it to its full potential. So, feel to interact with this post.

References

Rob Cover, “Audience Inter/active: Interactive Media, Narrative Control and Reconceiving Audience History,” New Media and Society 8 (2006): 139-58

Warschauer, M & Grimes, D 2007, ‘Audience, Authorship and Artifact; The Emergent Semiotics of Web 2.0’, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, vol.27, pp.1–23

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068

Stereotyping the Cyber World

Cyperpunk fiction novelist William Gibson’s imagines the cyber world as an anti-authoritarian world, in which males dominate and consumerism is at large – gadgets, cyborgs and electronic information ruled Gibson imagined cyber world, with the human and machine dynamic particularly in mind.

But how do we view our cyber world – the Internet and its users?

The Internet a place of free information, which for the most part, is viewed as a world dominated by geeks, nerds and hackers. This, however, is a very stereotypical view of Internet users, made to be so mainly by the mainstream media and how we view participants of the electronic world.

A computer geek is often thought of as someone who is intelligent, yet has little to no social skills, and are usual male, as often portrayed in the media. An example of this is the four main characters (all men) of the popular television show, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (2007). Especially Sheldon, who is extremely smart, and is great with computers, yet struggles to hold a regular conversation without coming across as being weird.

As for hackers, they too are portrayed as intelligent people with low social skills. However, hacking is often seen as an illegal act – although it can sometimes simply mean altering or customising electronic software for ones personal use and enjoyment. Another example is ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ (Gibson 1988) – a data trafficker, who can store date in his head just like a hard drive. His job come across like drug dealing, as his life is in danger, forcing him to carry a gun. “I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks…” (Gibson 1988, pg.14).

While hackers are usually negatively portrayed in the mainstream media as criminals, they are also seen as rebels. As mentioned by Professor Barwell (2013) during a lecture on the matter, hacker and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is viewed as both a criminal, rebel, and as TIME Magazine (2010) once called him, “The Robin Hood of hacking.”

Whether these representations and stereotypes are accurate or not, it is obvious that the mainstream media effects our views of those who participate in the electronic cyber world – apparently, nerdy, usually male people with low social skills, or criminal hackers.

References

Barwell, G 2013, Representation, Cyberpunk, & Hacking, lecture, DIGC335, Cybercultures, University of Wollongong, delivered March 19

Gibson, W 1988, ‘Johnny Mnemonic’, Burning Chrome, Grafton, London, pp.14-36

Harrell, E 2010, ‘WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange’, TIME, July 26, accessed 20/03/13, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2006496,00.html

By Samuel Findlay

Student Number: 3801068