All good things must end.

Unlike every other module I’ve done at this university, UOSM2033 has been pretty much entirely based around communication. This has been a very interesting difference, as people have been able to put their points of view across strongly and actually try to better each other’s understanding while going about it. In some ways I think everyone has learnt a lot from it, and by the end views were not so disparate as they might have been at the start of the module.

As I’ve found necessary during the module occasionally, it’s time to have a break to reduce it into stats. My blog has had 698 hits during the period of the module. In total, my posts had 26 comments, and 10 pingbacks as well, my favourite being from week 2’s general feedback post! I’ve also created a word cloud of the words I used in my posts this module, just to give a sense of perspective and shape to proceedings. I definitely used sources from the Guardian more often than I was expecting.

Capture

The module has made me take on a number of different social networking platforms that I may not otherwise have used. I made a return to LinkedIn, and found that very little had changed since I’d been away. I was convinced to, however, by the massive amounts of support for it around the course, which was something I did find very interesting. It makes me very curious indeed as to what sort of contacts other people might have built up throughout life that it’s possible I am entirely missing. I also created an about.me some time back, though all this has managed to do for me so far is send me another newsletter email to delete every week. Ah well.

I think one thing we can all take forward to other modules is the communicative community that has built up around UOSM2033 (it’s getting hard to write that without a hashtag in front). It will definitely encourage me to partake more in facebook groups for other modules I am involved in next semester to see if that has equally positive results. I have also enjoyed thinking about how the web, which one uses every day, can be used from such a number of different perspectives. Academia, for example, uses the web more than I could have imagined, and it’s also a battleground for all sorts of disputes… from #Gamergate to Topic 5’s Spotify debate!

Finally, I’ve learnt a plethora of new ways to present information, which I will be keeping in mind for use in other modules when the situation allows it. My own Powtoon and Prezi, along with a range of other ideas including vlogs and audio presentations have made this a very interesting and varied course.

And of course, who knows what could happen on this blog in the future?

Advertisements

Reflections on Open Access

This topic has proved an interesting one, partly for the addition of some MANG2049 students to the discussion, which has meant that we’ve had some extra voices and a little more chat. The talk around Spotify after Anna’s blog was especially lively, and it was great to see some people with really disparate opinions having a good debate about how things should be.

As for the area I was focussing on this topic, namely open access in academia, some good discussion points were also raised. In his blog and subsequent response to my comment, Charlie put forward his point that having content forced on people, such as in the U2 example, could give the entirety of open access a bad name. I’m not so certain that people would ever link the two, myself, but I can see how if people started to think that open access meant breaches of privacy, they wouldn’t be fans.

In my comment on Jess’ blog, I make a point that I’d previously not thought of in response to her (almost) unequivocally positive take on open access in academia. To stay afloat, publishing companies would have to find new strategies, and one that popped to my mind was simply purchasing any open access journal that gained a reputation for good work, and past editions of said journal. In this scenario, the open access journal world would be constantly shifting, making it even easier for bogus journals to pose as reputable ones.

Finally, and indeed, for the last time, dear reader, we turn to the comments on my blog. Din made a good point about how open access and a payment model could benefit specific researchers – if they could make certain tasters of work available for free, and charge for more, you might end up with a good system. Khairul made another good point, though more tangentially related, that open access could be the answer to the ‘file drawer problem’. While this may be true of a green open access model, I’m sure no-one would pay to publish null and unexciting research under a gold system, so it may only be part of the answer.

Thank you for reading my witterings for the last 10 weeks, and keeping the brain awake with your comments!

Open Access Journals. Good, Evil, Or Not-As-Dramatic?

Here’s a link to the Prezi I’ve made for this week’s post. (It has sound!)

References

Beall, Jeffrey, 2012. Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, 489, (179) doi:10.1038/489179a

Beall, Jeffrey, 2014. Bogus Journal Accepts Profanity-Laced Anti-Spam Paper. Scholarly Open Access at WordPress.

Directory of Open Access Journals, search engine feature, accessed 07/12/2014.

Mazières, David & Kohler, Eddie, 2004. Get Me Off Your F***ing Mailing List. As yet still unpublished.

Prezi, Presentation creation and hosting.

Rice, Curt, 2013. Open access: four ways it could enhance academic freedom. The Guardian.

Suber, Peter, 2013. Open access: six myths to put to rest. The Guardian.

Trolls Just Want to Have Fun

It was an interesting fortnight on planet UOSM2033, with people making forays into the world of vlogging and including more imaginative media in their posts, something I tried to demonstrate with the Powtoon in my post. (On a side note here, many thanks to Calum and Jess for pointing out my fantastically stupid mistake of making the video private when it was meant to be unlisted… I’m a silly one.)

The discussion floated in a number of different directions as well, although I feel this did make some aspects a little less incisive than in previous weeks where there has been a little more overlap in terms of content people are discussing. I had three comments on my blog to help the discussion along, and responded to them in turn, and the reoccurring theme in them was one of police resources – I was very keen on going after these trolls and trying to bring them to justice, but where was the time going to come from to do that.

My reaction was twofold – Firstly, and ideologically, for me, if there are not enough police to deal with all the crime, we need more police and not just a redefinition of crime. Secondly, I think a lot of these trolls would stop after a simple warning letter… as soon as they realised that their actions might have real world consequences, they would be forced to take different routes to fulfilling their sadist needs.

One of the blogs I commented on this week was Calum’s, which took an intriguing look at the #GamerGate movement, something I had only heard negative things about from the media and various celebrities. I was interested to read about where the movement had actually started and what it was meant to be rallying against, and that story links back into my topic well by showing just how easy it is for an internet campaign like this to be totally undermined by a few trolls and abusers pushing everything too far.

(My other comment this week was made on Catherine’s blog.)

The Only Way Is Ethics.

Otherwise known as ‘The One Where Andy Thought of the Title Before the Content’.

On first inspection, I think it’s obvious that there is a massive link between this topic on ethics and how some of the strands of discussion developed during topic 2. In my reflection article I touched on the subject of Twitter trolling, a subject which this Guardian article featured in the starter post for this topic discusses in detail. Therefore, in the spirit of coherency, I thought it might be nice to continue with the theme. I decided to create a Powtoon to set up the issue I’ve chosen, and to add a little spice to this week’s output!

The link here to educational uses of social media is the Mary Beard example quoted in the above video. Unless we can find a way of dealing with the issue of trolling, the problem is going to get larger and larger until any user with a large number of followers will be subjected to this abuse. As shown, women with great intelligence can often threaten men who have little, so women aiming to educate from their Twitter accounts might be at the greatest risk of having their physical appearance picked apart and then horrible threats made to them.

Why do the trolls even do it? Well, an article from the Psychology journal ‘Personality and Individual Differences’ (fantastically called ‘Trolls just want to have fun’) suggests that trolling was linked to Machiavellianism, psychopathy and sadism, which does, as the title suggested, say that these trolls are doing it because they find causing offence and hurting people to be enjoyable activities. Unfortunately, that makes them harder to stop.

So, what are we going to do? It’s the kind of question that until you start thinking about it sounds hard, and when you’ve thought about it, sounds even harder. This Guardian article (I’ve been reading the Guardian too much, it seems) suggests a large number of ways of dealing with these trolls, but unfortunately every single one of them met with cons as well as pros. I think the lesson in that is that we need to tackle it from multiple angles – While the con for “report abusive tweets to police” is “police have to balance conflicting demands on their time: is a rape threat on Twitter more urgent than a real-life stalker or online fraud?”, I’d say that if we haven’t got enough police to deal with the issues, that’s more a recruitment error than a con. We do need these online police teams to stop those out to verbally abuse and attack the great and the good, and these trolls need to be brought to justice.

References:

Arthur, Charles, & Kiss, Jemima, 2013. Twitter abuse: what can be done to stop trolling?. The Guardian.

Buckels, Erin E., Trapnell, Paul D., & Paulhus, Delroy L., 2014. Trolls just want to have fun. Personality and Individual Differences, 67. 

Harris, Lisa, 2014. UOSM2033 Topic 4 Starting Post.

Urban Dictionary: Trolling

Editorial, 2014. Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger. The Guardian.

Mead, Rebecca, 2014. The Troll Slayer. A piece on Mary Beard in ‘The New Yorker’. (Used for Powtoon)

Andy Sugden, Powtoon & Youtube, 2014.

The Holloways, 2009. Under a Cloud from No Smoke, No Mirrors. (The only song I could find in my collection with lyrics related to the internet!)

A Reflection on Professional Online Profiles

I’m going to start this topic’s reflection with a confession. I don’t actually dislike Linkedin, per se. I think my comments on it recently have mainly reflected the fact that, in general, I am ambivalent towards it, as opposed to the standard line that it’s a fantastic way to make yourself look better for everyone ever. (In a fun turn of events, this blog is now the 5th highest google entry for ‘Andy Sugden Linkedin’!) I do see its uses, and in some sectors pretty much everyone is on Linkedin, as I mentioned in my comment on Aumar’s blog, but it is nowhere near as widely used as is sometimes suggested by people outside these sectors.

I’ve also found some more evidence for my theory of the online profile being more useful for defence than offence, as an interesting graphic (albeit using a slightly old survey) from Sophie’s blog (which I also commented on) showed, when the source was looked at in full, only 18% of those surveyed had been influenced toward hiring a candidate from social profiles, as opposed to 35% who were caused not to hire someone by what they found there.

A number of other people have made some great points on how we can improve these profiles though, and whilst I feel I may always shirk when I hear the words ‘personal brand’, Pippa’s blog certainly was a great advocate of Linkedin in an interesting way that did actually show how it can be used to good effect.

So I bit the bullet. I logged back into Linkedin. I could be accused of being closed-minded if I didn’t, and I wouldn’t want that to be the case. I’ve updated my profile with a number of more relevant bits of information/skill set etc. (though there were some bits I struggled with… there are some of us who don’t really have a dream job or life goals) and even included a lovely link to this blog within the projects section.

As if I wasn’t meta enough already.

An Authentic, Professional Online Profile.

I am Andy Sugden. Andrew, to be precise, but Andy is the name I’ve chosen to be referred to as. The one issue with this and creating a successful online profile is that I’m unlikely to ever reach the top page of a google for ‘Andy Sugden’, those spots generally being taken by sites relating to the Emmerdale character of the same name. My Twitter account, @AndySugden, has just crept into the second page of results though, so there’s a start.

Andy Sugden vs. Andy Sugden. If we ever had to fight, I wouldn't fancy my chances.

Andy Sugden vs. Andy Sugden. If we ever had to fight, I wouldn’t fancy my chances.

Creating an authentic and professional online presence though has more about it than being top of search results. For a start, it’s incredibly important when job hunting to not have anything on your profiles that may land you in the ‘reject’ pile. As the Wall Street journal reported over two years ago, a survey of 2000 employers found that 44% would immediately reject a candidate who had badmouthed a former employer or colleague on a social media site. A recent study (Scott, Sinclair, Short & Bruce, 2014) showed that in general, we see a person who has made spelling mistakes on Facebook as less employable, so even if you do not earn an immediate rejection for bad behaviour, it may well tarnish your chances of being the outstanding candidate.

Authentic is an interesting word in this situation as well. At the end of the day, companies are looking to recruit people with ideas who can get along together, rather than a team of robots spouting the same platitudes day after day. Twitter is a fantastic resource for employers, and for job hunters if we understand how to use it as well. If we are authentic online, can post articles we are interested in and showcase opinions that aren’t divisive or extreme, we can show that we aren’t those robots and that we can be a very useful cog in the team we wish to join.

Realistically, building an authentic professional profile online is all about being the best bits of us, showcasing our skills and talents to some extent, while making sure we don’t show anything that could lead to us being dumped straight on the ‘reject’ pile.

References

Google (and ‘LMGTFY’, sorry to anyone who clicked that!).

Kwoh, Leslie, 2012. Beware: Potential Employers Are Watching You, The Wall Street Journal.

Scott, G. G., Sinclair, J., Short, E., and Bruce, G, 2014. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 17(8) doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0584.

P.S. I hope no-one ever Googles me and presumes I burnt down a barn and killed my adopted mother.