Topic 2: Online Identities

We are becoming increasingly willing to divulge large amounts of information about ourselves over the Internet…why? If you received a phone call from a stranger would you tell them where you lived or your date of birth? Probably not. However, over the Internet we seem to be willing to share exactly that kind of information.

online identity

The development of technology and social media is changing the way we socialise and express ourselves (Chatti et al., 2007). The Internet has become a part of our everyday lives. It’s where we socialise, learn, work, have fun and shop. However, during each of these activities, we are encouraged to divulge our personal data. As people hand over vast quantities of personal data, it makes it easier to determine and target customers, which as a marketer is a dream come true. However, this also opens us up to increased risk of security breaches.  People should not be worried about turning off their cookies they should be worried about where and what data they are giving away.  If you’d rather not have personalised adds that’s fine but don’t think it’s helping to keep you protected.

With every online identity that you create, you give away slightly more information: your name, address, data of birth, pets’ names, partner’s identity.  If you use personalised passwords, this information leaves you susceptible to being hacked and, worse still, if you use the same password for multiple accounts they may all be taken over in minutes. In 2012, Diane O’Meara was shocked to see her face in the papers with the title “the hoax girlfriend” after a scammer used her Facebook photos to create a false identity. Have you checked your privacy settings recently? Even with restrictive settings, it can still be easy to access photos of you through your wider circle of friends. This you have little control over.

11514588-how-can-prevent-online-identity-theft

Despite the risks of identity theft and the media hype about government intrusion, 955 million people worldwide actively use Facebook (KeyNote 2013). LinkedIn claims over 277 million members (LinkedIn 2014) and Twitter 500 million (Telegraph 2013). In a professional context, it has become vital to have an Internet presence. In the business world, the importance of becoming a personal brand is becoming recognised and advice about how to project a desired brand identity through different social media is popping up all over the web (e.g., Safko and Brake, 2009).  These platforms on which we can create and promote our identity, can be advantageous in increasing employability and gaining wider audience. We can fine tune our professional profiles (LinkedIn), share our ideas through blogs, micro-posts (Twitter), and online discussions, all as a means of promoting our personal brand. To add to this, we are able to use search engine optimisation techniques to encourage further traffic to our professional profiles.

I am a keen blogger, and, as an undergraduate looking to advance in my professional career, online visibility is essential.  If I Google myself, the first two pages are full of my online activity and photos. A prospective employer could easily find me, review my CV and ascertain whether my personality type is suited to their organisation.

google search

Sites you can find me on:

I use all of these sites as a way to promote my personal brand. That said, I do not include my address or telephone number on any of these sites, nor do I use the same password on multiple sites or publicise being on holiday in case my address was known. I know what content is suitable for my closed Facebook account and what content is suitable for my public twitter. All these aspects are important when creating multiple online identities, especially if your aim is to create an effective personal brand.

Despite the need for self publicity, anonymity still has its place on the Internet. As Jarvis (2013) points out, it protects the speech of Chinese dissidents, Iranian protestors, and corporate whistleblowers. It allows WikiLeaks to expose secrets. It helps people share, for example, medical data and benefit others without having to reveal their identities. It lets people play with new identities on World of Warcraft or Second Life, without revealing their hobbies to others.  But anonymity does not just let the vulnerable hide, it can also be a means by which to attack them. When hidden behind a mask people feel they cannot be identified and therefore held accountable. This has resulted in many incidents of cyber bulling spanning from the circulation of rumours to malicious and prejudicial content.

In order to make the web a safer place, it must be made more difficult to create false accounts on mainstream social media platforms. The rise of identity-centric social networks like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, make it increasingly more difficult to live an anonymous life on the Internet. These platforms are inherently social and rely on users to establish a network of friends and acquaintances. These sites effectively create an online version of your real life that relies on your true identity in order to function. As more sites become an extension of our lives the web will become safer, but in an online world that never forgets our actions, we are governed by the fact we can never revoke the content we post. In order to be safe and positively present our self brand, there needs to be increased training and awareness on how to positively create and use online identities.

 

  References: 

Chatti, M. A., Agustiawan, M. R., Jarke, M., & Specht, M. (2010). Toward a Personal Learning Environment Framework. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 1(4), 66–85.

Safko, Lon and David K. Brake (2009), The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Schwabel, Dan (2009), Me 2.0: A Powerful Way to Achieve Brand Success. New York: Kaplan Publishers.

Key Note (2014). Market Report- Social Media. (R. Hucker, Ed.) (6th ed.).

Jarvis, Jeff (2013), Public Parts -http://buzzmachine.com/publicparts/

LinkedIn (2013, Press Release, http://press.linkedin.com/about

Telegraph (2013), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/9945505/Twitter-in-numbers.html

 

 

 

 

 

Summarising Topic 1

Despite having seen my fellow classmates interpretations of ‘Visitors and Residents’, my opinion has remained the same. I maintain that White’s (2011) ‘Residents and Visitors’ Model is far too simplistic. I still believe that Horrigan’s (2007) typology is a far more effective way to categorise users. Since writing my blog however, I have come across Madden’s (2013) study on the technology use of different income groups. Her study found that people earning over 50k a year use the Internet more and are more likely to be residents than those who earn less. These people use their mobiles to access emails and perform every day tasks such as banking and grocery shopping. I found this to be interesting and it got me thinking that a more complex model, which takes demographic, geographic and Internet usage information into account, should be a line of future study.

Much of the research that I have read fixates on one or two variables instead of many.  In fact, the research on this topic is very limited. I was surprised at the level of acceptance of both White’s (2011) and Prensky’s models, especially given that marketing is become increasingly digitalised. This has created a greater need for the targeting of online user groups.

Having reviewed others’ blogs, I believe that I could better present my posts in the future. I found that of the blogs I read, the most enticing to read were those with a clear and well-structured layout. Also, the use of infographics would be a nice touch to break up the text.

Chocolate Fondant Meringues

After making lemon meringues on Saturday, I was inspired; I wanted to make a treat which was bite-sized and would go well with a nice cup of tea. As I bought too many eggs, I was swayed to make another, yet very different meringue recipe. This is what I came up with.

chocolatefondantmeringues

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams dark chocolate

Method: 

  1. First, set up a bain-marie, as we are making a swiss style meringue.  Then, preheat oven to 130c.
  2. In a metal bowl, combine egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over your pot of simmering water, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat when the mix is too hot to touch.
  3. Take off the heat and whisk the mix until firm and it has doubled in volume. You will get the best results with an electric whisk.Meringue Mix
  4. Melt the chocolate (best with bain-marie) and fold into the meringue, leave it a bit uneven for a more marbled effect. Use two teaspoons to place small balls of the mix on a tray with baking paper. Bake for 35min.

little meringues

Your finished product should be crisp on the outside with a gooey liquid centre. Stuff entire meringue in your mouth and enjoy.

Chewy Lemon Meringues

Lemon meringues

Ingredients:

  • 4 Egg whites
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • Tea spoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 Lemon zest
  • 3 table spoons of lemon curd (for recipe see my Lemon cupcakes)

Method:

  1. Turn oven to 130 degrees fan (150 regular).
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff with an electric mixer, if you have one it’s best to use a ballon whisk. Then, while the mixer is still going, gradually incorporate the sugar. Beat until glossy, thick and will form stiff peaks. Next, mix in the vanilla extract, and half the lemon zest. Fold in the lemon curd so you create swirls in the mixture.
  3. Put spoonfuls on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, and sprinkle with a little zest, bake in an oven for 55 minutes.fluffy lemon meringues
  4. When their time’s up, switch the oven off and allow the meringues to cool down in there.
  5. I like to dust mine with a little Icing sugar and a bit more lemon zest. They taste fanatic with ice-cream or as an eton mess.

#UOSM2008 Topic 1: Digital Visitors & Residents

Explaining the concept of digital “Visitors” and “Residents” 

Digital literacy is becoming ever more important as our dependence on technology grows. The computer infrastructure is in place but it is necessary to be able to teach people how to harness it.

Prensky (2001) put forward the model of ‘Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants’.  The idea behind this model is that the youth of today (the K-12 generation) are ‘native speakers’ of the digital language having grown up with technologies. His so-called ‘Digital Immigrants’ are those who were not born into the digital world but have stumbled across it at some point in their lives. The model, in short, states that today’s youth think and process information fundamentally differently from their older and out-of-date predecessors. Given this, they are assumed to be proficient. Due to this, teachers (instructors, lecturers etc.) will struggle to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language of technology. I personally dislike this model as I feel it is overly simple and discriminatory stereotype, which last year even Prensky admitted is growing less relevant as more people (of all ages) gain access to the internet.

Thankfully, White, Lanclos & Connaway (2011) devised a more appropriate model, ‘Visitors and Residents’.  They, like myself, disagreed with Prensky’s distinction and, after studying their own students, found that the use of online services did not seem to follow a simple pattern based on skill level.  Instead, it seemed to depend on whether users saw the web as a ‘place to reside’ or as a tool to achieve an objective. This underlying motivation led them to outline two main categories, ‘Visitors and Residents’. Their model removes some of the stigma surrounding age, as they use a number of additional variables.

Visitors use the Internet as a tool as they are goal orientated; they use the tool and leave. Unlike ‘Residents’, they do not have a continued online presence, instead they login when the need arises. I, on the other hand, would be categorised as ‘Resident’, living partially on the Internet, using it in all aspects of my life, professionally, for study and for recreation. As a ‘Resident’, I am able to view any online activity as it happens through mobile apps such as Facebook or Instagram. I can check emails, Tweet, and update my blog all on the go. Through the Internet I can project a persona via social networking and blog posts. ‘Residents’, are competent in making the most of online services such as online banking and shopping.

These two distinctions, put forward by White, Lanclos & Connaway (2011), represent two ends of a spectrum. However, there will be those who fall inbetween. For the purpose of teaching and for tailoring content to suit target demographics, these two distinctions are not enough.  Horrigan (2007) identified a typology of Internet users by grouping users with similar online behavior into homogeneous groups. His approach has received considerable attention, especially from Internet research (independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, OFCOM (2008), and the Pew Internet Institute). It categorises users into ten distinct user types as seen below.

A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users

As we see the range of users widening it is going to be increasingly difficult to put labels on users. White, Lanclos & Connaway (2011) do well at providing a useful formulation to divide Internet users. However, it does not categorise users specifically enough to be effective. Horrigan’s (2007) typology is a far more effective way to categorise users, though, as we see the range of users widening, such topologies are going to have to be constantly adapted and re-thought.

                                                                                                                                                

References:

Horrigan, J. B. (2007). A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users Findings. Pew/Internet & American Life.

White, D., Lanclos, D., & Connaway, L. S. (2011). Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment? Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology48 (1), 1–7.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon. MCB University Press(5), 3.

OFCOM(2008). Social Networking. A quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes, behaviours and use. Office of Communication, London.

Office Chic

work

I have recently been invited to a number of interviews and the first thing that crossed my mind was what to wear; there really are some awful two-pieces out there.  But workwear doesn’t have to be dull, you can tweak some of the trendiest pieces to make them office appropriate.

1. This Ted Baker suit is very striking. It’s well tailored with a curved lapel that accentuates the bust and brings in the waist. It would look perfect with a white silk blouse. If you want to make an impact, and not to be forgotten, wear it with these bright red accessories.

  • Ted Baker, Lael Shiny Wool Suit

  • St. Laurent, Red Leather Tote

  • Vince Camuto, Kain, Court Shoes 

2. A more understated and practical approach to work wear. This classic, high-waisted skirt,  gives the structure of a tailored skirt with none of the discomfort; perfect for the commuter. Paired with a classic feminine blouse and loafers the outfit has a parisian edge. To keep off the winter chill, top it off with a nice trench.

  • French Connection, Pussy Bow Blouse
  • Baukjen, High Waisted Pencil Skirt
  • L.K Bennet, Loafers 
  • Ted Baker, Tote Bag
  • Olivia Burton, Watch 
  • Mango, Trench Coat

Mango

3. The power play. For the  business women looking to assert her dominance, I’ve chosen this stylish colour-block Reed Krakoff dress. I’d recommend styling its flattering silhouette with a structured blazer to show you mean business.

  • Reed Krakoff, Colour Block Jersey Dress
  • Jimmy Choo, Cosmic Suede Court Pumps
  • Givenchy, Nightingale, Leather Mushroom Bag
  • Gucci, Yellow Gold Bracelet Watch 
  • Helmut Lang, Structured Blazer

Helmut Lang, Blazer

What’s in my makeup bag

makeupbag

1. Blue Labelle, balancing & toning facial oil- This is my new favourite product!!  Since the switch from cream my skin is noticeably more luminous and smooth. It works fantastically under make up and smells great. I start every morning off with this little beauty.

2. Benefit, the POREfessional- I was instantly impressed with this product, having always been a Smashbox fan I surprised myself when making the move. It feels so soft on your skin and is key on nights out when you don’t want your makeup sliding off.

3. Clinique, even better foundation- This foundation is great, its really creamy and leaves your skin looking flawless. I personally only use it for contouring, but if you have bad skin this is a great cover up.

4. Bobbi Brown, long- wear even finish foundation- I don’t often wear foundation but when I do I like to wear something light. This foundation never looks cakey in fact it keeps your skin feeling quite moisturised. It keeps it coverage well even on a night out.

5. Bobbi Brown, corrector concealer-This concealer is perfect for hiding tired eyes. It comes in pink or peach base to neutralise dark circles and it creaminess allows it to blend in like a dream. It is opaque therefore a little goes a long way.

6. Bobbi Brown, creamy concealer kit-  I follow up the corrector concealer with this little gem. I put a dab of the creamy concealer on my lids and under my eyes and set with the powder. This brightens up the darkest of shadows without sinking into lines.

7. Smashbox, brow tech- I was attracted to this mainly because of the wax, and so far this is what has really made all the difference to my eyebrows. The wax solves the problem of any seemingly untameable hairs, fixing them all in the right direction. With my angled brush, I use the taupe to fill in the gaps, and the dark brown to define the outer lines underneath and on top, elongating my brow slightly at the outer corner. Just fab.

8. Mac, highlighter- This is great for brightening up the inner corner of your eyes, highlighting cheek bones and I put a touch on my cupids bow.

9. NARS, bronzer- This bronzer is the perfect balance between matte and shimmer. Comes in some great colours and is good for contouring.

10. Laura Mericer, eye shadow- Love this little set, the eye shadow goes on really smoothly and dosen’t scatter. The colours complement each other well and look great on blue and brown eyes.

11. Lancome, juicy tube- The only lip gloss!!

13. Benefit, they’re real mascara- This mascara is a smudgey bugger. After just a few hours of wear, even if only worn on the top lashes, you will get some under your eyes. But I love it!! The mascara gives a full over the top effect which is the look I like, so its worth having to do a few under the eye finger sweeps.

14. Mac, brushes

A few outfits for this Autumn

Autumn 2013

1. In the winter, most of your wardrobe will be covered by your coat, so why not make it a statement?  Oversized outwear is in, and I love it. So, embrace the cocoon and 80s boyfriend-coats and stay warm this season.

I’ve paired this oversized coat with leather skinnies, a statement T and my favourite boots this season (As worn by Lucy Liu in Elementary).

  • Dust Bowl Coat, Rag & Bone
  • Decadence T, AllSaints
  • Leather Skinnies,  Saint Laurent
  • Harrow Boots, Rage and Bone

2. Punk is in but, to wear it without looking like an 80′s street crawler, wear it classy.

  • Blazer, Mango
  • Black Cami, French Connection
  • Patent Skirt, Asos
  • Ash Titan Biker Boots, ASOS
  • Neckless, Pull & Bear

3. This autumn, work-wear has gone casual. Team big jumpers with above-the-knee skirts and an oversized tote.

  • Floppy Shaker Hat, River Island
  • Liberty Leather Tote, Victoria Beckham
  • Ribbed-knit and angora-blend top,Giambattista valli

  • Reptile Jacquard Jersey Mini Skirt, Kenzo
  • Anouk patent-leather pumps, Jimmy Choo

 

Pigs in Mud Cake

fondantpigs

So, it was my little sister’s 18th, and having seen a few of these cakes doing the rounds on the internet I saw it as the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. I had no prior fondant experience and found the decorating a piece of cake.  So don’t let the appearance fool you into thinking you need any skills to create your own version.

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 400 grams self raising flour
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 80 grams best-quality cocoa powder
  • 350 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300 ml sour cream

Butter Cream

  • 110 grams soft butter
  • 160 grams icing/powder sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 160 grams milk chocolate

Ganache

  • Good quality dark chocolate (I used green and blacks)
  • Double Cream

Decorating:

  • A load of kitkats 
  • Pink Fondant
  • Ribbon (for holding on the kitkats)

Method:

  1. Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 180°C and line and butter two 20cm / 8 inch sandwich tins with removable bases.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs and the rest of the ingredients – baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, vanilla and sour cream – until you have a smooth, thick batter.
  4. Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25. Also, it might make sense to switch the two cakes around in the oven halfway through cooking time or cook them separately.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and, in their tins, let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out. Don’t worry about any cracks as they will easily be covered by the icing.
  6. Now for the butter cream:
    • Place the butter and icing sugar into a large bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
    • Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces, over a bain-marie (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Once melted, stir with a wooden spoon and place to one side.
    • Add the milk to the butter and sugar mixture, and mix thoroughly.
    • Add the melted chocolate and beat furiously until light, smooth and shiny.
  7. Once your cake has cooled, level it off using a bread knife so that the two layers sit comfortably together. Next, secure the bottom layer to the board or plate you will be using to display the cake using a spoonful of the butter cream; smother a generous amount onto the top and put on the second layer. Hold a little back to smother the sides of the cake. This will help the KitKats stay in place.
  8. Now for the ganache: 
    • In a bain-marie, melt the chocolate. At the same time heat your cream in a pan over the hob. Once the chocolate has melted, take the cream off the heat and pour in the chocolate. Mix thoroughly until thick and combined.
    • Leave to cool.
  9. Next, mix the ganache and pour over the cake allow a little to go over the sides as it will help the KitKats stick. I used a spoon to make swirls in the mud. Now you can get out your KitKats and stick them around the cake, making sure not to leave any gaps.
  10. Pigs in Mud Cake
  11. Once this is done, secure the KitKats with a ribbon.

For the Little Pigs

Try and make these in a cool room, and don’t play with the fondant to much or it will start to dry out. I started by making the little pigs bums. I did this by making little balls, adding a little indentation to represent their bottom cheeks and putting a little hole to later support a little tail.
Fondant Pigs
You can then make little bellies with a hole for a belly button.  Faces consist of a large of fondant with a smaller ball for a snout and little teardrops for ears. Make sure you also make little holes in the head to put the ears into otherwise they can slide off.  For the trotters I also used a tear drop shape and put indentation on one end.
I also made two pigs that sat up against the edge of the cake. These I made by putting together a big ball and a little ball like you would a snow man. I then stuck on the snout and ears, made an impression for the eyes and belly button and made some little sausages for arms.
Fondant Pigs
Last, place your pigs into the mud.
pigs in mud

Balenciaga, From Catwalk to High Street

balenciaga-frill-detail

I absolutely loved these Balenciaga ruffle dresses and skirts. These pieces are so elegant and figure flattering.  To my delight Miss Selfridge has created their own version at a fraction of the cost. Just £59.

The Miss Selfridge dress has the same simple black bodice, huge frilled peplum and oversized ruffle trimmed skirt. Although you sacrifice in the detailing, you’ll save possibly in hundreds or thousands. But if your handy with a sewing machine or superglue, you can add some of the detailing they missed yourself.

Miss Selfridge Ruffle Dress

http://www.missselfridge.com/en/msuk/product/dress-shop-299048/view-all-299126/ultimate-ruffle-dress-1865737?refinements=Colour%7b1%7d~%5bblack%5d&bi=41&ps=40