#UOSM2008 Topic 6: Module Reflection

Digital literacy is becoming ever more important as our dependence on technology grows. The internet has become a strong presence in our everyday lives and we use it for a myriad of purposes: socialising, working, learning and even ordering our weekly shops or booking our dinner reservations. However, many of us are unsure of how to use the Internet to its full potential. Wanting to pursue a career in digital marketing, I needed to understand and learn how to harness this potential, which this module was perfect for. It allowed me to explore the digital realm and provided me with a breadth of knowledge and skills that are in great demand from employers.

Module Reflection

When I embarked on the course, I was keen to develop my professional profile, as I needed to find an internship for my year in industry – a compulsory component of my degree. A person’s online presence can be a major factor in deciding whether they get a job, and in the competitive world of entry-level employment this could be a make or break factor. Thus, I knew it was vital to find ways to stand out from the crowd.  I set out by building an about.me page and created a vizify to display my online activity. I was also keen to update my online profiles. Below you can see how I have developed my twitter.


Throughout the module I learnt a lot and was able to build a strong personal brand online, which lead to me landing a fantastic internship at IBM. One comment that I received during the congratulatory phone call was that they particularly liked my blog. They found it valuable to see my writing style and my digitally competency. As Schools & Universities Attraction Coordinator, it will be my job to manage a number of social media pages, the graduate recruitment webpage and blogs. Across all these tasks I will be able to apply the knowledge learnt throughout this course.

One of the many things that I became aware of during the module is clout. Clout is sometimes referred to as a ‘social currency’, which is really a value associated with your online brand. When I first started the module my clout score according to http://klout.com/ was only 20. To put this in perspective, Obama, one of the most influential nodes on Twitter, has a clout of 99. Now, at the end of the module, my clout has grown 42 due to my proactive personal branding tactics. Below, I have included a graph showing how my clout has developed.


I enjoyed the peer review aspect of the course. It encouraged conversation and information sharing, which allowed for a continuous learning experience. It was beneficial to be able to see other’s work and opinions. It was often the case that we had taken very different directions with the topic, so reading other work provided a wealth of information I had not included in my own.  It also encouraged me to become more active on Twitter, which was great for networking. I have connected and chatted with a number of marketing and social media companies, which I’m sure will be invaluable in the future.

I have really enjoyed writing my blog, and given the success it has brought me I will definitely continue to do so. My aim is to build-up a collection of works on digital marketing to manage and promote my professional profile further. All-in-all,  the course provided me with a great deal of experience; it was valuable to have the time to think about my career path and ways of increasing my employability.



Topic 5: Summary

Open access to online materials for all- utopian dream or unstoppable force?

The topic of open access to information has sparked much interest with my peers and I, and there was much debate about what content should be freely available online and what shouldn’t.


In this digital age, consumers have plenty of free resources to choose from but I don’t believe publishers should be pressured into providing content at no cost. We need to realise that if we want quality content, whether on the Internet, in our cinemas or on our TVs, we have to support the people who produce the content we enjoy. Some business models suit open access, some support limited and others should be pay-walled. Fundamentally we discovered that whether or not content should be open access depends on its nature and its provider.

We all agreed, however, that open access to education should be freely available. The chancellor of Cambridge University described the current academic publishing process as a broken system and, after researching this topic, I must say I agree.  If our taxes are funding research, we should have the right to access it freely. A report published by the UK Wellcome Trust (2004) argued that “the benefits of research are derived principally from access to research results”, and therefore that “society as a whole is made worse off if access to scientific research is restricted”.  Open access will encourage data sharing and collaboration, which could save both time and money.

I do not know what the answer is, but ultimately I think that a Reddit style system that is peer reviewed would work. The rating system could take into account the credibility of the reviewer, based on their academic profile (highly rated academics would have more influence).

None of this, however, can reach its maximum potential until the Internet becomes accessible at affordable prices worldwide.  Open access to education and information could most benefit those in underdeveloped countries. Farmers in rural china could learn how to get a better yield from their crops, school children in Nigeria could gain access to a first class education and medical diagnosis.  Thus, it is vital that governments focus on making this a reality and not just an ideal.

  1. Costs and business models in scientific research publishing, Wellcome Trust (2004)http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/images/costs_business_7955.pdf
  2. Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University speaks out on Elsevier and Open Access, Sal Robinson (2014) http://www.mhpbooks.com/vice-chancellor-of-cambridge-university-speaks-out-on-elsevier-and-open-access/

Topic 5: #UOSM2008 Open access to online materials for all – utopian dream or unstoppable force?

Explain the advantages and disadvantages to a content producer of making their materials freely available online: 

Open access to information is a tricky subject to tackle; primarily as the advantages and disadvantages of making content free differ significantly  between industries. The music and film industry have lost vast amounts of money due to illegal downloading, and are fighting hard to stop sites that freely distribute their content.


The Financial Times  is a pay-to-view news service that prides itself on producing content that is objective and unbiased. This quality reporting could not survive if it relied on advertising and gave content away for free. I feel that as a society we need realise that if we want quality content, whether on the Internet, in our cinemas or on our TVs, we have to support the people who produce the content we enjoy. We are willing to pay for the medium: our internet broadband, TV licence or TV streaming, so why are we so against paying for subscription only content. According to a new study by the GFK Group, Internet users do not want to pay for online content, ever, no matter the content. We need to stop taking free content online for granted. A recent study by Simon-Kutcher & Partners, a global pricing community, found that 90% of online content is likely to be held behind a pay wall in the next three years. Get ready to see your access reduced.

Alternatively, with the subject of open access to educational material I have to take a very different stance. Over the last few years, a number of open educational resources have been developed with the aim of giving the opportunity of education to the masses: Udacity, Coursera, MIT’s Opencourseware etc. This has great potential to help young people across the globe and especially in undeveloped countries. Although Internet access is not widely available, (only 3 in 5 people worldwide have access) there are a number of on going projects to make this happen. According to Claudio Pinhanez, access to educational material can help underdeveloped countries to evolve economically. The advantages of free access to education worldwide are endless.

I, while studying at university, have found these websites invaluable. As a mature student, coming back to the classroom was quite an overwhelming experience, particularly when I found myself faced with A-level statistics. Unfortunately, in my early teens I had not grasped the value of a good education, and my frivolity resulted in a less than poor attendance in maths classes. I soon realised I had no grasp of the basic principles of mathematics, which made understanding the more advanced almost impossible.  With a Udacity course (College Algebra) I was able, within a couple of days of dedicated viewing, to understand the material fully. In school, I had always been intimidated by maths,  up until recently I would have proclaimed I was awful, but as it turns out I’m not too bad.  The one-on-one experience of an online course allows learners to go at their own pace in a comfortable environment. With the help of the course I was able to quickly catch up to the level of understanding necessary to excel in my exams.

Furthermore, with the costs of tuition fees rising, students are expecting more from their university experience. Open access university resources can add significant value to the educational process, allowing students to get more from lessons and lectures and also allow them to learn topics which are of interest to them.

Open Access

Within the academic community, the real topic of conversation regarding open access to information regards research papers.  Here, the content creators are funded by the taxpayers and so surely their research should be free for us to read, it’s not. If I were to produce a research paper and submit it to a journal, the journal editors would send it to other academics to be reviewed without remuneration. The editor will, based on the review, either publish or reject the paper. If I agree for it to be published it will cost the taxpayer further money in the form of a publishing fee. More than that, any tax payer that wishes to read my paper will have to pay to do so. Surely with the advent of the Internet there is a better way for this to be done. According to Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eise prices have outgrown inflation. This is a huge hindrance to scientific progress and the spread of knowledge. Students’ and academics’ research depend on access to literature.

The only disadvantage of the open access of research papers is that certain Journals are regarded more highly than others. This way of judging the quality of research could be easily amended through, a Reddit style rating system for academic research perhaps.

For further reading on the issue of open access to research this is a great paper, ironically it is closed access. Open Access: An Evolving Alternative-by Lorraine J. Haricombe, L. Ada Emmett, and Perry Alexander


  1. Lepitak, S. (2013). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. Available:://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggest
  2. Yoskowitz, A. (2009).People don’t want to pay for content online, ever. Available://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2009/12/15/people_don_t_want_to_pay_for_anything_online_ever
  3. Pihanez, C. (2013) http://research.ibm.com/people/p/pinhanez/publications/netbrasil.htm
  4. Shockey, N. & Eise, J. (2012). Open Access explained. Available:https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L5rVH1KGBCY
  5. Haricombe, L.J, Emmett, L.A, and Alexander, P. (2012) Open Access: An Evolving Alternative. Availablehttp://incoming-proxy.ist.edu.gr/stfs_public/cs/msc/7FEN0101-PI/Assignment/refdocs/Open%20Access%20-%20An%20Evolving%20Alternative.pdf

Eggcellent Easter Fridge Cake

A great and easy way to keep the kids entertained for an hour this Easter.  Guaranteed to disappear as quickly as they were made.

Easter Fridge Cake


Swiss Meringue:

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tbsp of caster sugar

Fridge Cake:

  • 360g of milk chocolate (I used cadburys)
  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 40g of butter
  • 4 digestive biscuits
  • Pack of mini cream eggs
  • Mini eggs
  • Handful of maltesers


  1. Line a small baking tin with butter and baking parchment. I think mine’s 24 by 15cm.
  2. First, make the swiss meringue. In a bowl of a pan of simmering water add the egg white, caster sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk constantly until stiff white glossy peaks form. Once done, pop to one side.
  3. Now, melt your chocolate (broken into squares), butter and gold syrup in a bowl over your simmering water. Remove from the heat when the chocolate is smooth and glossy. If it gets clumpy, don’t fear, add a touch more butter and remove from heat.
  4. Crush you biscuits into the mixture and add the maltesers. In your baking tin arrange your mini cream eggs and scatter about your swiss meringue mix. Easter fridge cake
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth with a spatula. Poke in as many mini eggs as you see fit and place into the fridge to cool.
  6. After about an hour or two the mix should be set. Cut into fingers or squares and keep refrigerated if you, unlike myself, have will-power. Goey Easter Rocky Road

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I love lemon drizzle cake it’s so effortlessly simple, and tastes fantastic. You start with a basic sponge recipe and then drizzle it in a deliciously tangy lemon syrup.

Lemon Drizzle Cake



  • 3 large eggs
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • Zest of 2 lemons


  • Juice of 2 lemons (the ones you zested)
  • 150g icing sugar


  1. Grease a bread tin (about 24 x 10.4) & pre-heat your oven to 180C. I like to place of strips of baking parchment horizontally across the bread tin, these will act as handles for removing the cake once cooked.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs followed by the rest of the cake ingredients. You should be left with a nice smooth cake batter.
  3.  Pour the cake batter into your pan & bake for about 40 minutes.Lemon Drizzle Cake
  4. While you’re waiting, mix together your icing sugar & lemon juice until totally smooth and pop it to one side.
  5. After 40minutes check the cake by inserting a skewer (anything pointy and clean) into the middle, if it comes out clean it’s done. If not, give it a few minuets more.
  6. When it’s ready use your skewer to poke holes all over the cake, all the way down to the bottom. Wait a few minutes till cooled slightly and pour over your lemon glaze.Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe
  7. I made a little bit of plain icing to drizzle over the cake for effect. I did this using 100g icing sugar with a dribble of water.

Topic 4: Summary

This week, #UOSM2008 looked at the ethical issues raised by educational and business uses of social media. Social media was recognised as a great tool but it was clear that if used irresponsibly it would have significant backlash, leading to loss of credibility or, in some cases, legal action. Advertising and marketing practices and the use of social media for recruitment purposes were, by far, the most popular topics investigated by my peers.

Many were shocked at how many online reviews were falsified and felt strongly that measures should be taken to prevent this. With regards to the use of social media for recruitment purposes, people’s views were mixed.  The majority were happy to have their LinkedIn screened, as this is its intended purpose. However, the screening of personal sites like Facebook was seen as a step too far.

After writing my blog post, I came across this great infographic on The Undercover Recruiter. The infographic shows a study by Reppler, which outlines how employers today are screening applicants.


Having researched the ethical issues surrounding business and educational use of social media , I have come up with a few pointers to help avoid problems:

  • Whether you are a business using social media for marketing or a lecturer encouraging students to voice their opinions, make sure there are clear guidelines on what content is and is not acceptable. For instance, you could provide employee or students with a clear written policy about the use of social media.
  • Tread cautiously with testimonials, endorsements, and ratings because you will probably be ousted if you use false or misleading information e.g. refrain from using false identities to combat negative reviews by the public or employees.
  • Do not disclose privileged or confidential information.
  • If using social media for group communication, make sure you create a closed page.

Topic 4: Ethical issues raised by educational and business uses of social media

Kietzmann (2011) describes social media as the use of mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.

Social Media is a relatively new medium; Facebook and Myspace being less than ten years old. Individuals and businesses have been quick to embrace all that Social Media has to offer but, in their haste, many have been slow to process the potential ethical issues that come with this new technology.

ethics in social media

Social media differs from traditional media, as the content is user generated. This content, when published, is instantly available to a global audience, which can be a blessing or a curse. Businesses & individuals can instantly reach a huge target audience, which is a marketers dream. However, social media is often interactive in a way that traditional media is not. Thus, users can comment on and edit published material, making it difficult, if not impossible, to control content. Over social media, it seems people can say anything about an individual or business with few repercussions.

According to a survey by the Institute of Ethics (2011), one of the main ethical challenges that companies highlighted, with regards to social media, was integrity risk. When business use social media, employees act on behalf of the company to publish content. Employees can then, through personal social media accounts, comment on this content. If any employees post irresponsible content it can undermine the company’s commitment to ethical practice and expose it to integrity risk, potentially damaging the companies reputation.  A great example of this was in 2010 when an employee managing Nestle Facebook page went on the offensive. See the link below:


Social media is an effective medium through which brands can market themselves and engage with customers directly. This poses new ethical challenges. It has become common practice for companies to create profiles on social networking sites to advertise their goods and services but it is here that they need to be careful not to mislead customers. Dave Kerpen (2011) recalls an incident where he received a message from a New York state senator. The senator struck up a conversation encouraging Dave to contribute to his campaign. Dave, a social media guru, somewhat suspiciously replied “Wow, it’s great you’re using social media for your own campaign. ” To which he received the reply, “Thanks allot. We have an event next week too. It would be great if you could support me.” As it turns out, after some probing, it was a volunteer impersonating the senator on his behalf.  This was misleading and potential damaging, coaxing people into giving money under false pretences. To avoid misleading consumers, employees and individuals should declare that they are being represented.

Reviews and comments on social media sites have come under question recently, with a number of companies being found to purposefully mislead customers. A review by Mashable discusses research by Gartner that suggests that by 2014, 10-15% of social media reviews will be falsified by the companies. Is this ethical? In my opinion no, but it doesn’t seem to be a crime. Personally, I would boycott a company if I became aware of such practices.


Another ethical issue raised by educational and business use of social media is the screening of applicants. Many feel this is too deep an invasion of privacy.  In a recent article from Scientific America, it is suggested that this practice could drive away-qualified applicants.


Social media raises a host of ethical issues. In order to fully address these issues, companies need to fully assess the risks and be aware of the challenges presented by social media before using it. Companies must be aware that any unethical practice that comes to light can be published instantly and globally, and the damage done could be irreparable.


Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241–251. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.005

Institute for Ethics,  (2011). The Ethical Challenges of Social Media (pp. 22–25).

Kerpen, Dave (2011) Likeable Social Media. MeGraw Hill. Pg(107)

Jacobson, R. 2014. Facebook Snooping on Job Candidates May Backfire for Employers. [online] Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/facebook-snooping-on-job/ [Accessed: 23 Mar 2014].

Mashable. 2012. By 2014, 1 in 10 Social Media Reviews Will Be Fake [STUDY]. [online] Available at: http://mashable.com/2012/09/20/fake-online-reviews/ [Accessed: 23 Mar 2014].

Cbsnews.com. 2014. Nestle’s Facebook Page: How a Company Can Really Screw Up Social Media. [online] Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nestles-facebook-page-how-a-company-can-really-screw-up-social-media/ [Accessed: 23 Mar 2014]


Topic 3: Summary-Developing an Authentic Professional Profile

Topic 3 has generated some interesting thoughts amongst my peers and myself. We all easily recognised the importance of creating an authentic online professional profile. The topic encouraged us to investigate what employers are able to learn about us, and a number of my peers were surprised to find exactly what information they were making public.

Over the Internet, and especially social media sites,  gaining peer and social approval is often important, but we must realise that there is a difference between putting our best foot forward and portraying an unrealistic image. One of the problems that were identified was that a number of my peers had very low privacy setting on their personal social media pages, which gave a very different impression about themselves than their professional profiles.  When using the Internet to create a personal brand for yourself you need to ensure consistency.  Being truthful about what you display is the best way to achieve this, I follow this practice but I also have very high privacy setting on my personal social media accounts. I have removed my Facebook account from Google search, and my privacy settings are extremely high so none of my content has public visibility.

One thing that I failed to pick up on in my own article was plagiarism; George Chiverton had some interesting points on this topic. Plagiarism is a big no-no when it comes to creating a personal brand is plagiarism. This covers every aspect of an online presence from blog posts and tweets to your LinedIn CV. Don’t just copy and paste others’ personal statements. I have come across a number of instances where people have copied other peoples CVs and presented false information about themselves; employers will notice this.  When it comes to tweeting and retreating, make sure you let your followers know if it’s not your own. Twitter is a powerful critic and many have felt the backlash from plagiarised tweets.


Overall, I found this subject of great interest and enjoyed seeing my peers opinions and responses.  It’s a subject I will increasingly devote time to as I progress in my professional career.

Topic 3: Developing An Authentic Professional Online Profile

Discuss the ways in which an authentic online professional profile can be developed.


Job hunting and recruitment have changed dramatically with the advent of the Internet and social media. Add to this the recent global economic crisis, and the hyper-competitive job market it has created, and you’ve got one tough crowd to compete with. That said, we all have access to the same tools and thus we have a level playing field.

Online professional profiles are all about self-branding, the aim being to present yourself in a favourable light so as to gain credibility and appeal to potential employers. Unlike in the days when employers’ only research came from calling the two references provided, they now have a host of Internet documentation to check your details against. Thus, when creating your professional brand, you must make sure you portray a consistent image of yourself. In his book “Linchpin”, Seth Godin (2010) sates  “If you need to conceal your true nature to get in the door, understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature to keep that job.”  I think it is worth noting that, in doing this, your true nature needs to be concealed across a number of mediums, so unless you’re in line for an Oscar, it’s advisable to be authentic.

Weiler (2012) states “It used to be that your resume was the determining factor in landing a job, but now social platforms are becoming the norm for both networking and finding work.” This is exactly right and in modern times the professional is expected to have a number of online profiles: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and often a blog.  This is supported by Bonzionelos (2003), relationships in social networks, including professional ties, constitute an important facet of social capital. Through Twitter and other platforms job seekers can now create ties with thousands of people with a single tweet. Be active on Twitter and LinkedIn and initiate the first contact with employers. Companies do not mind being contacted for job opportunities on Twitter, so reach out. In fact, firms are often able to provide valuable advice on the things that you should be doing to find a job. If you’re lucky, recruitment may check you out and give you a job offer.

So we’ve established the importance of a professional online profile, now here are some tips to doing it well:

  • Your online profile, like it or not is what defines you to your employers so make your profile look as professional as possible, no drunken photos or funny pictures. Neither of these are great but I’m sure you can ascertain which is best.


  • Be authentic. We’ve identified that you can easily be caught out on the little white lies you tell.
  • Be relevant, employers don’t want to know about the waitressing job you had as a teenager. Limit the jobs you list to ones relevant to the position your seeking.
  • Think outside the box. Video, interactive CVs and viral content are a great way to get attention. Take Adam Pacitti as an example, he was a university graduate struggling to get a job in the tough economic climate.  Adam utilised the media available to him, went for the hard sell and, with a great deal of determination and exuberant publicity stunts, he managed to get a job offer. It’s not for everyone, and won’t appeal to all employers, but it shows that with the right tools anything’s possible. employadam.com
  • Link everything. Make it easy for employers to navigate through your online presence. On my LinkedIn I have a links to my personal website, Twitter, About.me, vizify and all my listed Jobs have links to my employers websites.


  • Create a blog. A blog is a great way to share your knowledge and showcase your expertise, but they’re not for everyone. If writing isn’t one of your strong points, don’t do it. Anyone interested in you will certainly be turned off if you publish grammatical errors or awkward prose.
  • Don’t write an essay on your professional CV.  Set your sights on making your profile neither too long nor too short.  Be clear and concise as if anyone looking wants more information they can follow those all important links you’ve added.
  • Last but not least, make sure there’s no content on any social profiles you wouldn’t want your employers seeing.


Godin, S. (2010). Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future (p. 224). Hachette UK,. 

Welier, W. (2010). 6 Things Your Professional Online Profile Needs. HiredMyWay.

Bozionelos, N. (2003). Intra-organizational network resources: Relation to career success and personality’. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 11, 41–66. 

Topic 2: Summary

In hindsight I do not feel my blog post thoroughly addressed the question, ‘Discuss the argument for and against having more than one online identity’.  However I really enjoyed having the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject of online identities, as they are becoming a common feature in our everyday lives. It was interesting to see the variety of different approaches my peers took to answering the topic at hand, particularly as some of them touch upon subjects I had not even considered; for instance Tim Hodgkins called mention to diminishing social interactions. This encouraged much discussion and pushed me to investigate further.  Having had time to think about the question further I have bullet pointed my thoughts for and against having multiple identities.

for and against

Argument for:

  • Personal branding- Having multiple identities builds up your portfolio and increase your integrity and employability
  • Multiple identities allow user to separate work and social life. This gives users more control over who is able to view what content, and is great for ensuring better online safety and privacy
  • It proves many outlets for people to express themselves online
  • Users can choose to use pseudonyms to stay anonymous. This allows them to express themselves without the worry of discrimination.

Argument against:

  • The mental cost. There is an annoyance of having to physically manage the logins and content for the various identities.  I regularly have to check various accounts as I receive messages regularly through all of them, this requires time and determination. I have one friend who in a single day finds it necessary to communicate through numerous platforms, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I find this stressful.
  • For every online identity you create you are giving away more and more personal data. This opens users up to identity theft and other online fraud. This is exemplified by the fact that many people choose to use the same or similar passwords. This can result in a number of online identities being compromised at once.
  • Anonymity of secondary identities has resulted in many incidents cyber bulling spanning from the circulation of rumours to malicious and prejudicial content. It also helps to encourage online crime.

I have to say I am for multiple identities and in this Internet driven world I think this is a practice we will continue to follow.  As we are required to provide proof of identification for more and more interactions in the offline world, it’s likely that we’ll see the same trend online. I don’t think it’s too far “out there” to imagine that one day, it will be impossible to create an online account without providing proof of identity.

I still however stick with my original conclusion that we must work to make the web a safer place. In order to be safe and positively present our self brand, their needs to be increased training and awareness on how to positively create and use online identities.