For our final project, our group decided to expand on the many ways social media can be used for a PLN and how to utilize these tools to expand your knowledge. We focused our attention more on the three platforms; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. We used these to show how the platforms can be used for professional learning, business use, personal use, and academic use. We discuss how various features on social media apps can be used and what they could be useful for in expanding or enhancing your PLN. We cover what the model for PLN optimization for educators looks like and how to make a presence in the PLN. We identified how technology tracks and uses personal data, including tech companies.
Throughout this class, I have learnt various things such as expanding your PLN to create an unbiased environment. Having diversity and inclusion in your PLN creates a place to share various opposing ideas/thoughts, expand your own views, reflect on your ideas, etc. I have learnt that social media can be a great tool for learning and to make sure that the information is true and unbiased before believing the content right away. Social media isn’t meant to be used as your only source of news, you need to be watching the news and comparing the courses to eliminate bias and false information. I follow many accounts on Instagram that share educational content related to my field of study, some ‘fun’ entertaining accounts meant to make me laugh, and some accounts that influence my fashion hobby.
This course has really taught me there is more to social media than just family and friends content. There are various ways I can use it to learn, expand my knowledge, views and ideas. I have also been more aware of the content I post on my account, making sure that I use my voice the way I meant to use it.
Social media allows various people to speak on their concerns, share their thoughts and opinions on current or past events. People nowadays, don’t have to enter through professional media outlets to have their voices heard. They can share on their own platform and reach a large audience. People can share first-hand experiences through messages about the real story (Baker). There is so much power in the hands of the public online, each person has their community or audience that will interact with their content and support their causes.
The use of social media allows educators to build a PLN. Within the network, members can support each other and engage in a productive conversation which can be a healthy/positive contribution to society (Baker). This could mean leaving a positive comment or sharing the content with others in support of the individual. These channels can be used to spread awareness especially in rural communities (Baker). PLNs assist in “bringing in an understanding of an individual’s story and their family’s story” (Baker). For example; an indigenous influencer @shinanova on Instagram and TikTok share her culture with her large audience of 523,000 followers. She displays her talent of throat singing from her Inuk culture. In her PLN people are gaining awareness of the Inuk culture and experiences in Canada from her as a local.
It’s important to change people’s views because we were always put down. We were always told what to do and what not to do. The message I want to send to the Indigenous youth is that you are capable of anything. Don’t let anyone take away your identity. You are beautiful.
Various social media platforms such as; Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, etc can be used by educators to control the context and delivery of content. Having a diverse PLN contributes to less biased information.
Consider how you would curate your social media with a critical public audience.
Using social media you can quickly reach a vast amount of people all over the world with ease. When using social media it is critical to share relevant and accurate information with your audience. Your following is primary made up of people with similar interests and ideas therefore, to keep everyone engaged the content needs to be aligned with the community you share. It is crucial that you engage often with your followers and provide value in the content you share. For example; re-sharing content isn’t as engaging to your audience, but adding your own thoughts and ideas to it will attract more conversation.
Identify the risks and benefits of engaging with a public audience in a media space – what are the risks for a public figure or person in a position of trust (educator, lawyer, government official)?
Being a notable person and have a large following on social media exposes individuals to more attention. A notable individual may use social media to connect with others all around the world with similar interests to share idea and get inspiration from in the same media space (Smith). Interaction with people online with similar interests allows you to learn about more interests and gain knowledge first hand from others.
There can be negatives with people of trust engaging with the public online. If the public observes bad behavior or dishonest behavior from the individual, the public on social media will pressure them to make a statement online. Some people have lost jobs, businesses, or even credibility from their behavior in person or online after the public eye shines light on it. This can all be a good or bad thing, it’s good to hold people accountable for their actions or at times the individual can benefit from the attention. However this all being said, it can also be dangerous if public figures who hold trust in the public spread mis-information or outrageously false claims. It is very important that these individuals share accurate information or they could be a danger to the public and lose public trust.
Consider how to best address negative replies and critiques reflective of your personal values and employer social media policy?
Social media profiles can act as a platform to expose one’s brand and one’s strengths (Vance). The best way to respond to negative replies is to be mindful of what you say back, always consider that future employers can view you social media to get an idea of who you are. Remain professional and avoid swearing, be kind, respectful, and use evidence to support you response.
Open dialogues about media literacy and factual information can create conflict, why does this happen?
Media literacy is the constant critical questioning of the media we consume (Smith). Media enables people to learn a lot and discover new information to confirm or support one’s beliefs (Smith). It determines not only how we view ourselves but also it determines how we view others (Smith). This can be negative or positive for the individuals looking for the information to reassure their beliefs. One can find information that supports their ideas/views but, it will be difficult for them to be open minded about opposing ideas or people with opposing views. Media sometimes enables people to pick and choose what information they want to open their minds to. It becomes very hard for people to change their views when there isn’t a motivation to consider opposing information.
What is the benefit of having a PLN that values media literacy?
I believe that a PLN that values media literacy would have more meaningful connection and interaction with a large audience. Having a PLN is meant for discovering new ideas and views while reaching out to a community online. A PLN that values media literacy allows individuals in that community to gain accurate information. There is so much information being consumed on social media which makes individuals have a hard time telling what is true and what is false, which is why media literacy in a PLN is so important (Smith).
How does social media use in public discourse potentially challenge advocacy communications?
There are plenty of benefits with advocacy on social media platforms however, there are also various challenges. Social media allows user to spread their message to many groups of people quickly but, this also means that misinformation can spread just as quickly. Some social media platforms have adapted a functionality that flags possible misinformation or possible biased, this functionality is called fact check. Users will see a on a post for example; a badge that says fact checkers have this to say about the content and it will proceed to say why they flagged it.
How diverse is your existing PLN?
My PLN includes information related to healthcare and health information technology. I took the course EDCI 339 and from that course, I made an Instagram account to build my PLN. I followed mainly health authorities and some Canadian health organizations. The information is diverse from each other in terms of new ideas and innovation however, it is all related to each other. My current PLN is mainly containing people living in Canada or who have an interest in the Canadian healthcare field and primarily B.C. Having a more diverse PLN can be very beneficial to hear alternate views and introduce ideas that you may have not thought about before. I believe that in my PLN it is encouraged to invite inclusion to improve healthcare in B.C. we need many voices to engage on how we can improve what we do.
In your PLN, are you learning from a variety of voices?
I follow a variety of health authorities in B.C. and Canadian health technology organizations (such as; digital health Canada) that consistently update on new information. I do particularly like when accounts leave a link in their bio for the information they shared in their post.
How does social media engage in advocacy communications?
Social media is a great way to reach a mass of people very quickly in any part of the world. It can be a clamorous way to spread information about a cause. It can promote discussion, reinforcing relationships between supporters among union leaders and supporters.
What digital platforms are students currently using to develop their professional network?
Students today use various social media platforms to keep in touch with classmates, peers, and professors. A common example would be LinkedIn, in which students are encouraged to have to make connections/network with other students and employers for future opportunities. Each social platform would be used for specific things by a student; Zoom can be for personal or professional/institutional use, Brightspace is used for interacting with your professors or classmates, and Twitter could also be professional and/or personal.
What can you (as a student) consider to expand your professional learning network?
There are plenty ways to expand a professional learning networks; such as, updating often to a LinkedIn profile (connecting with co-workers and supervisors), joining conversations you are interested in on Twitter, and attending seminars through Zoom on topics on interest.
In your network, how can you create a digital identity/reputation?
First thing to remember when building your digital identity is to be mindful of what you are sharing. Meaningful and attentive posts will reach more people and spark a conversation. Updating and being online consistently is a great way to build your digital identity. Keep all your accounts consistent with the same name and contact information so that your friends and acquaintances can find your profile easier, it also looks more professional and clean this way.
Consider what a local employer would do if you applied for a job with them – can they search the content, is it of benefit to the career path, does it hinder the opportunity of employment?
When employers are in the hiring process and reviewing resumes, they do google your name to get more of an idea of how you present yourself. They will see your public profiles and go through them. This can be a great thing for you, they may see some more accomplishments, awards you received, hobbies that you have, a well presented LinkedIn profile; however, this also means to be mindful of what post online any inappropriate photo can hinder your likeness of receiving the job offer.
I found this activity very interesting, the V&R Map allowed me to reflect on how I utilize social platforms. A lot of the applications I use to keep in contact with my classmates, coworkers, and friends but there are some that are solely just for fun.
To network using social media means to interact with a group of individuals online (Future Learn). Social media is a great tool for people to share their thoughts, lives, ideas, and to connect or meet other people online. All of our lives are connected. Friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances keep up with each other whether it is professional or personal life. Social networks allow us to connect with each other and share information (Future Learn).
How are we motivated to participate in networked publics?
We use online public networks to share ideas and learn from others. The internet has created an easier way of finding new information and share all those ideas with many people (Future Learn). A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is created by a group of individuals with commonalities that have trusted connections and keep in connection with each other on a regular basis (Gutierrez). An individual who could be motivated to participate in public networks by their personal professional interests and immediate professional needs (Rajagopal). People create new connections to look for common ground with a random person; this could be through topics of interest, organization, or common connections (Rajagopal). A survey has indicated that a professional uses commonality on a topic to decide whether they continue connections within a PLN or not (Rajagopal). PLNs use various social media platforms to communicate and share their ideas, such as; Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter.
What are the risks & rewards of public communications?
Social platforms and communications allow us to connect with people all over the world quickly. It is extremely helpful if you have business connections far away or family/friends. Using any of the many social media messaging apps such as; Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, etc. you can contact and connect with anyone in the world.
Social media is a great way to communicate with individuals in real-time but, it also means that your information can easily be acquired by other people. Everyone online should be careful of what they post and share with their online communities as there may be a time you apply for a job and your employer does a quick google search. Making sure your posts are appropriate for the online platforms is important and avoiding posts that involve provocative behaviour or illicit actions.
What is a digital identity?
Digital identity can be compared to your footprint on the internet (Stoller). It is an identity that can be searched (ie; your portfolio, blog, tweets, social media posts) and represents your digital identity (Stoller). It is meant to represent who you are and showcases things about yourself. Digital Identity can also be a professional ID that defines who you are. In India and Estonia, they are using digital identities for various things such as; Rx refills, online taxes, and banking (World Economic Forum).
How do personal versus professional approaches to digital identity affect social media use?
Most people have separate accounts to update on personal and professional life. A lot of my peers/instructors in my program have personal social media accounts such as; Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to keep up with friends and family. Most will also have a twitter account or LinkedIn to keep up with their professional lives as well. By separating the content posted you can comfortably share what you like geared towards the audience it is intended for.
How do digital identities converge in networked publics – what are the impacts and/or benefits?
Digital identities can be used to open new accounts on various social platforms and can also be used beyond just social media accounts. For example; Estonia is using digital identities for its citizens to be able to vote online and access their own health records (Metadium). This is a great concept however, it also means that the government is tracking their online presence to make sure their activity online is appropriate as it has an attachment to their real identities offline.
Future Learn. “What Is a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?” FutureLearn, www.futurelearn.com/info/courses/learning-network-age/0/steps/24644.
Gutierrez, Karla. What Are Personal Learning Networks?, 21 June 2016, www.shiftelearning.com/blog/personal-learning-networks.
Metadium. “How Estonia Is Pioneering the Digital Identity Space.” Medium, Metadium, 16 July 2019, medium.com/metadium/how-estonia-is-pioneering-the-digital-identity-space-4008c709fbb8.
Rajagopal, K. et. al. – Understanding Personal Learning Network; Their Structure, Content and the Networking Skills Needed to Optimally use them. 23 December 2011. https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3559/3131
World Economic Forum. “Davos 2019 – Press Conference The Value Of Digital Identity For The Global Economy And Society”. Youtube.Com, 5 February 2019, 13:05-13:22, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-V7lyxrOmw. Accessed 19 May 2021.