Thing 7 was a highly relevant area for me – Twitter. As I approach the end of my internship, which includes the words “social media” in its title, I am able to reflect on the range of tools and strategies I’ve used in the context of this area, Twitter having been very much a part of that.
Analytics and Lists were relatively new to me when I first looked at the Twitter account for my School, but have subsequently found them to be extremely useful. The account has a range of lists of other accounts, both organisational and individual, which fit into various areas of academic research and study, as well as culture and arts. These come in handy when it comes to drafting a tweet on any specific area.
If I were, for example, to write an article on English Literature students winning a prize, I could for social media sharing purposes, “tag” relevant accounts found in the English Literature list, which could include relevant academics, national bodies and institutions or the relevant individual students themselves. This gives the sharing of any content or articles a much wider reach, as relevant accounts are more likely to take notice and share or comment themselves.
This can then be monitored through Twitter analytics, which are extremely useful in terms of viewing which content performs best, and reviewing positive engagements. Overall, I believe the extra tools and resources which Twitter provides can be incredibly useful for institutions in terms of monitoring engagement and gaining a wider reach.
Number six’s theme focuses on accessibility, an area which I had to pay close attention to when I first started my role. When I carried out my EdWeb training, an online content management system that I’ve used to write features and articles on my School’s website, much of the training we received was on how to make our sites and pages as easily accessible as possible. This included using large font headings, avoiding acronyms and clearly giving the full title when they are used, as well as using dialogue boxes to clarify the meanings of abbreviations such as US (United States).
As I’ve written and published content on my School’s website, I have tried to be mindful of these measures, refraining from long, extended paragraphs, always providing alternative text for images, and clarifying all abbreviations used. Despite this, there are still a range of issues to be aware of and improvements to make.
Reading the Web Accessibility Initiative stories highlighted for me a range of accessibility issues which could present themselves in terms of web availability. The stories covered a range of barriers which can prevent people reading and interacting with web content, including identifying colours, using the mouse, needing to view text at a much more zoomed in manner etc.
Reading the solutions and strategies implemented to overcome these issues was really insightful, and provided food for thought in terms of overcoming these issues on sites. It should be paramount for all online content creators to consider these potential issues whilst creating content before they have to be flagged up as unsuitable, so that all content is as easily accessible as possible.
So Thing 5 – Diversity. I was sadly unable to create my own via the website, so have instead inserted my old Bitmoji for referencing purposes..
The issue of diversity within social media is a topic of increasing importance and when it comes to seemingly harmless cartoon images, as the recommended articles pointed out, there is still a potential for harmful stereotyping and ignorance to present itself. The Washington Post’s 2015 article on Apple’s “diversified” emojis highlights the issue that having racialised emojis to begin with then attempting to rectify the issue by adding a more diverse range of skin colours and appearances adds a racial dimension to every conversation, also allowing the emojis to be used for negative interactions.
The Washington Post argues that adding race to emojis was Apple’s error and that it should never have been attempted. Perhaps if people from a diverse range of ethnicities and races were allowed to represent themselves in deciding how they should appear, the blunder would have been smaller, but one thing is for sure: although Bitmojis and other such social media interpretations of people may seem cute and trivial, it is perilous to misunderstand their importance in the much needed improvement of racial and other types of diversity and representation in social media and elsewhere online.
It’s been a while since I last posted and with only two weeks left of my internship and still twenty ‘Things’ left to cover, I’m making the most of the time I have currently!
Thing number 4 focuses on digital security, a hot topic at the moment. I was tasked for this post to look at what privacy permissions the various apps on my phone have. The biggest use of access was for my phone camera, which Outlook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp all have access to. Four of my apps have access to my microphone, six of my apps have access to my photos, and two to my contacts.
The biggest surprise for me came from the fact that four of my apps have access to my Location Services, a feature which I thought I had disabled. Although most of my apps don’t have access to this feature, four of them have access whilst in use.
There were no huge surprises for me for the most part, being that I try to keep up with my privacy and data protection settings (as much as is possible) but the access of location services did shock me to a certain extent, and has allowed me to choose the types of access I allow rather than unwittingly having given it.
So onto Thing 5, hopefully with a much shorter break this time!
The concept of googling yourself is never a nice thought however, being that all of my personal social media accounts have strong privacy settings, not much came up for me, despite my more unusual name.
With the exception of an old high school news feature and a documents of minutes from a meeting I attended, little came up in the search results. I did, however, notice two things. One, that my LinkedIn profile didn’t appear alongside my name search, and two, that a very old barely used Instagram account did. It flagged up that I definitely need to find a way of removing the social media account, and also that I should look more at my LinkedIn profile and how it comes across when it does show up in search results.
Overall, particularly in a professional context, I think it’s hugely important to be aware of and monitor your digital footprint, as you have little idea as to how you appear to others until you actually search yourself.
I’m participating in 23 Things for Digital Knowledge as part of my Employ.ed on Campus internship, and I hope it will advance my knowledge and skills in this area, which is one of my development goals for this internship. I’ve never written a blog before so this in itself is a new digital knowledge skill for me!
As a student, I was previously unaware of the student Social Media Handbook. Having read it, I found it both interesting and helpful, and it’s a tool I would’ve used when I was a Class Rep had I been aware of it.
Overall, I hope this online course develops my skills and broadens my knowledge in an area in which I hope to progress.