Beginning of the end

This is going to be my finale post for the unit IAB260. Thank you all for coming along on the journey but it is now at the end. When I first started this unit my goal, as stated in my first blog post was to ‘create my own beautiful piece of the internet’ and I think after 14 weeks of various posts and videos; I have completed this. To analyse what I have learnt and how I have progressed in this unit; I have written a short biweekly reflection for the past 14 weeks to understand what my key takeaway from this unit is.  These biweekly reflections will allow me to look at my own use of the content and see how I have gained a better understanding of social technologies and their applications; while analysing my own work in the areas of weaknesses and strengths.

Week 1 & 2

During week 1 and 2, I was unsure of what to expect from this unit, as the idea of moving away from blackboard was completely unheard of. I had never used Google + before and the idea of suddenly relying on it and it being one of the main sources of information terrified me. The idea of not having lecture didn’t scare me as much, as I was used to the Creative Industries where lectures often ended up being combined into my tutorials. During these first two weeks, I spent time trying to wrap my head around the various interfaces of WordPress, Google+ and the unit site. During this time, I created my first blog post, discussing my usual use of technology as a lurker and my lack of understanding of how to create a successful blog. During these two weeks, I struggled with how to reference images and gif’s and the idea of structuring a blog post. If I was to review my time here, I would highlight my weaknesses in writing a blog post and being an active member of the community.

A pie graph showing off my use of Social Media

Week 3 & 4

During this time, I created two blog posts. One was a discussion of my own experiences involving the tutorial topic of Persona’s. The other was a critical reflection on the topic of Online Communities. I had never realized there was a different between the Online Communities and Networked Publics; and this introduction to the area allowed me to gain a depth of knowledge about how people interacted online. The resources provided by the unit site such as Dr Zanna Howard’s video on understanding users allowed me to connect my own knowledge to this area and provided a starting point for my Persona blog post. Both of these blog posts represent my first attempts at critical reflection and as such reflect my early mistakes and learning of how to create this type of blog post. I quickly realized that I felt most comfortable connecting the weekly topic to my own experiences and as such always aimed to include this either in a written or visual format. I feel this is one of my strengths and has allowed me to connect to the audience on a stronger level. I felt that in these early blog posts, I did not always fully analyse the topic to the deepest level and provide my own independent investigation and questioning. I feel if I was to write these blog posts again, I would focus on working on these areas and would spend more time analysing the topic.

Cluster Map for my Facebook data created with Wolfram and Alpha. “Friend Network” by Wolfram Alpha LLC—A Wolfram Research Company from WolframAlpha. BY-NC-SA.

Week 5 & 6

During this time, I created a blog based on the topic provided to me. My topic was disasters and crisis, and how we utilize social media during this time. My blog post focused on my experiences within the 2011 Brisbane Flood and the Bushfires in California in 2014. I felt that my strength within this blog post was the amount of sources I had chosen to use and reflect on my work. I felt that an area, which I could have worked on in this post is my structure. My writing has always been one of the biggest weakness for me and while working on my Critical analyses; I continued to try and constantly gain feedback to push myself to improve. I felt that this was the least enjoyable topic, that I engaged with over the Semester. I would have preferred to study a different topic, which I felt I would have been of more interest to me. This weekly topic for example could have been looking at how professionals in businesses are utilizing social media to construct their look and feel and maybe as our critical reflection could have us create a brand for such a business.

The Wheel of Brisbane during the 2011 floods, a popular tourist attraction. “Wheel of brisbane during 2011 flooding” by PMBO – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Week 7 & 8

During this time, I worked on my persona assignment including a critical analysis on my use of social media. I also created a persona poster and identity map based on my traits, both of these items used my strong design skills. I was extremely pleased with the looked that I ended up creating for both of these items. I felt that they represented me, while also describing my own use of social media and being informative about this information. The part which I struggled with for this assignment was the structure of my critical analysis, I found it extremely difficult to create a ‘flow’ within the piece. If I was to redo my assignment, I would use a better structure for this critical analysis and focus more on the reflection as I really struggled to create thoughtful and insightful discussion for this piece. I also was pleased to receive feedback on some of my earlier pieces and spent time incorporating this feedback to push my reflections up to a higher standard.

Week 9 & 10

During these two weeks, I created a blog post based on the topic of life logging. I really struggled with this post, as while I had a lot to contribute about wearable technology, I struggled to connect my own thoughts to that of the topic question. I thought my strength here was that I approached the topic from a different view point, which meant that my blog post was more interesting but I felt that its structure was also quite weak. In week 12 after listening to the tutorial on structure, I went back and rewrote this post to try and create a better flow throughout it. While I feel it is an improvement on what it was previously; it still is not up to the standard where I am hoping to submit it. To counter my own weaknesses in this area, I will continue to edit and keep working on it. One of my favorite resources from this unit was also featured in this week. This article discussing the Internet of Things and Data, was incredibly interesting and I found it connecting to my own knowledge about the area.

My own way of Lifelogging

Week 11 & 12

My critical analysis for these two weeks was based on the topic of how artists communicate with fans through social media. I chose to focus on the artist Amanda Palmer, as I have followed her story for many years now. This was my favorite topic as I consider myself a creative but I found it incredibly difficult to write about. I found that I had far too many thoughts and opinions on the topic that trying to fit them all in the one blog post did not work successfully. After attending the week 12 tutorial on structure in blog posts, I went through and reviewed the week 12 blog post. I used brainstorming to dilute my ideas down in smaller pieces, allowing me to create connections between thoughts and tie up loose one. I also broke my post up using headings as recommended in the tutorial; allowing people to quickly read through my blog and not be bogged down. I rewrote the conclusion to try and create a better flow within the post, I felt this was successful and allowed me to create a better flowing post. I really struggled with the structure of this blog post and I feel that after a lot of editing, it has finally reached the point where I am comfortable submitting it.

Some of my creative projects from my Week 11 post

Week 13 & 14

During these two weeks, there was a large focus on writing my Finale Critical reflection. I was trying to spend as much time as possible editing, while also creating a detailed and well thought out analysis. I had also been working hard completing the gamification challengers to try and increase my contribution to the community. These quizzes also provide a great chance to test my knowledge and also consider what I had learnt about online communities in this semester. I had a fantastic time doing the scavenger hunt and I love the competition element as well. Below you can find one of the tasks I completed which focused on displaying my key takeaway (How I learnt to stop lurking), while also displaying some of the other stories and topics on my blog.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes from this unit are

  1. Apply analytical and critical thinking skills to understand the way people experience social technologies, including how people construct personal and professional online identities
  2. Assess and critically reflect on social technologies and their applications
  3. Demonstrate broad knowledge of issues and topics related to social technologies and deep knowledge of one or more specific topics
  4. Apply verbal, written and visual communication skills that effectively convey information in social media contexts

I feel I have been able to archive each of the learning outcomes through the combination of completing the weekly tasks and working through the assignments. I have demonstrated analytical and critical thinking skills through my bi-weekly reflective posts. The second learning objective was archived through assignment 1, where I assessed and critically reflect on my own use of social technologies along with their applications. Through commenting on a wide range of topics and discussing issues on the Google+ community, I have been able to show my deep knowledge on topics such as creativity and the idea of delivering technology to disaster areas. The finale learning outcome I have been able to archive through the running of my blog and my active participation within the range of communities involved with this subject. Overall I have been able to increase my learning and complete these objectives.

My video about Gamification 🙂

Weakness

The weaknesses that I found when working in this unit were mainly focused on my own writing skills including the structure and my ability to analyze and be critical. As mentioned during my weekly reflections, I have tried to identify these areas, so that I am able to improve on them. Below I have listed an area of weakness or an area where I wish to improve and the steps I have tried to take throughout the unit to improve on it.

– My weakness of structure, I have tried to improve on by attending the Tutorial on structure and incorporating feedback from my tutors into my posts. I wish the structure tutorial had been held earlier as it was a great asset in thinking about how to write more effectively. To fix this issue, I have started to follow a basic structure for a blog post and have began to break blog posts up using headings.

– The biggest problem I have had with gaining ideas is that I previously have not been using the tool brainstorming. I needed to earlier on in the unit do some preparation before I started to write on a topic, as often I would not have a good flow throughout the piece and would miss the point of the reflection. I feel that by adding some planning my blog posts they will improve and allow me to create a higher quality piece.

– The last area which I do need to improve on is my Analysing skills. By improving on this area and practicing it on resources, it will assist my learning and allow me to improve my understanding of my own work. To further help this, I am taking extra time to try and thoroughly work through the resources to try and push my analyze of them to the highest point possible.

While I feel I have increased my own skills in this area already, I feel that there is still room for improvement. In the areas of weaknesses, I am trying to make improvements to my own skills and knowledge while constantly improving. This unit has provided me with multiple opportunities to practice and develop these skills.

Key Takeaway

My key takeaway from this unit is the confidence of being a more active user of social technologies. I struggled at the beginning to break out of my lurker mold and comment on various posts and discussions but I feel towards the end of the semester, I have been creating successful discussions within the community. For example recently I began a discussion about creativity and how everyone is creative. I felt that this discussion was a great tie in with the Week 10 theme of the maker movement. I also have improved my own ability to communicate through social technology. I felt that the best way to engage with the other students was to be an active contributor to the community and talk to them about something that interests them. I found that fewer people would respond to me creating a comment about my blog post, then if I created a post about the interesting thing I had found. I also found that another great way was to try and comment on as many blogs as possible.

In conclusion

Overall throughout the subject I feel I have learnt more about how communities work along with the effort that it takes to build and maintain one. I feel that this unit has increased my ability to analyse a large amount of information while also being able to link it back to the strong amount of theory. While my weaknesses of writing to a structure and the ability to critically analyse I am still working on, I believe I have improved over the time within the unit. While I have not previously thought of myself as a strong user of social technologies but with the confidence I have gained from this unit. I am much more comfortable talking about various social media topic now and I have increased my knowledge of social technologies.

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2 thoughts on “Beginning of the end

  1. becandsocialtech says:

    I really like the way you have structure this post. It made it easy to read in a logical sequence. Great to hear from this unit you have gain confidence with social media.

    Like

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