Reflecting whilst moving forward

Self-Made (2018)



I will be using Strategy 1 (de Cossart and Fish, 2006) in order to critically reflect on my experience on the UOSM2008 module.

Factual Strand

Prior to this module, internet usage hadn’t been very conscious as I am part of  ‘Generation Z’ (Strauss and Howe, 1991). However, The topics covered in this module gave a really far-reaching overview of the debates surrounding our usage of the internet. I highlight this below:

In progressing through this module, I established a WordPress site on my own hosting and domain, established a professional Twitter, and  LinkedIn profile. These can all be seen below:

I believe I had two key moments throughout the module.

Firstly, it was the production of the video for Topic 2. I hadn’t really considered making a video for the introductory topic, and considered that due to my use of a Chromebook, my ability would be limited. However, I was able to prove myself wrong and produce a video which was both entertaining and informative!

Secondly, was Iarina’s comment about how in Romania, they had focused on implementing optic fibre prior to electricity. This seemed crazy to me, and was so far removed from my life. It made a theory based topic seem very real – and made me think about the real world effects of these topics.

Retrospective Strand

When I look back at my first two posts, I regret not adding more multimedia aspects. This is merely part of the learning curve – however I wish I’d picked up the knack a little bit earlier, like my coursemates Joanna and Carl did!

Furthermore,  I wish I had taken the time to consider topics from less obvious different angles – as some of my peers did to great effect. However, this is only a minor regret, as through the reading and commenting process I was still able to learn about, and engage with, new content.

Crucially, I learnt that I do have an ability to manage time within me! Having never been good at time management in the past, the prospect of weekly deadlines was rather daunting. However, by the end of the module, I had devised a schedule of how I would ensure that I had written each blog in time for the deadline.

Self-Made, 2018

This approach ensure that I spent proportionate time on reading, researching, writing and creating, in order to have an interesting, yet informative, post.

My time management was really tested when I had some personal circumstances in the middle of Topic 3, but I still managed to post my blog on time.


Sub-Stratum Strand

Being a law student, my essays are often over 3000 words. This allow me relative freedom to use fanciful language, and repeat points for emphasis. However, this was not the case in this module – having a 300 word limit per post.

Whilst I have been exposed to to short word counts (Twitter), using such a minute word count in an assessed module was a different beast altogether. This  limit forced me to adapt my writing style to be concise and punchy, whilst still conveying the crucial information. Most pertinently, I learnt that I wasn’t always able to talk about every aspect of the topic, and as such I narrowed my focus early on.

The ability to summarise vast bodies of information into short, easy to read posts will no doubt come in great use in the future when I have to explain crucial aspects long legal cases to clients.

To add to this, learning about fake news helped me face up to reality a little better. I say this as in my dissertation was a source which was crucial for the making of one of my points. However, I had long had doubts about the validity of the source, but continued using it as I couldn’t find anything else on the topic. However, by applying my own content reliability checker –  “CRAP” –  I was able to appreciate that the source was not reliable, and that consciously including an unreliable source would bring ethical questions over the validity and accuracy of the whole piece.

I will continue to use this test prospectively in academic works, and also in a personal capacity, when assessing things like football rumours this summer. Previously, I may have shared these rumours on a relatively large (100k+ followers) Twitter account – meaning I was inadvertently contributing to fake news myself. Applying the test will allow me to ensure the content communicated to my followers is of a reliable nature.

Lastly, having studied privacy in my International Cybercrime Law module, I came into the topic of Digital Identity feeling rather like a know-it-all! However, through not only studying AND applying the content to myself, I was able to comprehend that there was a gap between my actions and my knowledge. This  gave me the push to fix privacy conditions of my digital profiles and remove explicit links to myself.

Connective Strand
Network Learning
Network learning had interested me in the past, so this was an opportunity to actively engage with it from the inside, rather than commenting from the outside. I outline my thoughts below:


Future Development: 

When I first established my blog, I posted that, although UOSM2008 had kicked me into making the blog,  it was something I had been hoping to do for a while. This remains true, and now, with momentum behind me, I intend to keep the blog alive and active.

There are other steps which I intend to take in the future, which I outline below!


Word Count (Excluding in-line citations and Headings): 900


Gough, O., (2017) ‘Half of the UK workforce to work remotely by 2020’,

Strauss, W., (1991) and Howe, N., ‘Generation Z’,

de Cossart, L., Fish, D., (2006) ‘Cultivating a thinking surgeon: New perspectives on clinical teaching’

Reflection: A Digital Identity Crisis?

Self-Made with Piktochart (2018)

Prior to this topic, I held an interest in privacy. However, through studying this topic, I realised that I have largely failed to act upon this interest, and I decided that this would change now!

As I discussed with Will and Will there are also difficulties with becoming completely anonymous and as such I didn’t feel the need to become 100% anonymous. Rather, I decided to just draw a clear line between my profiles, in order to achieve a degree of authenticity.

Self-Made with Canva (2018)

Whilst Iarina mentioned that LinkedIn hadn’t helped her, I thought it was a good idea to join so that future employers wouldn’t be left with a void where my name once was, and so I could engage in self-promotion (Van Dijck, 2016). When doing so, I used a different picture from my social profile to separate the identities.

Self-Made with Canva (2018)


Furthermore, I discussed with Joanna about the particular details which employers find unattractive on social media (Workopolis, 2015) – and most notable for me was that employers really disliked the use of profane language. As I use my  social media to frequently discuss football, I’m often caught in the moment and guilty of using profane language. Bearing this in mind, I decided to change the privacy settings of my account to keep it from prying eyes – especially considering the Sacco saga (Ronson, 2015)

Self-Made with Canva (2018)


Therefore, through studying digital identities I have been able to finally push on and embrace a lifestyle of multiple online identities. I am now moving forward with a professional profile on Twitter and LinkedIn (for employers), and continuing with my social profiles on Twitter and Facebook (with increased privacy settings). However, as I outlined in my initial post, the real difficulty isn’t establishing these profiles – it is maintaining them. This difficulty will be aided by Chloe’s recommended book – as outlined below!

Wish me luck!

Word Count (excluding in-line citations): 299 words.


Link to my comment on Will’s blog –

Link to my comment on Joanna’s blog –

Link to my reply to Will on my own blog –

Link to my reply to Iarina on my own blog –

Link to my reply to Chloe on my own blog –


Van Dijck, J., (2013) ‘‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn’, Media Culture and Society

Workopolis, (2015) –  “The three things that employers want to find out about you online” , Workopolis.

Ronson, J., (2015) –  “How one stupid tweet ruined Justine Sacco’s Life” , The New York Times.

Parsons, J., (2018) – “New Perspectives on Computer Concepts 2018: Comprehensive” , Cengage




Tom, meet Professional Tom.

Privacy is crucial in a democracy, and shouldn’t be conflated with wrongdoing (Solove, 2007). However, as the adoption of the internet has increased, symbiotically the amount of privacy has decreased. Faced with this problem, individuals have started to separate their once unified identity into separate profiles – often for professional or privacy goals. Consequently, we will analyse whether this practice is beneficial and sustainable!

For privacy purposes

By having multiple profiles one benefits from increased privacy – especially if some of the additional profiles are anonymous. By having multiple potentially anonymous accounts it keeps information about you distributed and/or private – meaning you are less vulnerable to Snowden-esque spying, or collection by firms like Cambridge Analytica. This distribution of information can combat the automatic sorting of individuals which often “reinforce stereotypes that have the potential to stigmatise and facilitate suspicion discrimination and even oppression.” (Feltwell et al., 2016). Furthermore, these profiles can reduce your risk of identity theft in a society where everyone else’s keeps rising (CiFas, 2017) – which can only be good!

However, using multiple identities can sometimes seem inappropriate – as it creates an unreliable image.

For employment purposes:

Additionally, with 70% of employers now checking your social media before hiring you (CareerBuilder, 2017), keeping separate identities is attractive. This can be achieved by using a professional networking site like LinkedIn for self-promotion (work) and Facebook for self-expression (social) (Van Dijck, 2013). However, doing so comes with drawbacks:


Whilst Zuckerberg may claim operating various identities lacks “integrity”, this is not surprising considering his data-mining motives. Further, having multiple accounts merely mirrors the offline contrast between ‘front of stage’ and ‘back stage’ behaviour (Billingham, 2013). Additionally, the time consuming manner of maintaining multiple profiles has been reduced by technological developments. Therefore, I feel that keeping various profiles – private professional and anonymous – is the best way of maintaining an online identity – as long as you are conscious of the obstacles!

Self-Made with Canva

Word Count (excluding in-line citations and headings): 296 words


Video references:

[A] Salm, L., ‘70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media profiles’, CareerBuilder

[B] Vicknair, J., Elkersh, D., Yancey, K., Budden, M., (2010)  ‘The Use Of Social Networking Websites As A Recruiting Tool For Employers’ American Journal of Business Education

[C] IdealistCareers, (2014) ‘How blogging can help you find your dream job’

Text references:

Billingham, L. Vasconcelos A., (2013) ‘‘The presentation of self in the online world’: Goffman and the study of online identities’

Salm, L., (2017) ‘70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media profiles’, CareerBuilder

Cifas, (2017) ‘Identity fraud soars to new levels’ Cifas Newsroom

Feltwell, T., Lawson, S., Kirman, Benjamin J,. (2016) ‘Managing Multiple Identities to Combat Stigmatisation in the Digital Age. In: Proceedings of Workshop on Everyday Surveillance:ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems’ (CHI)

Van Dijck, J., (2013) ‘‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn’, Media Culture and Society

Solove, D., (2007) ‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy’ San Diego Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 745,


Reflection on Fake News

Credit: Snopes

Coming into a topic about ‘fake news’ I thought it was a chance for me to educate, as I considered myself adept in identifying fake news. However, over the course of this topic, I learnt a lot.

I had discussed with friends that artificial intelligence could be a solution to fake news. However, over this topic I sided with the view that artificial intelligence couldn’t safely create a solution in the foreseeable future. I highlighted this hesitant flirtation in my comment on Stephanie’s blog. Stephanie’s response was thought provoking, as fake news has largely utilised technology, and as such it is hard to see how it will fix the problem – likely only creating more confusion.

Credit: Self-made with Piktochart, 2018

Having concluded that technology was not THE solution, I felt that the best approach was continued education of individuals. Reading Lakshay’s blog, I considered how echo-chambers contribute to fake news due to confirmation bias, and discussed Lakshay the difficulty of getting individuals to leave these chambers. Ultimately, I think the best solution is to force service providers to fact check, and expose users to diverse range of sources, whilst also ensuring we teach individuals how to check for themselves.

In terms of my individual progress, using the steps outlined in my initial post, I revisited my bibliography for my upcoming dissertation, and decided against including the article below:

The currency was not important. However, the reliability seemed problematic- there were no references, and very few sources agreed that Hungarian Parliament had ever considered banning encryption. Furthermore, looking into the author, he had no credentials in this field. Lastly, the author wrote various sensationalist pieces, and as such the purpose of the piece was likely to get clicks and not reliably inform.

Therefore, this topic has been both theoretically thought-provoking and practically useful.

Word count: 297

Link to my first comment on Stephanie’s blog:

Link to my comment on Lakshay’s post:



Are YOU contributing to fake news?


Bertrand Russell once said

“Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.”.

However, this is easier said than done. It seems that on a deep psychological level, we are attracted to clickbait and sensationalist headlines, which leaves us vulnerable to believing false information. Especially when we consider that lies travel faster than truth (Vosoughi et al, 2018).

Pictured: Fake news travels faster.
Credit: Self-made with PiktoChart

As fake news has developed, it has shifted away from celebrity death hoaxes towards politically charged stories. There are ‘bots’ which are “effective in attacking, hijacking, and altering discourse on social networking sites” (Wagner, et al., 2012),  and some believe this fake news was crucial in Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 USA election (Parkinson, 2016).

Identifying the power of fake news, organisations such as PolitiFact and Snopes attempt to categorise stories by their validity. Similarly, social-media sites started “punishing” those who publish false information. However, there will always be fake news so it’s crucial that individuals improve their own manual skills of identification.

Whilst Facebook and FullFact have published guides to identifying fake news, I outline an alternative approach to evaluating authenticity and reliability of news below:

Credit: Self-made with Biteable. Source for confidence on news: Statista.
If you can’t remember the steps – just save the image below and refer to it when in doubt!

Credit: Self-made with Pitkochart, 2018.

From these questions, one should look for the news to be:

  • Up to date
  • Backed up by additional sources
  • Credited to an author and publisher who have a good reputation.
  • Looking to inform without huge bias.

I concur with Coughlan that we should educate children about “fake news”(Coughlan, 2018), and this could be achieved through a game, as suggested by Cambridge researchers. These skills will prove as crucial as reading and writing.

In conclusion, it seems identifying reliable sources cannot be fixed by technology itself. Therefore, it is crucial that we follow the “CRAP” process, and check fact-checking sites, before we share, or even believe, things we read online.


Word Count (excluding in-line citations): 300 words.


B. Russell, (1951). The Best Answer to Fanaticism–Liberalism. The New York Times

B. Gardiner, (2015). You’ll be outraged at how easy it was to get you to click on this headline. 

C. Wagner, S. Mitter, C. Körner, and M. Strohmaier, (2012). When social bots attack: Modeling susceptibility of users in online social networksProceedings of the WWW ’12 Workshop on ‘Making sense of microposts

S. Coughlan (2017). Schools should teach pupils how to spot ‘fake news’. BBC News

H. Robinson (2016). Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election. The Guardian.

S. Vosoughi, D. Roy, S. Aral (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science Mag



Reflection: How do we tackle digital differences?

Before this topic, I had not considered digital differences. I had accepted inequality and discrimination offline but never stopped to consider the effects it may have online. However, I am now able to appreciate that there are a multiplicity of factors which ultimately make our digital experience’s different.

Despite concluding I was not negatively impacted by any of the factors, I felt that there was a huge need to actually do something. At the end of my initial post, I flirted with the concept of making internet access a human right. However, as Bivash pointed out, a Human Rights based approach is not a simple solution as access to the internet in third world countries can often lead to an increase in piracy – something which I simply hadn’t considered. Furthermore, the reality of actually implementing internet access as a right was highlighted by Iarina’s evocative reply to me on her blog. Iarina highlighted how in Romania, they had implemented fibre optics in a village with no electricity – and suddenly the internet wasn’t so important!

Exampled: Right to Internet without access to other amenities Credit:

Coming from a legal background, I am sometimes guilty of thinking about a theoretical change as it may appear on paper – but not fully considering the realities of it. Therefore, as I discussed with Megan (only with specific reference to gender), I’ve concluded a broad “human right” is not the solution to digital inequality, and we are better off having specific measures for each factor, as there are a variety which have to be tackled, so there is unlikely to be a “one size fits all” approach. According to Pew , between 2001 and 2016, internet usage has increased throughout most groups (Pew, 2012) – so we are moving in the right direction and must keep going.




My comment on Iarina’s blog here.
My comment on Megan’s blog here.



Zickuhr, K., & Smith A. (2012). Digital Differences, Pew Internet



Are we really that different?

Credit: Self made with PitkoChart


‘Inequality’ springs racism, sexism and classism to mind. However, it’s time we accepted that digital inequality deserves a place alongside more traditional forms of inequality (Robinson et al., 2015). As whilst an ability to access the internet can provide advantages in various aspects of life, from academic performance to entrepreneurship (Robinson et al, 2015) its use is not always a free choice (Halford and Savage, 2010).

Often, factors determining internet usage are out of our control. For instance, a mere 41% of people over 65 use the internet (Pew, 2011). Additionally, young women are more likely to receive abuse online (Lutz and Hoffmann, 2016). Furthermore, location heavily impacts physical ability to access the web (Pew, 2011). One is unable to choose the era or location of their birth, or their gender – so why should they limit their digital potential?

These are but a few of the factors – so to see if I had been negatively impacted, I analysed myself:

Credit: Self Made with PiktoChart

I’m lucky – the factors of digital inequality have not negatively impacted my life – rather the macro (location, economic status, age) and individual (motivation, familial and societal role) factors have allowed me to prosper. I’ve never experienced online “trolling”, nor have I been hacked – which often can perturb internet users (Halford, Davies & Dixon, 2017).

However, I remain concerned by the impact which they are having on others.

Preventing these factors impeding usage is crucial if we are to complete a transition into a digital society. Otherwise, the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” will only widen. It’s important we ensure our society, as a whole, are able to walk before we allow the luckiest few to run – else it’s an unfair race.

Credit: Self made with Piktochart

Preparatory steps have already been taken, with talk of internet access becoming a human right (La Rue, 2011), but we must ensure more is done to prevent a new form of inequality becoming prevalent in our society – even if we aren’t personally affected.




Word Count (Excluding in-line citations): 297


Robinson, L., & Cotten, S., Ono, H., Quan-Haase, A., Mesch, G., Chen, W., Schulz, J., Hale, T. and Stern, M. (2015). Digital inequalities and why they matter. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), pp.569-582.

Lutz, C., & Hoffmann, C. P. (2017). The dark side of online participation: exploring non-, passive and negative participation. Information, Communication & Society, 1-22.

Zickuhr, K., & Smith A. (2012). Digital Differences, Pew Internet

Halford, S. & Davies, H. & Dixon, J. (2012). Digital differences – inequalities and online practices, University of Southampton/ FutureLearn MOOC

La Rue, F. (2011). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, United Nations General Assembly A/HRC/17/27

Reflection: Do I live here now?


Prior to the introductory topic, I’d have considered myself to be “digital” in every way, shape and form. Subconsciously, I was aligned with Prenksy’s rather ageist theory.

However, my subsequent exposure to White’s theory  converted my mind, and I started a reflection of digital life more broadly.

Through the mapping process, I accepted that I was “digitally deficient” in some areas. Attempting to remedy these deficiencies, I created some images for my blog post. After posting them Xavier described me as “fairly comfortable” with creating graphics – which brought a real sense of achievement. Additionally, I had an enjoyable conversation with Tom, where we discussed whether residency was really the key to “empowerment” or if it was possible for negative effects to ensue from complete residency. Whilst we agreed to disagree, there was great value in seeing both sides of the coin. Further, in reading Jeremy’s post not only was I exposed to interesting views, but to a different style of blogging. I highlighted my admiration for the humorous and conversational style in my comment and will consider it in the future.

When recently asked where I’d like to improve I highlighted “participating in professional digital communities”. My experience in the introductory topic has left me feeling I’m in good stead to achieve this progression. With great insight, comments and interaction with my peers we’re creating a community of our own. This community will not only benefit us for this module, or our time at University, but for the rest of our lives – as it allows discussion on specific topics which, despite impacting our lives, we tend not to analyse. For example, in this topic, the ability to critically analyse myself and consider my prejudices surrounding others in their digital usage will prove hugely transferable to different areas.


My comment on Jeremy’s blog here

My comment on Tom’s blog here


Word count: 300

Am I a digital visitor or a digital resident?

In 2001, Prensky proposed that people born into the digital era would be “digital natives”, whilst those born after were “digital immigrants” who were likely to ‘manage to learn to exist but will never be fully competent'(Prensky 2001).

Despite initial credence, Prensky’s ageist theory rightly came under strain from critics. It was argued that whilst a proportion of young people are highly adept with technology, “there is also a significant proportion who do not have the skills predicted by the “digital native” theory” (Bennet et al, 2008). This results in a danger of neglect if educators assume all young students are “digital natives” (Margaryan and Littlejohn, 2008).

Most pertinently was the criticism from White and Le Cornu, who opined that “digital visitor” and “digital resident” provided more useful metaphors (White and Le Cornu, 2011), as they avoid avoid the assumption that age is the key determinant of how individuals utilise the digital landscape.

Under this theory, visitors are likely to log on solely to do a task and then log off – they are focused and specific, but also sceptical, on the web (White, 2008). In contrast, residents are happy being online simply to spend time with others, and even when they log off  “an aspect of their persona remains.” (White 2011). For White, these modes operated as a spectrum, not opposites.

White explains in detail below:

Using White’s theory, I applied my own digital identity to the spectrum:


These images allow me to assess where my digital shortcomings are. Whilst a digital resident in some personal aspects, I’m a visitor professionally – accessing for a purpose and logging off.  In order to fulfil my potential, I need to improve this aspect and integrate professional services into my everyday life. My position illustrates the benefit of White’s spectrum over Prenksy’s opposites, as I lie not at either pole, rather in the middle – in spite of my apparent “native” status.


Word Count (Excluding in-line citations): 300


Prenksy, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital ImmigrantsOn the Horizon. MCB University Press,  9(5).

Bennett, S., Maton, K. and Kervin, L. (2008), The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39: 775–786.

Margaryan, A., Littlejohn, A. (2008) Are digital natives a myth or reality?: Students’ use of technologies for learning. Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University,

White, D., Le Cornu, A. (2011), Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagementFirst Monday, Volume 16, Number 9

White, D., Visitors and Residents,

White, D. (2008), Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. University of Oxford TALL Blog.