Over the past few months we have spent a lot of time developing and perfecting our digital skills. With the help of the continuous assignments and milestones we had to reach, we were able to explore in depth social media and the fast changing new and existing software’s and applications, which shape us into being online savvy with each click. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with instructions due to changed policies, new interface and website layouts, but overall everything seemed intuitive once we played around with it.
Publishing through Social media was something we all found easy, after all we are generation Y, the millennials which grew up with social media sites like Facebook, Myspace and Tumblr. To us it seems easy because we’ve gotten into a routine of publishing our lives online. Looking at Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, and Zickuhr’s research (2010), in 2008 73% of adults had a profile on Facebook. We can just imagine how much that number has changes now, 9 years later.
Making a blog was not something I have done since I was a child, and seeing how much easier it has become made me really think about how much the user experience design of websites has evolved. Having learned more about the privacy policies and implications of my digital footprint, I am not sure if I will ever be making another blog about myself, however I can see how that is a good skill to have for a future online business. Knowing how to use free websites like WordPress is the first step to having a good looking blog and/or website to digitally market your commerce.
The topic of Socially Managing information was also something that felt familiar, bookmarking sites, online calendars that we share with the whole family and interactive maps are the future of simplistic information organisation. I found myself using Google’s interactive map tool when planning a trip around Ireland recently. Having the option to pin point places we wanted to visit and separate them into categories was an amazing feature, but what made the whole process extremely useful was the fact that multiple people can contribute to the “Travel Map” with just a few clicks from the comfort of their home. The interactive side of this tool and the others we observed in class is what really made them fit with the theme of socially managing information.
Presenting information visually is something we definitely can all improve on. It is a necessary part of our lives to know how to present information to other people and we are lucky to be living in a time where a lot of tools that can help us do so are free. Visualising information is not only useful, but sometimes essential when thinking about simplifying data that you want to convey. We explored a few tools that show us that the simplest things on earth could be turned into something amazing if we put creativity and effort into working on them. David McCandless’s book is a real life example of that.
It is important here to outline again the benefit of having an easy to use interface, which was the case with most of the applications we looked at. Having a great tool for creating, editing or managing information is amazing, however if the user cannot figure out easily how to work with the tool, the tool itself comes of little use. I feel as though not enough people benefit from tools such as the ones we looked at in class due to the misconception that they are hard to use and take a lot of time.
I have always been really interested in new and different information visualisation tools. Back in high school presentations were a regular and people that had spent some time into the way they had chosen to present information were always more appreciated and applauded. Teachers encouraged us to use tools such as Prezi, that looked different, more professional and were steering away from the traditional Power Point presentations. Infographics are something I found out how to do in college and is a skill that will definitely go on the record as being advantageous. No matter what you do in life, there will at some point be a time where you need to display your ideas into a short format that is more easily perceived (Patterson, 2016), and the information visualisation tools we looked at in class are perfect for that.
Social media management tools, such as the Buffer application, Hootsuite and many others, are no longer utilised only by business. Activity management analytics would be most useful for online commerce/ digital marketing profiles, as among other things it helps them monitor how their customers are reacting the business (McCabe, 2010). We are seeing however, more and more people applying these principles to their daily social media accounts, by scheduling posts and organising their feed.
Tracking our digital footprint is where things get scary. It is true that we all just click “agree” when it comes to reading the boring and long T&Cs. We accept the fact that we do not know what they are and continue with the use of the chosen platform. The scary part comes from the fact that we not only don’t realise, but completely ignore the small print of what we give up when we use said social media platform. It is also alarming to see that amongst those that do not read the privacy policies is a huge chunk of teens, who more than ever choose to share information about themselves on social media sites (Madden, 2013).
Going forward, I am glad that this course gave us all the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with a range of social computing applications. We can now all identify, evaluate and implement them in our own work, but also for an organisation. There is a lot more ways that one can share and manage information online than we are exposed to on a daily level, and it is refreshing to have a look at tools and applications that we wouldn’t have come across, or wouldn’t have known we needed. Such tools can be used to further accompany our learning and to disseminate knowledge. However, all online applications should be critically assessed to ensure there is not too great of a trade-off between the sharing of personal data and use. An example of that would be Prezi’s presentations, for which in order for the typical student (that strictly prefers free tools) to make a presentation through the site they have to publish it online for all to see, find, use and reuse.
We always have to remember to take it all with a grain of salt, critically evaluating the social media platforms we choose to use and being digitally literate about how we are paying for the free services we practice. We always need to consider how and what we are posting online, keeping in mind that this information, once on the internet will most likely always be there forever. But above all we need to be more careful about our privacy.
Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social Media & Mobile Internet Use among Teens and Young Adults. Millennials. Pew internet & American life project
Patterson, J. (Ed.). (2016, March 13). Why data visualisation of social analytics is the next frontier for publishers. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Fipp: http://www.fipp.com/news/features/why-data-visualisation-of-social-analytics-is
McCabe, L. (2010, March 4). What is Social Media Management, and Why Should You Care? Retrieved May 5, 2017, from http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/emarketing/article.php/3868601/What-is-Social-Media-Management-and-Why-Should-You-Care.htm
Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013). Teens, social media, and privacy. Pew Research Center, 21, 2-86.