Final Blogpost and Visual Essay

For my final blogpost I am going to give a brief overview of my visual essay. Rather than discuss the video in detail, I want to outline which aspects of this topic jumped out at me and why I decided to do my essay on the topic of social media and participatory culture.

I think the video is self explanatory so I have attached the link to it here:

First of all, I was really interested in Antero Garcia’s article: ‘Beautiful Dark Twisted Pedagogy: Kanye West and the Lessons of Participatory Culture’. I found it eye opening that the music industry was beign rapidly affected by social media and that it was the artists that were able to regain control by utilising the online tools such as facebook and twitter. The article highlighted the ways that Kanye West was able to engage with his fans and create hype around his album. It also inspired me to look into other artists and other ways of using social media. I suddenly realised that my favourite artist Beyonce had just done a similar thing with her self titled visual album. I researched this and her reasons for releasing it without any previous promotion and decided that these two artists would form the basis for my essay.

I then looked further into the world of participatory culture and the leading voice on it seemed to be Henry Jenkins. I read a number of his articles and gained as much knowledge as I could which informed my understanding of why Beyonce and Kanye West released their albums the way that they did. Jenkins research also gave me a greater understanding of how social media worked and the impact it has on our every day lives and the industries that form our society.

Both issues were extremely interesting to me so I decided to combine both aspects in my essay.

I have included a list of References which include the works I read and used to form my essay and also links to all the pictures used in the video.

Garcia, A. (2013). Beautiful Dark Twisted Pedagogy: Kanye West and the Lessons of Participatory Culture. Radical Teacher, 97(0), 30–35.

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. The MIT Press. Retrieved from (pages2-11)
Jenkins, H. (2006). Fans, bloggers, and gamers : exploring participatory culture. New York: New York University Press.
Concepcion.M. ‘Why have sales of Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ declined so drastically?’ 23 December 2010.Online Article. Retrieved from:
Beyonce’s explanation of self titled album. Available on Youtube at:

Images all courtesy of Flickr:

Sean MacEntee. ‘Social Media’. 26 November 2010. Online Image. Flickr.
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Timothy Greig. ‘participatory culture media education’. 28 October 2006. Online Image. Flickr.
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Otis Admissions. ‘Henry Jenkins and Stephen Duncombe (Otis College Ben Maltz Gallery)’ 11 February 2008. Online Image. Flickr.
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Fabiano Campos. ‘Beyoncé – I am.. Sasha Fierce’. 9 January 2011. Online Image. Flickr.
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Luiz Fernando Reis. ‘Beyonce show 01’. 22 July 2012. Online Image. Flickr
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S ‘Beyonce – Movistar Arena – 14 Feb’. 14 February 2010. Online Image. Flickr.
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NRK P3. ‘Kanye West’. 14 March 2008. Online Image. Flickr.
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rodrigoferrari. ‘Kanye West 03’. 3 April 2011. Online Image. Flickr.
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Jason Persse. ‘Kanye West @ MoM’. 10 May 2011. Online Image. Flickr.
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Scott Beale. ‘Twitter’. 23 June 2010. Online Image. Flickr.

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Blogpost 8 – Summary of influences in learning

For my final blogpost I am going to discuss and look at the way the other members of the class and twitter influenced my learning and also assess how I contributed to others learning. Firstly, each week we were asked to comment on two blogposts. The blogs were on the same topics as I had written about and I tried to make sure that I provided some positive feedback with some constructive next steps. Each week I commented on two blogs by girls in my class: and

In return, both of these girls commented on my blogposts. I found the peer assessment really useful because it enabled us to see what other people in the class thought of the topics, provided various different viewpoints and also meant that we got feedback on each post each week which would pick up on aspects that we had missed or not included. It also worked well as a social learning experience because you got to know how that person thought through the duration of the module and the blogs were a good way of tracking another class member’s progress and opinions.

Twitter played a large role in influencing my learning and I also utilised twitter to try and provide new readings/viewpoints for the class. Our lecturer used twitter a lot to post interesting articles or link to her blog: which was a useful tool because there was interesting information about the digital world and provided another perspective. I also used twitter to find videos or articles that related to our topics. I found and shared a link to a TED talk about digital identity:

I also shared the link of my blog each week on twitter to further readership access and also allow other members of the class to read it and comment. I think using twitter was useful for my learning because it provided access to a whole host of other materials and information that was relevant to the class and topics and also because other university lecturers who were taking us for different classes could see what we were doing in this class and how it linked with the rest of the modules.

The most influential aspect of my learning was through the use of new tools though, things like google hangouts, wikispace and all of these influenced me to think about how to incorporate these aspects in the classroom and with children once I become a teacher. I also think the peer comments were an excellent way of deepening our understanding of the topics because you had to critically engage with the others blogs in order to leave appropriate, useful and constructive comments.


Blogpost 7- Visual Essay Topic

For our final assessment for this module, we have been asked to create a visual essay based on one of the topics we have explored throughout the term. We have looked at a range of digital aspects such as digital immigrants vs natives and whether digital citizenship exists and also at aspects of privacy.

The topic that caught my eye was remix content and participatory culture. I was really intrigued by all the different aspects that participatory culture covered and wanted to further investigate all the platforms online that allowed content to be shared. After some research, I found I was most drawn to the ways that both the music industry and the television industry make use or manipulate the internet to their advantage. Therefore, I am going to make a short visual essay which looks at how the internet helps to generate user engagement with the music and television industries and demonstrate how this is beneficial for all users. Firstly, I want to look at how artists like Beyoncé and Kanye West utilised the internet to engage with their fans worldwide and also to create excitement around their new albums. I want to explore how having a platform such as the internet to allow others to share content is hugely beneficial as it can encourage creativity and unlock other potentials. Although I won’t have time to cover it in my essay, I was interested in how the internet gives access to literature otherwise unreachable. Thousands of academic journals are now online which before would have not been accessible.6001689609_32439efeb6_o


The other aspect I plan to look at is how television has mostly embraced the internet and has created websites which allow for online streaming of their tv shows and how social media interacts with the television industry. . For example, allowing users to watch tv shows at a time convenient to them means they are more likely to get more viewers and more people ‘tweeting’ about certain shows which generates interest and more business. I aim to show in the essay how the internet benefits this industry and creates more business opportunities. Hopefully I will be able to fit all of this into my visual essay but it will be a trial and error process until I get to grips with what a visual essay should look like, we also have to make it fairly short so the finished project may only cover one or two of the aspects I’ve spoken about in this post. After submitting the visual essay, I will post the link to view it on here.


Beyonce picture from Beyonce 4 Certified Platinum
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Kanye West picture from rodrigoferrari Kanye West 03

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iPlayer picture from Michael Callachan. BBC iplayer – Fluid Icon

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Blogpost 6 – Does privacy exist in an online/virtual world?

Does putting a status/picture on a social network site mean we forfeit our rights to privacy?

Gurses and Diaz ask a very pertinent question ‘Can users have reasonable expectations of privacy in online social networks?’ (2013)
Recent sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and apps such as Snapchat and Grinder allow people to have a prominent online presence and be who they want to be in a virtual world. However, what a lot of people fail to realise is that every photo, status or location update that they upload to the web, stays on the web. This information can be used by whichever company or corporation that manages to get its hands on it and can pass it on to other companies or use it for their own purposes. This then means that information that internet users thought was only staying on their ‘wall’ or Instagram profile is then used by companies for profit or other means. Boyd (2010) also talks about what happens when you put information online and how it is used by those who ‘own’ your information. She mentions a few instances where people update their location or ‘check in’ and its led to unfortunate circumstances. She gives a good example of a website that links user profiles to their check in’s and basically lets the world know when that person’s house is empty – making it an easy target for burglary.

In my experience, social networks and social media sites can create a barrier to privacy, particularly in relationships with friends, family or work mates. You need to be very careful what information you put online because it can be seen by those that you would rather didn’t see it. For example, people who phone in sick to work but make the mistake of putting pictures of the night before online where they might not be sick but just hungover. On interesting point that Boyd makes is that digital walls have ears and therefore whatever is typed or uploaded is tracked, recorded and can be traced back to you. Therefore, a private conversation between two people in the street will most likely stay private, unless one person tells someone else. However a private message, text or email between two people becomes data that is open to purchase and interpretation by the world wide web.

Another important point made by Boyd is that there is a massive difference between making something public (uploading to the web) and having something publicized. There have been instances I’ve seen where someone shares a friend’s status on Facebook and then all of a sudden it has thousands of views/likes/comments and yet the person that made the initial status has no control over who has access to the status and it becomes something which is personally tied to them but which they cannot control. Therefore online safety is compromised. Although I have only discussed the negative aspects of social media sites and being tracked online, there are some positive aspects. Gurses and Diaz discuss how social media can be a driving force of political change, they allow people to have a voice or form a movement which can make a difference. Online surveillance also provides governments with tools to keep track of its citizens in a way that enables them to protect other citizens ie track terrorists online activity or track IP addresses of those that have been committing online fraud. The issue we have is that we do not know which information is being recorded and used and for what purpose. This then means online surveillance appears to be an infringement on our privacy.


boyd, d. (2010). danah boyd | apophenia » Speaking about Privacy and Publicity. Retrieved from
Gurses, S., & Diaz, C. (2013). Two tales of privacy in online social networks. IEEE Security Privacy, 11(3), 29–37.

Blogpost 5 -Digital Citizenship – Our role as Teachers

Over the past decade, there has been growing concern about the dangers that technology and the internet pose for children and adolescents. There are dangers for adults as well but a lot of the recent literature has focussed on children as they are the ones that need to be educated about digital citizenship from an early age in order to protect them from negative online experiences. In this blog, I am going to change the focus from my previous blog posts and concentrate on how I, as a teacher, will ensure that the students in my class are using the internet safely.

There are various definitions of digital citizenship but it mainly ‘describes the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology’ (Ribble, 2008) There are several key elements of digital citizenship and they all involve being mindful of what you post and share online. There are nine elements which are widely recognised, with some differentiation on a few, but they include (d. for digital ) d. access, d. commerce , d. communication, d. literacy, d. etiquette, d. law, d. rights and responsibilities, d. health and wellness and d. security. They are grouped together under three headings: Respect, Educate and Protect. (Ribble, 2004)

As teacher’s, we have a responsibility to prepare our students with life skills. One of the way’s we can try to ensure that students are being responsible online is by having continuous dialogue with them and modelling good online behaviour. As technology overtakes various aspects in the classroom, we need to be mindful of how we present information to the class which will be used online. We also need to ensure that we consistently reiterate the importance of being safe online. An article by Danah Boyd focusses on how social media affects the teenage youth. She focusses on privacy, identity and teen’s ‘obsession’ with the online world. One aspect that she pays a lot of attention to is the danger of engaging in sexual behaviour online. She claims that there’s ‘a strong correlation between risky online practices and psychosocial problems, family issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and trouble in school.’ (Boyd, 2014, p112)8691083341_eeed8050ca_z

Therefore, it’s imperative that, we as teachers actively monitor our students and try to be aware that changes in behaviour/actions could be an underlying reason of other aspects such as risky online behaviour. We need to ensure that we are demonstrating the dangers of engaging in such activities so that the students know what to look out for. It is also imperative that we provide support to pupil’s who may suffer from psychosocial problems so that they don’t seek support from strangers online.

The main issue teacher’s face is keeping up to date with all the changes in technology in order to effectively prepare students for online dangers. As Culhane (2014, p10) states ‘staff knowledge and understanding about the capabilities of digital technology and what students are able to do needs to be kept informed and live.’ Therefore, armed with the right knowledge, teachers will be aware of the potential of misuse and risks and can assist then ensure that students are developing proactive and responsible on line behaviour.
One tool teacher’s can use to convey important information to pupils is youtube which has a lot of informative videos about different aspects of internet safety. is a really good website which has resources that are suitable for children and young people. I have attached a youtube video which would be good to show teenager’s about an aspect like cyberbulling.


Ribble, Mike,. Passport to Digital Citizenship,

Ribble, Mike, Digital Citizenship Using Technology Appropriately

Boyd, D. (2014). It’s Complicated : the social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Culhane, J. (2014) Sabbatical Report – Digital Citizenship
To investigate how schools could manage the development of Digital Citizenship

across a child’s time at school as a key competency and in the growing context of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Picture by Mansi Goenka, School Posters on Internet Safety, 2009
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Blogpost 4: Remixing content – the good, the bad and the ugly

For this blog post, I am going to focus on the culture of remixing content. I will look at the ethical issues regarding this culture and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of making content freely available online.

Each day, the internet provides a platform for people to upload thousands of files. These can take any form: images, music tracks, blog posts etc. New data is generated so frequently and on such a mass scale that it is impossible to keep track of everything. To demonstrate this point I have included a link to a website which shows exactly how much data is uploaded to the internet in just one second:

Given the scale of the internet, it has become increasingly difficult to prevent internet users from stealing others content or images. Nowadays, many aspects of media are remixed, recreated and reused. There are many advantages to making content freely available online and everyone who uploads their content to the internet is agreeing to share it with the world. This is something I am always mindful of when I upload a picture or tweet or comment on Facebook. However, there are also disadvantages and the main problems arise when other users download content and do not credit the original source.

The main advantage of making content freely available online is that it encourages other internet users to contribute and can be well utilised to raise an artist’s profile or highlight a particular issue or even boost a business. Garcia writes extensively about Kanye West’s use of digital tools to create hype, enthusiasm and excitement around his new album. He argues that West’s decision to release, free of charge, some of his new tracks helped to engage fans and sustain interest worldwide. He demonstrates that this is the perfect example of making content freely avaible as, in this case, it prevented leaks of his new material.


Each time someone uploads content to the internet, they become part of a community. These participatory platforms have taken on a culture of their own. They provide affinity spaces which offer powerful opportunities for learning and help to bridge age, class, race and gender differences. (Gee, 2004) They also allow access to ‘the means of creative expression and the networks of supporting artistic distribution.’ (Jenkins, 2009)

As Jenkins mentions support for artistic distribution is crucially important. Not only does it enable rather than inhibit creative content generation (since more people will be willing to upload original content), but it also allows others to remix content in a proper and legal way. Unfortunately, if content is made freely available online, there is always a risk that the original source will not be credited. In this case, content can often be used inappropriately. It can be taken out of context and manipulated. Often videos/images can be edited in particularly ways to make something appear differently to how it should.

As well as remixing content and failing to credit the original source, Jenkins highlights that students often lack developed standards of distinguishing between professional and amateur sites. Therefore, the freely available content is often not reliable or trustworthy and as Hobbs (2006) states with the ease of access to information, it is increasingly difficult to establish the truth value of content. This is especially bad for students who use the internet to inform their studies since they are often not gaining information from reputable academic sites leading them to acquire inaccurate information.

Unfortunately, copyright law is struggling to keep up with the pace of the internet and as mentioned, it has become increasingly easy to remix someone else’s work without crediting the original source. Although providing freely available information is beneficial to enhancing creativity worldwide, it is arguably more important that users/content generators gain the appropriate recognition for their work. One site which has been created to help to combat the licensing/copyright minefield is Creative Commons. I have included a link to their website and have ensured that all images on this blog adhere to their regulations.

Further reading: Brief look at the ethics of remix culture available at:

Here is a youtube video of one of my favourite mash ups! Only 1:47 so worth a watch/laugh


Garcia, A. (2013). Beautiful Dark Twisted Pedagogy: Kanye West and the Lessons of Participatory Culture. Radical Teacher, 97(0), 30–35.

Gee, Hobbs and Jenkins from Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. The MIT Press. Retrieved from (pages2-11)

Picture by David Shankbone, Kanye West Shankbone 2009 Vanity Fair

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Blogpost 3: Digital Identity

In this blog post I am going to explore the arguments for and against having more than one digital identity. I will look at two types of identities and explore how they are both used and to what purpose. I would like to start by defining what is meant by digital identity. According to Williams, Fleming, Lundqvist and Parslow a digital identity is the representation of a person in a digital environments, particularly in relation to the characteristics of that person.

In our current society, two types of digital identities are often used: the personal and the professional. it is not uncommon for people to personify themselves online in two different ways based on whether they are communicating with friends and family or whether they are posting in a professional context. I have recently started to use twitter and have decided that I will use it mainly for educational purposes. Therefore, I will post things relating to education but will keep my own opinions and political views separate. By contrast, I use facebook for my personal use and will not be adding contacts from my professional network to my friend list.



According to Madden, 12% of the employed adult population (in the United States) market themselves online for their job. They personify themselves online in a very specific way. They use sites that highlight the skills and attributes which directly relate to their profession. They are much more likely to market themselves on sites such as LinkedIn than they would be to use facebook. Madden also shows us that the second most popular reason to search for people online is to recruit their services such as lawyers or plumbers. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to offer professional services online.

In order to showcase yourself online in a professional context, it is important to monitor your digital footprint. The argument for having two separate identities (one personal, one professional) online would be to ensure that your professional personae is not compromised by your personal personae. If you market yourself online as a professional, it is important to ensure that all aspects of your professional footprint are exactly that – professional. You do not want those embarrassing photos or controversial opinions to be directly linked to your job or business.

If you want to use the internet socially and have the freedom to post whatever you want online without the repercussions of an employer taking issue with what you post, it would be beneficial to have two separate profiles/accounts. In a recent lecture we received by Dr Lisa Harris, she highlighted how widespread the internet had become in the recruitment process. She explained how utilising social media sites such as twitter, LinkedIn and Vizify can help to build a professional picture of you. She also explained how lack of results when your name is searched could also be a bad thing because it could make the employer question why there is no information attached to you. Is this because you are not engaged with technology and the digital age at all, or is it because you have something to hide.


Having more than one digital identities provides a platform to present yourself as a professional but also allows you the freedom to present your own views and post photos that you would prefer not to be shown in a professional capacity.

Here I have included a link to a Ted Talk on digital identity as it gives another opinion and focus about this issue:

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Harris, L. (2014) Managing your professional digital profile (Online Lecture/ Powerpoint) (Picture also received from here)
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Madden, M. (2010, May 26). Reputation Management and Social Media. Retrieved from

Williams, S. A., Fleming, S. C., Lundqvist, K. O., & Parslow, P. N. (2010). Understanding your digital identity. Learning Exchange, 1(1). Retrieved from

Picture by Sean MacEntee, Social Media
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