All through high school and college, Wikipedia was my most-used resource to gather general information on any topic I planned on researching. I did not want to set-up a Wikipedia account, but upon further reading I learned that Wikipedia offered a number of other open knowledge projects:
I was amazed by all of the information gathered throughout these sources. As someone who often screenshots, or copies, interesting quotes I see or read, I was really interested in WikiQuote. Not only does it offer a Quote of the Day, it’s homepage has a collection of most-searched people, literary works, films and television. Along with this, they also offer quotes based on themes and places. I can imagine that I will one day spend entirely too much time on this website.
Aside from WikiQuote, I really enjoyed looking through WikiVoyage. As someone that loves traveling, travel guides are one of my favorite things to look through! I was so surprised to find out that all of these resources existed. I will definitely spend more time going through all of Wikipedia’s offerings!
Through my studies at the University of Edinburgh I have been given the chance to work with, and within, Collaborate. As an online student, being able to connect with my classmates and professors is an invaluable resource. Working through a master’s program with little to no contact with the university is a lonely, and often boring, task. While the discussion boards we participate through are helpful, being able to actively ask questions and listen to professors’ answers through Collaborate is a very useful tool. The presentations within Collaborate are easy to follow and allow users to input either verbally, or via text. Alongside this, users are able to hold a separate chat to ask questions without interrupting this speaker. This is especially because there are often two moderators: one who presents the information and one that oversees the group chat to ensure that all questions are being answered.
Like many people my age, I’ve had a Facebook profile for many years. Over that time I became more aware of the array of features that Facebook offers its users. One of these features is Facebook Groups. Since graduation, I have used Facebook Groups for a number of reasons, both professional and personal. One of my favorite things about it, is that you are able to connect professionally with a number of people you may not normally come in contact with, without having to share too much personal information. Facebook Groups allows you to send message members of the group without having to add them to your personal account. This is ideal for professional connections. If you are able to create a group that many people have access to, it broadens your ability to discuss important ideas, and shared goals, with individuals without having to let them into your personal profile.
Facebook Groups are easy to use and easy to maintain. Through my internship with the Borgen Project, many members were able to easily share campaign and outreach information and re-usable templates via Facebook Groups. Through this interface, volunteers and interns from all over the country were able to connect and discuss any successes or issues they were having throughout The Borgen Project’s program. This connection, without the need to share personal information, helped strengthen The Borgen Project by facilitating a space where interns and volunteers could support and challenge each other.
As I do not have a Twitter account, I opted to see what I could find without opening an account. I was surprised to see that I was able to access a great deal of this social media platform without a username. I’m not sure if this is something they have changed recently, but the link given in the Thing 7 prompt no longer makes finding the search function easy. Simply putting Twitter into your web browser yields their homepage which you cannot get past without logging in or signing up. I had to look up “Twitter search” to access any of the tweets and postings. Even with this search option, I was limited to seeing one hashtag at a time. This is obviously very different from the regular users experience. As a Twitter account holder you are able to customize your news feed and see the content you are interested, even if the hashtags are unrelated.
As a non-user, I don’t think that Twitter can be used very effectively, but if I had an account I would imagine that it would make networking and information gathering much much easier. The option to separate posts by topic or organization makes it simple to reach out to someone with a similar mindset or with a similar goal. While I was interning with The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization that focuses on making poverty alleviation central to foreign relation politics, Twitter was one of their main sources of outreach. Through Twitter, volunteers were able to reach out to their representatives, local news stations, and other users who wanted to promote the mission of The Borgen Project. I would imagine this model would be easy to replicate for other non and for-profit organizations.
This was an interesting topic for me to dive into because accessibility is something I didn’t realize I think about constantly. While there is nothing keeping me from accessing most websites and interfaces, some are definitely much more user friendly than others. As an iPhone user, I have the hardest time using my husband’s Android phone. The reason for this could be one of two things. Apple’s operating system, iOS, could in fact be much easier to use than Android (less likely), or I could just be used to Apple’s formatting (more likely). If it is in fact that I am just accustomed to it, and therefor I prefer it, this explains most people’s argument for brand loyalty. Device after device I consistently purchase Apple products.
The funny thing about everything I just said, is that when I was first given the option to switch from a PC to and Apple I was extremely hesitant because I thought their operating system was extremely difficult to navigate. This leads me to believe that being accustomed to something plays a large role in how accessible you find it.
Does the introduction of more diverse emojis really matter? My answer: kind of.
While I think that it’s important that companies are moving in the general direction of equality, I think that there is more that needs to be done. Is that the responsibility of a social media mogul? Maybe. The more importance we place on social media in our day to day lives, the more the answer to this question shifts to “yes”. As part of my New Year’s resolution, I gave up all forms of social media. This hiatus has reminded me how much importance we place on social media. Daily I run into conversations about headlines I haven’t heard, and changes to social media platforms that I haven’t witness. In all honesty, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on a great deal. All this to say that I think this shift toward more diverse emojis is going to be important for people who place importance on their emoji choice (who may still find things to complain about) and very little to those who don’t.
While I like that I am able to change up my emoji’s on my iPhone, I can’t say that this was a feature I was missing. Is this beige privilege? Maybe. I’m not white, but some may argue that I’m closer to white then black so these shifts affect me less. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. I have a hard time thinking about the importance of emoji diversity when other inequality issues seem more important, but I guess this is a start.
I have to say that when I dove into my iPhone privacy settings I was worried that something would surprise me. In actuality, I am pretty responsible when it comes to the number of applications I download and the data that I allow each application to use. With that said, I am also very aware of the fact that most of my information is out there to be seen by anyone with access to my email or phone number. Keeping that in mind, I know that most of the content I possess, and share, has the potential to be accessed by someone with or without my permission. For that reason, I downloaded an encryption app for my text messages and just accepted that most of my other data is fair game. This blog post has, however, opened the topic up in my mind and I will continue to use the university’s resources to learn more about how I can increase the security around my online presence.