Posts Tagged ‘identity’

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Class 6: Online communities

October 27, 2016
gentle-heron

Gentle Heron welcomes the class to Virtual Ability Island.

Gentle Heron hosted our visit to Virtual Ability Island this week. We gathered in the auditorium where she told us of the origin and development of the island. It was opened in 2007 to support a community enabling people with a wide range of disabilities to thrive in online virtual worlds like SL. Now, with a population of over 1,000 individuals from six continents (in Real Life) of varying abilities (not all are disabled) the community is vibrant and active. Although disability may be less apparent in SL where, for example avatars can walk even though their human counterparts may need a wheelchair, those with visual or hearing impairment require particular consideration.

The principles of universal design and access for all underpin the development of the environment so that colour schemes, landscaping, materials and access all promote integration – there is no segregation between the able and the disabled. You won’t find any stairs here, only ramps, colour schemes are soothing to promote calm stress-free engagement and support those with visual disability, while speech is accompanied by text in local chat so those with hearing impairment are not disadvantaged. The Virtual Ability website is worth a visit if you would like to read about the history and development.

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Some participants enjoying virtual refreshment during the visit to Virtual Ability Island.

Gentle spoke of the importance of community support in SL, in particular for people who may not be able to leave their homes in Real Life. Online communities may well provide their only means of socialising, getting informed, engaging with the wider world and influencing issues outside their immediate physical environment.

We then teleported to Cape Able to visit the art gallery. It hosts work by artists working in both RL and SL. We saw work by SL photographer Slatan Dryke. Next door is the virtual presence of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, with a Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition downstairs and pieces from its famed Masterpieces of American Indian Art upstairs.

imagine-magazine

Imagine Magazine, an SL periodical, published a profile on Gentle Heron in the November 2010 edition.

The final location we visited was Cape Serenity which hosts a library and poetry garden. The library has a selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama that can be read directly in SL, or in the form of notecards, or provide links to free downloads and websites. It features publications by residents writing about their direct experiences of disability and engagement. The poetry garden was the highlight of the evening. A beautifully serene place with birdsong, a pond, rabbits and birds wandering through panels displaying poems.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Write the sixth post: to your blog discussing the importance of regulation, convention and etiquette in online communities.
  2. Write the seventh post: to your blog describing how you have contributed to the theme of your group’s project and describing the group meetings held so far.
  3. Read: Digital identity development is a process, by Eric Stoller.
  4. Read: Syrian lesbian blogger is revealed conclusively to be a married man in the Guardian newspaper 2011.

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Class 5: personal branding – presence online

October 20, 2016

Class began with a review of the student groups. Some of the groups have been unable to make contact with one of their members so John suggested that we would consider the groups again next week. By then the pattern of class attendance will have emerged and if some realignment of membership is required we can do it then.

Most of the class have now joined the Facebook group and everyone agreed that it is a very useful way to keep in touch with class issues because most of us access the app regularly throughout the day. John asked how the group members intend to communicate online and it appears that many of you will use Facebook messenger. In addition to the advantage of regular checking it is also accessible across may platforms – phone, pc, tablet etc. This gives it an advantage over WhatsApp, WeChat and other apps that are limited to the phone.

Only some of you had read the articles posted here last week so there was a limited discussion on how employers might interact with employees who have a very public social media presence. In the four years since the Wall Street Journal article was published the landscape has changed so much that it appeared quite dated. However, it did begin a discussion about the ubiquity of social media and how our real lives are becoming synonymous with our online profiles. We will return to this subject next week.

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Lauk’s Nest, one of the oldest parks in Second Life, was built in 2004 by Laukosargas Svarog.

The class finished with a visit to Lauk’s Nest, one of the oldest natural parks in SL. Symeon Siamendes greeted us by offering cocktails and a notecard giving the history of the park. It was created only two years after the launch of SL itself, in 2004 and, almost uniquely for the virtual world, it has been sold to different owners four times since then. Each has maintained the integrity of the original creation.

John commenced disbursement of L$300 to each participant and said he would ensure everyone received their payment before class next week.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Look at: the infographic Personal Branding: 10 Steps to a New Professional You.
  2. Explore: Humans of New York Facebook page and related social media see how Brandon Stanton has used social media to make an impact- an example being his use of instagram, facebook, twitter alongside the blog. Take note of how he has identified and positioned himself.
  3. Read: about the Heron Sanctuary which we will be visiting next week. Virtual Ability Inc. 
  4. Write the fifth post: to your blog about how you might convert your personal presence online into an identity for professional networking.
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Class 2: Settling in

September 29, 2016

The class started out with some housekeeping. All participants were reminded to select the DIT Module group and activate it. This will allow us to keep in contact and also provide security and privacy for the class. We did have a stranger wander into the building during class and although he didn’t say anything it is distracting when somebody is walking around. John will restrict access to the DIT campus to DIT Module group members so remember to activate the group or you will not be able to get into class next week!

Seven of you had given John a link to your blogs during the week. All blogs included the first post and John commented on each one. Many of you also wrote something for the ‘about’ page. This is important because it gives visitors a hook, something to let them know who you are, your credentials, and why your opinion is valid, important, interesting or otherwise. Those of you who have not yet set up your blogs are now a week behind in the required activities so hurry up and get blogging! Don’t forget to send a link to John so it can be given on the Virtual Environments website. John also encouraged you to read each others blogs and comment on them: get used to engaging online, opening up conversations about shared interests, opposing views or anything else. You should also read about how and when the blog will be assessed so you focus your efforts appropriately. The first assessment point is now only two weeks away. You will be expected to have the first four posts made to your blog by then so get writing.

We had a discussion about the sample blogs given in last weeks class, looking at the variety of ‘voices’ and styles. You were asked to consider these and try to identify what the authors were trying to convey and how they supported this through the design of the blog, the tone of voice used in the writing, and other aspects of the blogs. The examples showed more serious academic style bogs, a professional blog clearly used as a marketing tool and a fun blog show casing images that appealed to the writer. Explore this further, find other blogs and attempt to identify the features that make them successful or otherwise.

A straw poll was taken to identify a social app we would use for notifying any last minute changes to class, letting you know when this summary is posted, and to use as a communication platform for any other issues that might arise outside class. Two apps were proposed, Facebook and WhatsApp. Neither is currently in use by everyone in the class but the result of the poll, below, indicated a majority in favour of Facebook. We agreed to consider the outcome over the coming week and make a final decision in the next class.

straw-poll

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Explore: Get to know your class mates and explore SL together. You are to visit at least 3 locations that are new to you. Find them in search, or ask other residents for recommendations or select them at random.
  2. Write the second post: on your blog reviewing the locations you visited. Describe the places and include photos, if you can. Explain what you liked and disliked about the location and talk about any interactions you had.
  3. Read: 5 steps to build a productive and tight knit remote team
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Class 4: Personal branding

October 22, 2015

We started the class by hearing from the participants about their experiences meeting new people in SL. It is quite a different experience from RL. Second Life is a platform specifically designed for interaction, communication and community building therefore it is acceptable to speak to nearby people/avatars, even complete strangers. For the most part they are willing to engage. Participants discovered that it was not as easy as it may sound to start conversations: do I use voice or text? I feel uncomfortable using voice; everyone is talking at the same time and it is not easy to distinguish one voice from another; mostly people respond with a greeting but don’t engage any further; it is difficult to break into a group of people who seem to know each other already… Nevertheless, some of you reported having interesting and engaging conversations and nobody experienced unpleasantness.

We then went on to a discussion about online identity – informed by the articles, blogs and website links given here after the last classes. The imagery in Humans of New York provided an interesting opportunity to consider how we present ourselves. Participants talked about how you use Facebook and Instagram and how you perceive ‘friends’ in these spaces. However, it seems you don’t give much conscious thought to how you might be seen by others and how you present yourselves online.

To develop this topic for the next class you should re-read the articles given in class 2. Keep the following questions in mind while you are reading. When I post to Facebook what impact am I trying to make? How would somebody who knows me only through Facebook recognise me from Instagram or any other platform? What criteria did I use in selecting my profile picture? When I am looking for a job what social media links will I include in my CV?

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Think: about three adjectives you would use to describe yourself.
  2. Prepare: an ‘elevator pitch‘ describing yourself in 30 seconds. You will present the pitch in class.
  3. Write the fourth post: on your blog describing the adjectives you selected and why; discuss how these traits influence your Facebook presence; and write your elevator pitch.

elevator pitch

 

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Class 3: Personal branding

February 12, 2015

The class met in the amphitheatre in Dublin to be briefed on the group project. Details of the project are given in the next post.

As the briefing came to an end an unwelcome visitor arrived and caused some disruption by walking aimlessly around so we went back to Akron Island for a discussion on personal branding based on the reading material from the previous week. Most participants said they had based their appearance in SL on their Real Life (RL) selves. The opportunity to reflect a different aspect of their personalities was considered in the context of the guest speaker from last week. Claudia argued that managing one’s identity online is now becoming a necessity as to have no presence is a statement in itself.

The bio (or ‘about me’) piece you write is a very important element in establishing your ‘promise’, your possible value to a potential follower. It is a signal to those who may decide whether or not to follow you. But, your identity will really be formed by the content you add and that should reinforce your promise. Just as the corporate brand builds recognition by repetition and consistent delivery on its promise your personal brand will be shaped by your reliability also.

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ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Go: outside your established community/group (eg, this class group) in SL and make contact with at least two people relevant to your interests (artist, gallery owner, musician, shop manager, business owner, educator, builder, etc).
  2. Write the third post: on your blog describing your encounters.
  3. Decide: among your group what tools you will use for planning your project (how you will stay in touch and share information, etc.).
  4. Write the fourth post: on your blog explaining your choice of communication tools and reflect on how the group arrived at the decision.
  5. Read: Your Employee is an Online Celebrity. Now What Do You Do? from the Wall Street Journal. The article discusses employees developing their personal brand and implications for their employer (accessed on 12/02/15).
  6. Explore: the website Humans of New York (accessed on 12/02/15) and see how the author has used social media to make an impact – an example being his use of instagram, facebook, twitter alongside the blog. Take note of how he has identified and positioned himself.
  7. Read: about the Heron Sanctuary which we will be visiting next week (accessed on 12/02/15).
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