Posts Tagged ‘online presence’

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Class 8: Content creation

November 17, 2016

John started this week by discussing the student blogs. He recommended that you have a look at each others blogs for reference. Compare them with your own blog for insights into how you could improve. You have until 8.00 pm next Thursday to bring your blog up to date before the week 8 assessment. One or two of you need to complete your bios in the ‘About’ section. In response to a question John did not recommend revising old posts but rather, put any effort into your future writing – this will give a better opportunity for improving your mark as it will demonstrate improvement and that you are learning. If any of you would like direct feedback on your progress speak to John after the class and we can discuss then or make any appropriate arrangement.

From now on your blog posts should report and reflect on the group project. Discuss how your team is functioning, how roles are filled, meetings are organised and conducted, decisions are made, work schedule agreed etc. Look at your own contribution in a critical light and describe what you discover about working in an online team: what makes it difficult and what supports it. Remember, you don’t need to use SL – any online tool or application that works for your team is good.

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Does this qualify as a diverse range of class participants…?

We went on to discuss the project in a little more detail after that. Some of you have been meeting in your teams while others are just getting started. Some of you have begun researching your own and your team mates digital footprints using Google searches. This is a good way into the project and should be a feature of each team’s approach. However, be sensitive to each other’s right to privacy and don’t go so far as to cause discomfort to your colleagues. This is a class project not a private investigation! Back away if it starts to become personally uncomfortable for anyone. The final presentation should describe your methodology (how you researched the project), a summary of what the team discovered about the members online presence, a reflection on your reaction (were you surprised by anything discovered?) and a possible scenario where the information could be exploited by others.

On a daily basis most of us are generating ‘content’ online and broadcasting it to the world. Whether anyone is interested in it, or even aware of it, is a different matter. Before the internet facilitated such easy access to broadcasting there were gatekeepers in the form of newspaper and book editors, financial controllers etc. This provided some form of quality control. Now, much of what is published on the web is worthless making the issue of ‘value’ more important.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Look up: the infographic Things that can and can’t be copyrighted.
  2. Read: this thoughtful blog post Content and licensing in virtual worlds about the legal issues around protecting ‘things’ you create in SL and online in general. Read the comments also.
  3. Write the ninth post: to your blog reflecting on the progress being made on the group project.
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Class 7: Communities and identity

November 10, 2016
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Online identity versus ‘real’ identity.

This week we had a lively discussion that was informed by our visit to Virtual Ability Island in the previous class. The differences between real and virtual spaces became apparent when we considered the limitations of  Second Life. For example, avatars can have difficulty negotiating stairs, particularly spiral staircases, but this has not led to their replacement: experience of Real Life building has shaped our approach to building in virtual worlds for the same reason that early motor cars resembled horse-drawn carriages.

An understanding of what helps us to feel comfortable in a virtual space is very important in the development and support of online communities not just in SL but in general. The rules of engagement need to be clearly defined as do the conventions around acceptable behaviour. Regulations, conventions and etiquette help to define a community and support the feeling of belonging to a group and participating. Joining a community requires patience and a certain amount of commitment – while the rules may be published, conventions and etiquette are less clear. It take time to observe and learn them as you gradually become engaged.

This is also an important aspect of team building. Even in Real Life teams can be difficult to manage and tend to be successful when the social glue that holds them together is given attention. This is even more important for online teams that  meet only virtually. For success you must consider how to support social interaction before you get down to the ‘real work’.

Another important criteria for successful group work and team building is trust. This fundamental human condition can be delicate in Real Life so how much more so is it in virtual environments? Building an online identity is really a matter of building trust. The example of the Syrian lesbian blogger demonstrates how easy it can be to build a persona and how devastating it can be if it emerges that the persona does not match Real Life.

John gave some feedback on your blogs reminding everyone to ensure you are writing on the required topic. Generally, the descriptive writing is good and posts are well illustrated. Now it is time to become more reflective. Write about your own response to your learning, how you might apply it and where you are finding it difficult.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Write the eighth post: to your blog describing how your team has approached planning your project, dividing the work and addressing conflict.
  2. Lecture: watch From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) who explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
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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.

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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 1: First meeting

September 22, 2016

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Welcome to ‘Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?’ and to Second Life for the first class! It has been noticeable in recent years that participants are navigating digital environments with greater ease and as a class you have demonstrated that definitively. Well done.

For those who may be having difficulty logging into SL or finding your way about please talk to your colleagues for advice and help.

After everyone settled down John and Locks Aichi introduced themselves and went through some housekeeping. We all added each other to our ‘friends’ list. This enables you to see when participants login to SL and you can send an instant message (IM) to each other when you are in different locations – very handy if someone gets lost in SL. John also added you to the DIT Module group and asked that you activate that group when joining the class. Think of it as your student card: it will give you access to DIT in SL. John also ensured that he knew everyone’s real identity – an important issue online where avatars and aliases allow us to present anonymously.

John explained that class will be interactive and discursive. Each week we will look at a different topic, introduced by a set text that you are asked to read before the class so as to inform the debate. It is important that everyone participates fully and engages to get full benefit from attending. You will also need to visit SL between class times to complete activities that will be set to encourage exploration. Specific activities will be set for the first few classes to get you started.

You were all asked to create a new blog for the duration of the course. You will be expected to write a weekly post describing your experience of the class and the discussions and activities in which you engage. If you keep this habit and post weekly you will avoid the burden of having to write a complete paper at the end of the module. John also explained that you will divided into groups next week to work on a project which will be presented at the final class of the semester. You are encouraged to read through the pages listed in the right hand column of this website to get full details of the project, see examples of previous student blogs and get an idea of what to expect in the rest of the course.

We discussed what communication platform we should use to support the class. It should be one that most people use already so you are not having to introduce something new. It also means that as you are using it regularly messages about the class are less likely to be missed. Previous groups set up private Facebook groups and used twitter and LinkedIN. Other options include WhatsApp or Tinder. Think about it and we will decide next week.

You will each receive L$300 to allow you experience the economy in SL but, don’t get too excited, it is only equivalent to about US$1. Visit some shops and markets to find out how the economy functions. If you want to earn more, see if you can find a part-time job in SL.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Set up your blog: using bloggerwordpresstumblr or any other blog site. Complete the ‘About Me’ page (read some of those pages on other blogs first) and remember it is different from the first post on your blog. Write from the perspective of your avatar: the persona you will be using to explore in this module. Email a link to your blog to John.
  2. Write the first post: to your blog about your expectations for this module – what you hope to get out of it, what you think you might contribute, etc. Address the relevance of  module objectives from your perspective, ie, justify why you think they are important to you.
  3. Look at: John O’Connor’s blog and Dreamscape Diary bearing in mind what you learned today compare your own blog writing to this.
  4. Visit the following: Dolce Merda, Brain PickingsIllustration Friday, Chris BroganStyle Pantry Think about how you would identify these blog authors…what impression do you get of the person behind the blog?
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Class 4: Who are you?

February 25, 2016

The class discussed the notion of online identity this week. We started by sharing experiences of trying to meet new people in SL. This proved interesting in many ways. Approaching complete strangers was simultaneously easier and harder than doing so in real life! Harder because participants were new to it and found it took courage and determination to introduce yourselves and begin a conversation. Easier because you were aware that all residents of SL had made a conscious decision to be here and therefore were signifying their willingness to engage with others. The comparison was made with joining a club or going to an entertainment venue where everyone acknowledges that they are in attendance for social interaction.

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Meeting new people in Second Life is both hard and easy!

There were some surprises at the direction conversations occasionally took. Participants discovered a slightly darker side of  the online world that offered ‘adult entertainment’. Just as in the real world, it is possible to encounter unsavoury characters and it is important to be aware of this side of online environments. However, unlike the real world it is easier to escape from an unpleasant experience by teleporting elsewhere or simply logging off.

Many of you suggested that SL offered the opportunity to present yourself in a new way – to experiment with the presence you offered online. Many residents present as animals or imaginary characters such as vampires or zombies. Even more ambiguous is the knowledge that we don’t really know who we are engaging with in an online environment. The cues we rely on in the real world are not available online. John suggested that this ambiguity also permeates notions of the ‘truth’. He gave the example of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog that received international attention when the supposedly lesbian author was revealed as an American male postgraduate student in 2011. The author claimed he was creating a voice for issues he felt strongly about but the public reaction to being hoaxed was less forgiving. John also mentioned last year’s controversy surrounding the white civil rights leader who passed herself off as black for years. One of the surprises in the Rachel Dolezal case is the amount of support she received after the truth was revealed. If people can be race-fluid or gender-fluid in real life it is unsurprising that they can present convincingly in SL.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Visit: a music or dance club in SL while it is active with other residents and soak up the ambience of online entertainment.
  2. Write the fouth post: to your blog describing your experience of social interaction in SL.  
  3. Read: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Personal Branding by Yohana Desta at Mashable  or Personal Branding Basics by Chris Brogan, expert in online community, social media, and related technologies  or The first Step to Building Your Personal Brand

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New course begins October 1st

September 17, 2015

Snapshot6_004We are pleased to announce that registration for the Autumn/Fall 2015 course is now open. The module will begin Thursday, October 1st, 8:00 p.m. Irish Time, and will be taught online in Second Life.

The ‘Is One Life Enough’ professional social media course is a university-level online course taught weekly for 10 sessions held at Dublin Institute of Technology Campus in Second Life and accredited by Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. The audience for this course is undergraduates, professionals, and educators seeking university-level training and credit in the use of online tools, such as Second Life, WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn. Attending class as avatars participants will maintain online journals between sessions. Students will learn to establish and strengthen their online professional presence. You will learn also to work collaboratively, online, to complete team projects selected by the students and presented at module’s end to a collective university and Second Life audience.

Dublin Institute of Technology Students will receive 5 ECTS Credits as part of their current tuition – contact the office of Dean John O’Connor or your School for details.
Second Life Students receive DIT Accredited Professional Continuing Education Credit for a part-time tuition fee (99 Euro or equivalent in L$/US$) – contact Dublin In SL Registrar Sitearm Madonna
University of Akron Students may receive UOA College Credit as part of their current tuition – contact the office of Dr. Dudley B. Turner.

Inquiries: James Neville (‘Sitearm Madonna’ in SL) sitearm@gmail.com

Module History

In 2009, the ‘Is One Life Enough’ module was founded for Dublin Institute of Technology DIT students by (then) Head of School, John O’Connor (‘Acuppa Tae’ in SL), and eLearning Development Officer, Claudia Igbrude (‘Locks Aichi’ in SL).

In 2010, IOLE received the ‘Jennifer Burke Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award’ from the Irish Learning Technology Association and Dublin City University. Also in 2010, module eligibility was expanded to the greater Second Life Community via collaboration with Dublin Virtually Live Owner, John Mahon (‘Ham Rambler’ in SL).

In 2012, IOLE received the ‘Further and Higher Education Innovation Award’ from Learning Without Frontiers (London, UK). Also in 2012, Dr. Dudley Turner (Dudley Dreamscape in SL) graduated from the Autumn 2012 module as a Second Life Student.

In 2014, module eligibility was further expanded to University of Akron students via collaboration with Dr. Turner.

Organization History

Dublin Institute of Technology is the largest provider of third level education in Ireland with degree awarding authority and is on track to be Ireland’s first nationally accredited technological university.

Dublin in Second Life is a recreation of Dublin City online, celebrating the music, art, education, culture, and enterprise of Ireland and is a premier member of the broad Second Life Community, recognized by both Residents and Linden Lab Top Management.

University of Akron is one of America’s strongest public universities, focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Vitae

John O’Connor is a Director of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Dublin, Ireland, and Dean of the College of Arts and Tourism. His work includes sitting on the Senior Leadership Team of DIT, teaching the award winning module, ‘Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?’ and promoting Dublin as a creative city and thriving economic hub. His academic interests include: access to education for isolated communities; the use of technology to support learning; typography; and development of the professional design sector in Ireland.

Dr. Dudley B. Turner is Former Interim Dean, College of Creative & Professional Arts, University of Akron (UOA) in Akron, Ohio, USA. He teaches communication, persuasion, and professional speaking. Dr. Turner is a champion of the use of virtual world communication technologies such as Second Life. He is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Ohio’s Innovative Teacher Award from the Ohio Communication Association.

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Class 9: Consumers to Produsers

March 28, 2015

This week is Spring Break for Akron students so the class was in the DIT seminar room in Dublin for a change of scene. For the first half we discussed progress on the group project and re-emphasised the importance of reflecting on what is not working in the collaboration in addition to what is working. It is important that participants are writing about this in their blogs from now to the end of the semester.

The second part of the class consisted of a discussion based around Prof Axel Bruns’ lecture that students had read over the week. At the beginning many professed confusion about what Bruns was proposing but as the discussion progressed it became clear that most understood it better than they realised. It may be that as emerging ‘produsers’ themselves the concept is so familiar that it is almost invisible to them.

The concept of wikipedia not being about the creation of finished products but the ongoing revision of information – constantly amended and updated by people who may have originally come to it as consumers but have become content creators – was clearly understood. The development of the distribution system for news from the formality of traditional newspapers that are controlled by editors and publishers to the openness of blogs, Facebook and such systems that have eliminated the gatekeeper was considered – with particular consideration of the pros and cons. The issue of reliability was surfaced, leading to a reminder of the importance of reputation – and brand. As users become the producers of content: people who care enough to participate – as opposed to those who merely want to consume – personal brand becomes increasingly important.

DIT students are reminded that their blogs were due for the second assessment (after week 8) but this has been postponed to this week giving you a chance to catch up if necessary. The importance of proofreading posts before publishing was emphasised.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT WEEK:

  1. Read: about the girl who resigned her position as uk police youth commissioner due to previous tweets (accessed 02/13/15).
  2. Read: about another example of a person losing her job over a tweet (accessed 02/13/15).
  3. Read: why Dr Phil removed a tweet from his TV show (accessed 02/13/15).
  4. Write the ninth post: to your blog reflecting on the benefits and difficulties of collaborating online across time zones.
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Class 4: Content creation, part one

February 20, 2015

Class this week opened with some more participants delivering their elevator pitches. Following that we had a discussion, informed by the reading material set last week, about the creation of ‘content’. Students participated confidently and coherently via text and voice.

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Content is anything online, a person’s print on the virtual web. Content does not have to be interactive, but Daniel argued that by being online in video or text form implies it is already interactive by default.
There are different types of content, but does it have any value? Some content only has meaning to the person who posted it, eg, random posts on twitter. But then meaningless to who? Or is it more a case of having value to a few people only Sometimes, commentary may only have relevance to certain people. Sometimes people use social media to hide behind and post spiteful and malicious material. They behave differently from how they may behave in the real world because there is no accountability. Internet trolls being an example.

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The point was made that interaction on the internet is different from face to face. This is not necessarily negative.
Going back to look at your own blog, do you have a different take on what content is now? The answer was yes, creating blog posts is creating content as it is contributing something new to the internet. The Humans of New York blog is a good example of how a creator uses multiple media-images plus text to tell stories of humans. As we create content for people, we hope to make connection, often emotional connections, and it is through these connections that we project our personae into the online world.

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According to Olwyn ‘many businesses or corporations using social media have had a negative review/blog/comment written about them therefore creating negative content around their brand. It is possible to hire people to write so many positive comments it rids the page in question of negative content. It shows how important your virtual footprint is.’
Have a think about how you are going to create content for your project and while doing so, create a credible personae for yourself to complete your assignment.

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Elfay Pinkdot

Guest speaker Elfay Pinkdot was introduced to the class to talk about communities and making connections. She brought us on a field trip to Bugs and Us, a butterfly sanctuary. Once settled in the peaceful environment Elfay talked to class about online communities she has been involved in. Her SL radio programme Coffee and Pajamas is an SL group around jazz. She wanted to share her love of jazz with other SL residents. She had previously used Jazz and her love of music to teach geography, as a social lubricant, as a way in, and that was not different when trying to form the community in SL. The show was widely listened to and quickly formed into a tight community, impacting people in more ways than Elfay realises. When you start to create content or connect online, especially around something that means a lot to you, you cannot always envisage how rich a resource it can be. In Elfay’s case, her SL life has led her to meet with people from around the world – including the lecturers in this module.

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The internet can seem like a really dauntless place but what #IOLE enables you do, is take control of how you choose to use and engage with the medium of the internet, and control the message(s) you choose to put out. Elfay does not consider SL or online life different from real life… she sets boundaries just like real life. She encourages that you take responsibility as you make your mark.

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As was pointed out in the class, there is a lot more potential for people to think they can get away with things that are not permissible in real life. There is a huge challenge in how the law keeps up with change in the online space and the various envionmnents and changing methods of interaction. All of this is the reason why you need to give a full and measured consideration to how much of yourself you want to share online.
Kaiya, one of the owners of Bugs and Us, added by saying ‘I have been in SL a long time, and I bring my RL morals into SL, I prefer honesty and loyalty. There are many here in SL that bring drama, and lose their sense of self. Don’t make yourself vulnerable as there are many wolves in SL that prey on others.’
Also, taking a lead from Sitearm Madonna, don’t be shy about playing with your identity in SL. And you are welcome to reach out to Elfay as you prepare for your final presentation and work on your project.
Don’t be vulnerable, let people earn your trust, don’t underestimate the online medium.

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At the end of the class the lecturers told the participants about the research work they were doing around the class. We asked that you complete an anonymous survey by clicking here.

Finally, DIT students are reminded that your blogs are undergoing the first of three assessments this week so make sure you are up to date!

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: this thoughtful blog post Content Licensing in Virtual Worlds about the legal issues around protecting ‘things’ you create in SL and online in general. Read the comments also.
  2. Read: The Laws of Virtual Worlds. From the California Law Review 2003 this is an excellent, if highly specialised, review of the legal position of avatars in virtual worlds.
  3. Write the fifth post: to your blog about the value of copyright in a world where everything can be easily copied
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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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