My Digital Footprint

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It is often said that the advancement of technology will have a dehumanising effect on the world. However, from my experience in this unit, I have realised how wrong that statement is. The digital decade has attributed to the manifestation of connectivity in ways that was previously not possible. Far from preventing expression, technology has enhanced and enabled our individuality and continues to promote endless opportunities for users. This unit has allowed me to reflect on my digital footprint and how this will help me build not only my digital presence, but allow and assist in possible employ-ability in the future.

From The Beginning Untitled

Preparing my very first blog post was extremely daunting.  I was a virgin to blog writing, however made the conscious call to engage in a subject matter that I was familiar with, that being digital natives. I never quite understood the importance the web had on education until the development of my first blog post. Bennett, Maton, & Kervin (2008) explore the significant involvement sophisticated technical skills and learning preferences have on technology immersed individuals, thus encouraging active learning. If it wasn’t intimidating enough to create my own blog, I was now pleaded to share this with the units online Facebook group. The notion of putting up a ”perfect” blog post played heavily on my mind, what will people think? is it good enough? After seeing several students post their first blog, I felt obliged to do the same as I was certain others felt a similar way.  Wenger (2009) explores the social theory of rethinking learning and expresses how ‘individual learning can be engaged by contributing to the practices of their communities’.  I tend to agree with this theory as I received several feedback comments from fellow students that engaged with my blog post and provided constructive responses which further allowed me to develop my online presence.

The Evolution of My Blog Space

From Privacy to cyber bullying to housing affordability, these topics  all contributed to my active involvement with my online community. Completion of every blog was followed by a Facebook post. It became second nature, which in turn, I found extremely helpful in gaining ideas and momentum in the pursuit to better my writing and literature findings. Agrifoglio (2015) recognises a community of practice as an effective source for information sharing and enables members to speak freely in a spontaneous way.  However, Agrifoglio also identifies a community of practice a ‘self-organising system, whose methods of rules and interactions have no time span and are determined by community members’. Hence, It could be argued whether the units Facebook group was a community of practice as deadlines for assignments needed to be met and individuals may have posted out of obligation rather than a creative social interaction purpose. Nonetheless, the Facebook group for me personally was utilised to gain insightful engagement with peers to positively evolve my already existing cyber knowledge.

 

Memorable Highlights d86577e0d228e0ba14efb093b087de7b

 

The unit Living, Learning & Working on the Web has introduced me to a diverse range of contemporary social issues, which have challenged my initial way of thinking. The argument behind online privacy was an eyeopener to the lack of online protection for social media users. I expressed my concerns in my second blog (Do we prefer convenience over privacy?) and advocate the importance for SNS (social networking site) users to understand information that is posted to social media sites can be accessible well after the post is removed. In spite of the issues of online privacy being a problem for SNS users for a long time, Piirsalu (2012) confirms privacy concerns continue to grow rapidly due to high penetration of smartphones particularly, the accessibility of photo and video creation and sharing opportunities. Not only did I learn about security and privacy concerns on the web through my own research, but with the convenience of reading my peers blog posts through the Facebook group allowed for greater disbursement of additional information that I was previously not privy to.

Being in my third year of University, I have had my fair share of group work assignments. It could be described amongst many Uni students that collaborative assignments are the ‘pits of hell’ with many students never agreeing wholeheartedly with other group members whether that being decision making or effective collaboration and participation. However, I can positively say I was delighted to work with such motivated and enthusiastic individuals on the contemporary issue of stamp duty and housing affordability. We collaboratively decided to create a video campaign #stampoffduty, identifying the potential the overpriced compulsory tax on housing has on the overall affordability in the property market. In reflection, the diversity of group members played a large role in the establishment of our campaign. Experience, age and employment effectively was the foundation for insightful ideas and creation. Thus, supported by Bransford et al., 2000 explanation to how the use of cooperative learning in groups is planted on the specific attention social interaction has on learning through building own knowledge, connecting new ideas and experiences to existing knowledge to form new or enhanced understanding.

Reflections df20ad3073a575330833ee2ffdbabcb7

This unit has effectively developed my understanding of cyber activity and the role we as users play in the ability to make a difference in society. Becoming aware of our online presence is still a relatively premature concept for me that I am slowly becoming accustomed to as I continue my day-to-day web based interests. I am able to recognise the level of connectivity the internet provides in terms of employ-ability. Arruda (2013) explained to Forbes magazine the importance of LinkedIn as an essential branding tool.  ‘It has never been more important to build and maintain a stellar LinkedIn profile. The virtual professional network has morphed from an online resume and networking site to a comprehensive personal branding resource”. Personally, LinkedIn provides one of the best opportunities to increase your visibility and credibility for future employers. It also lets you stay connected to large networks and contacts that have an insight introduction to the person you are in the real and working world.

As previously mentioned, it is imperative users are aware of their online presence. Stalking, identity theft, personal attacks, misuse of information are some of the threats social media users face. It is often recognised, that users themselves are at fault as they end up sharing content that should not be in the public eye. There’s also an element of ignorance involved arising from a lack of understanding of what private and public profiles are supposed to do. During this learning period, I have heightened my privacy settings and paying close attention to suspicious sites, links or emails that could potential corrupt my personal information.

Blogging In The Future

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It has become apparent through this unit that blogs are a great tool for learning. Blogging has assisted in the improvement of my writing ability, especially developing my skills in analysis and critique. Blog platforms allow for inclusion and a collaborative style of feedback and responses. Essentially, blogs have been a place for reflection on readings, much similar to a journal style of writing that I have enjoyed developing over the semester. In my own blogging, it became clear early on that I was writing for an audience, however few took an interest, it still required greater care in my writing. Writing a blog comes with the downside that what you write, is accompanied by the possibility that others may disagree with what you have written.

I am still unsure if I will continue blogging, perhaps in a more informal way of collecting my experiences with travel to keep a diary of sort to reflect back on when time has passed. I am thankful for the opportunity blogging has presented to me and the confidence I have developed through this online journey. I am hopeful I can continue a positive approach when it comes to my online presence and discontinue the backseat stance I formally took in apprehension to voice my opinion. This is not a farewell to blogging, but a possible see you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is stamp duty affecting your ability to get into the property market? #stampoffduty

If you already thought that Sydney’s housing affordability was outrageous enough, many forget about the infamous stamp duty tax. Domain Australia recorded Sydney’s median house price jumping to a staggering record high of $1.1 Million in December 2016 which in turn, requires a compulsory stamp duty fee of over $46,000.  The #stampoffduty campaign aims at identifying Government change regarding stamp duty, especially for first home buyers and foreign investors. Is the Government really out of touch with housing affordability and the efficiency of allocating stamp duty?

The #stampoffduty campaign was developed off the comedy channel’s television show ‘Open Slather’.  A Sydney home auction parody, poking fun at housing affordability and the lengths purchases are willing to go to get a foot in the door (literally). Although this skit is humorous and light-hearted, the struggle is no joke and a serious reality for many young Australians.  The campaign engages many of the ‘stereotypical’ purchasers from fist home buyers, middle aged superfund ‘dippers’, baby boomers to corporate women, foreign investors and ‘cashed up bogans working overtime’. These hyperbolic examples of individuals within the excessive Sydney market are laughable, yet sadly you resonate with one of these in-groups.  Alongside the auction skit, textbox’s identifying the requisites behind stamp duty and what you need to know before considering entering the housing market, such as, first home buyer incentives, foreign investment tax capping and exceptions to payment of stamp duty, further breaking up the clip to allow additional contemplation on this popular social issue. The campaign #stampoffduty was promoted through Facebook in the likes of quizzes and sharing newspaper articles. It was also shared amongst various online social networks such as YouTube and Instagram, creating a larger stomping ground for the promotion of our social issue.

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KPMG’s chief economist, Brendan Rynne slams mandatory Government stamp duty as a brutal and desperate ‘cash grab’, calling for Government parties to ‘show some political courage and scrap or reduce the antiquated tax’, ultimately supporting the #stampoffduty campaign by acknowledging that soaring stamp duty charges cripple future home owners to reach the ‘Australian dream’ of owning your own home. Rynne’s statement is closely associated with the #stampoffduty closing recommendations of reviewing the scale of stamp duty, reinvesting back into first home buyers (e.g. bring back the first home buyers grant) or increasing the tax on foreign investors. In the 2016 Government budget, a 4% stamp duty surcharge was introduced for foreigners purchasing properties. However, Deputy Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Professor James Laurenceson questions the legitimacy of these increases by stating ‘the housing prices particularly in Sydney continue to rise, even if the proportion of foreign investors falls, it doesn’t mean that house prices will fall too.’’ Laurenceson further explains that 96.4% of buyers were local, further assuring overseas investors will not contribute to housing affordability.

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It is with the #stampoffduty campaign we are opening the eyes of current and future home owners to question where their hard earnt money is going and why. With the current release of the 2017 Federal budget, first home buyers are yet again let down. Introducing a ‘first home super saver scheme’ which would allow up to $30,000 in a form of salary sacrifice, in order to boost start savings for a home deposit will essentially be no help. In Sydney’s most expensive market, a 10% deposit on even half of the median house price would be $57K. Add stamp duty and other costs and suddenly sellers benefit and buyers get no joy. It is with hope that the Government realises the great inconvenience stamp duty places on any potential home owner, now or in the near future.

If you would like to visit the #stampoffdutycapaign, please click here. 

 

 

ARE SOCIAL NETWORKS ENABLING CYBER BULLYING?

It could be said that bullying is a part of human nature and is a harsh process of personal growth. However, cyber bullying has been on the rise ever since the evolution of the world wide web and continues to have an extensive psychological, emotional and social negative impact of those victimised online. It might be that cyber bullying is a modern day version of face-to-face bullying, regardless, it is apparent that cyber bullying is becoming much more prevalent as the need and use of an online existence  increases.

Cyber bullying statistics Australia (2010) state that 1 in 3 young Australians have experienced cyber bullying or cyber threats at some point and of those bullied online, only 1 in 10 tell a parent.  Patchin & Hinduja argue the uniqueness of cyber bullying compared to traditional bullying and the notion of anonymity and the effortless nature of accessibility despite location and time. Damien Gayle expresses Facebook as the worse social networking site for internet and online bullying. As I too have a large online presence, it is becoming more common (especially on Facebook) to pass an article or news journal, which in turn instigate a debate like community which spins rather fast into a trolling and abusive online thread.

In light of cyber bullying concerns and patterns, social media sites such as Facebook have given users the ability to ‘report  post’ when concerns or conflicts arise in relation to online bullying and are asked to categorise why the post is harmful in order to resolve the subject matter. Despite Facebook’s aim to encourage and guide users to report harmful material, damaging and insulting posts and images are still being shared daily with little to no action being taken. The need for change is indubitable, yet social media sites  rely solely on the implication of individual monitoring.

White (2012) suggests social networking sites implement ‘ImageVision technology’ that is designed to scan online sites for inappropriate or offensive language that detects any traces of cyber bullying. The technology is triggered by key words and is constructed to stream in the background of social network usage. Once the material is detected, it will be reviewed by human moderators who determine if the content is ‘safe’ or ‘flagged’ for further investigation. White further discusses how social networks can serve their users a safe and enjoyable online experience with Photobucket showing strong results of user protection with already employing this technology. On the other hand, the implementation of this technology could see a rise of users claiming a breach of privacy concerns or individuals limited and restricted entitlement to freedom of speech.

I personally believe that cyber bullying is a serious and detrimental contemporary social issue in today’s society that lacks addressing and publicity. It is vital that information and shared knowledge is passed down to younger individuals that in hope, break this vicious cycle of online bullying.

Do we prefer convenience over privacy?

It is too easy to get wrapped up in the hype of social media of how many people have viewed your snap chat story to the amount of likes you receive on an Instagram or Facebook post. Most people do not recognise the potential consequences for posting personal information, or is it simply that ignorance is bliss and your life is just an open book?

A survey conducted by Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), reported that six-in-ten online users are participating in social networking activities and of those users, 95% are using profile based sites (e.g. Facebook & Twitter) displaying personal information, such as pictures, employment, age, location etc. Due to the large portion of users experimenting with social networking services (SNS), Brandtzaeg, Luders & Skjetn ‘explored content sharing and social ability and how that affects privacy experiences and usage behaviours amongst SNS users’. The results found SNS users often displayed completely open public profiles, without even realising (Page 86). The outcome of these reports leaves a hazy cast over any prior privacy knowledge I thought I had on social media networks and quite frankly, leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed.

Cohen examines the multiple ways in which hackers use spyware on our personal devices via downloads, emails, shortened URL’s and direct messages. This spyware can send off personal information such as passwords & credit card details by a click of a button. You always hear about identity theft and believe it will never happen to you personally, however, are we making it extremely easy for hackers to gain our personal information by conforming to online blasé behaviours? Social media sites often utilise mobile apps and the location based services which allow users to check in to current locations or when posting photos or status updates, allows other SNS users to view your whereabouts. Most of the time, we think this information is harmless and possibly even an overshare on the users behalf, yet we should be vigilant in our online activity and comprehend the possible dangerous consequences such as malicious people tracking your every move.

The emergence of online social networks brought an era that changed the entire scenario of online information sharing. That being said, Fox & Moreland reaffirm the importance for SNS users to understand information that is posted to social media sites can be accessible well after the post is removed, particularly by the ease at which information can be saved, shared and reposted. It is imperative SNS users can effectively regulate who has access to one’s information online and constantly remain cautious concerning your own privacy and security settings when involved in online activity.

It all started with a click

As long as I can remember, I have always been surrounded by technology and the endless urge to be connected with the world. This could be accredited to growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s which has always been considered the era of ‘Digital Natives’ thus becoming the founders of the social media movement.

Like many millennials, I cannot picture life without being highly connected to technology and the daily need to social media ‘scroll’. Some may believe this is a horrible existence,‘an addiction causing a technological illness that society must immediately address’ causing the death of the generation. However, Boyd’s direct attention to adult condemnation of technology for millennials undesirable behaviours without the recognition of cultural, social and personal factors are ripe with my way of thinking. Captivation in this digital abundant lifestyle and culture offers access to information, communicating with friends and family that you may not see on a regular basis and keeping up to date with trending news and events. Thus, developing wisdom requires active learning, hence digital natives collect many technological skills through broad experimentation with social media and intrusiveness to web based sites.

In my early adolescent years, given my fluency and comfort with technology, I stumbled across many blog posts and social media ‘gurus’ who gushed over destinations with amazing scenery. Those tropical beaches with pearly white sand and transparent blue water, to meeting orphans in third world countries and exploring the rich culture that these under developed countries have to offer was the first taste of ‘wanderlust’ which in turn, gave me a huge appetite to travel. In my  short 22 years of existence, I have been blessed with being able to travel to over 15 different countries and I can unquestionably hold technology platforms responsible for my love to travel.

I am excited to see the evolving trends of technology and social media that will be presented to us over many years to come and how we as ‘Digital Natives’ emerge with these changes as we mature with age.