The broad goal of this research is to identify and share good
practice in the “management by proxy” of the social media profiles of adults
with dementia. Over the course of the first month, I will be conducting a
literature search and an annotated bibliography. After that, Gemma and I will
begin to work on the next steps of the study, including preparing for the data
Six months isn’t a vast amount of time in the world of
academic research. However, it is anticipated that this work will act as a
springboard for further research. Plans are already underway to investigate the
most appropriate opportunities for the next round of grant funding. With a bit
of luck (and a lot of hard work!) I will be sharing research outputs with you
before the year is out!
Welcome to 2019! I am very excited about the New Year because it means new roles (and changing roles) in my academic life. It is bound to be a busy year but, hopefully, it is an exciting and energising year as well.
The “changing” role is that of my PhD student status. Whilst I am still a PhD student (I’ve not graduated—yet!) I have submitted my thesis for examination. That means that I am not starting out this year with plans to work on various chapters of my thesis or conducting PhD-related data collection. I am no longer planning long thesis-writing sessions, there are no more “PhD weekends”, and I am feeling a lot less stressed about how my thesis will come together.
Of course, my plans to have my viva out of the way before
the end of last year didn’t work out very well. And that means that I have yet
to have my PhD examined. But the viva has been scheduled, so things are looking
My changing student status means that I am in a sort of PhD Purgatory—that state between submitting my thesis and my PhD being granted. During this purgatory period, I will prepare for my viva whilst looking forward towards my larger academic career.
Excitingly, there is also a new role to celebrate in my academic life. That is the role of Research Assistant on a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant. The research project is called “Social media by proxy: Strategies for managing the online profiles of adults with dementia” and will investigate the lived experiences of people who act as “social media proxies” for adults with dementia in their care. (Read more about the project here.)
This new role is quite exciting because it is my first
research role outside of my PhD. The project is only funded for six months, but
it is a good opportunity to work on a small project that will (hopefully!) lead
to something more substantial. It is also an opportunity for me to work on
research other than my thesis, which was starting to wear me down a bit.
(Although I am now excited to do more research with the rest of my PhD data. I think
I just needed a bit of a break from it all!)
In addition to new and changing roles, I am also continuing my role as an Associate Lecturer here at Edinburgh Napier University. In the new trimester, which starts mid-January, I will be delivering tutorials for a first-year module called Introduction to Human Computer Interaction. There are around 260 students in the module and they are divided into five different tutorial groups, of which I will be running three.
As part of my Associate Lecture role, I will also have a role as a supervisor for several “Group Project” teams. The teams will be working on small projects for a wide range of organisations. My role will be more project oversight than anything else, with quick and targeted 15-minute meetings with each group each week to ensure they are making progress and keeping to schedule. This will be my first time supervising students and I am looking forward to the opportunity. Although my supervisor role isn’t quite as substantial as, say, that of my PhD supervisors.
As I enter into this new phase of my academic life, I am looking for my next bigrole. That means that I will be spending a lot of time applying for academic jobs and post-doctoral fellowships. I will also spend time working on grant applications and investigating other opportunities that will allow me to further my research and build my academic career.
Yes, this New Year is looking quite promising.
So “role” on, 2019; role on!
And with that, I have submitted my PhD thesis for examination and thesis season is over!
The last few days have been spent finishing up my thesis, all with an aim submitting on Halloween (success!). That included finishing my conclusion chapter and writing my acknowledgements page. These final days were also spent making sure that all of my references were accurate and that the fiddly little things like automatic bookmarks were rendering properly.
Once the document was finalised, I set everything up for printing. I intentionally planned it so that I was printing after office hours so that I wouldn’t have to worry about hogging the printers. After all, a thesis is a fairly long document and I needed four copies: Two for my viva examiners, one for my mock viva examiner, and one for me.
To save time, I sent the thesis to print as two separate print jobs, each with two copies. That way, I would take advantage of the two printers in the print room. It took about 30 minutes to print the four copies, and another few minutes to straighten the pages and (meticulously) fold a couple of double-sized pages for the appendices. I also included coloured cardstock in between each chapter for my own copy of the thesis. This way, I can add section tabs to the cardstock so that I can easily flip to the correct chapter when I am revising or during the viva itself.
After I finished printing, I carefully wrapped each copy in paper and called my taxi-driving landlord for a lift home, cradling my “babies” the entire way.
The next morning, I woke early and got the bus out to my university’s print shop. There, Gordon bound the documents whilst I waited. And then I took another bus to my campus where I panicked a bit (and got a bit teary) before heading upstairs to the research office to officially submit my thesis.
To be honest, submitting my thesis was quite an emotional and self-doubting experience. Although, to be honest, the entire PhD process was more emotional and self-doubting than I had expected! I won’t get into all of that today though, as I plan to share a series of posts (over time) that reflect on my experiences with the PhD process.
But yes, my thesis is done for now; it has been submitted. And that really is something to celebrate!
Of course, submitting my thesis is not the end of the PhD journey. No, there are still a few steps remaining before my PhD Dreams are realised. The first of these steps is my viva (oral defence). After that, I will be asked to make amendments to the thesis before I submit my final, hard-bound thesis. And then, finally, I will graduate.
The research project is called “Social media by proxy: Strategies for managing the online profiles of adults with dementia”. This work will investigate the lived experiences of people who act as “social media proxies” for adults with dementia in their care.
As the PI and lead applicant, it is Gemma’s experience and role as an established academic that allowed her to make the application (newbies like myself almost always need to ride the coattails of more senior researchers). And it is her experience that will guide the project so that we are in a better position for getting our work published and (hopefully!) creating an even larger funding application that will help us continue our research.
The inspiration for this research comes from Gemma’s past work with vulnerable adults and the recognition that the use of social media by older people is increasing whilst instances of dementia diagnoses are growing. Further, my own doctoral investigation into the role of online information in the building and management of personal reputation found that some participants have helped or noted concerns about vulnerable individuals in their lives and their use of social media. When considered together, we determined that the role of social media proxies for adults with dementia was a relevant and timely topic that warranted further research.
My role in this project is that of the research assistant. I will be work on the literature review, the design of the study, and data collection. I will also work with Gemma to analyse the results from our data collection and to create research outputs.
We plan to use a combination of participant diaries and in-depth interviews as data collection tools, a process I used for my PhD thesis. Participants (social media proxies) will keep a diary for a set amount of time where they will keep notes related to the online activities they undertake as proxies. This will include information about the specific tasks they undertake as well as any reflective thoughts they have about the tasks. Interviews will take place after the diary-keeping exercise and will include a range of topics related to participants’ roles as social media proxies.
We plan to report on this research through (1) a project report; (2) an academic journal article; (3) guidance materials for social media proxies (for example, leaflets); and (4) an article in The Conversation. A dissemination event for stakeholders will also be planned towards the end of this project. That event will include care home workers, carers of dementia patients, local authority officials, and members of third sector organisations that provide support to vulnerable and/or incapacitated groups.
On a personal note, I am grateful to Gemma for providing me the opportunity to work with her on this project. It will be my first piece of work after submitting my thesis, and it kind of serves as my first external grant (by proxy, in a round-about way). I am looking forward to learning from Gemma as she supervises my work and I’ll try not to let her down!
Last week I presented at the 8th annual Information Science Doctoral Colloquium (iDocQ). The presentation was in the form of a PechaKucha, also known as a “20×20”. These presentations can be quite fun and exciting, especially if you are a confident and experienced communicator. However, if you are neither of those things, the idea of presenting 20 slides for 20 seconds each (for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds) might be a bit daunting.
This presentation style seems to be quite popular in the academic world—at least here in the UK. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion over what a 20×20 is (as well as what a 20×20 isn’t). And that’s where this post comes in.
OK, then. What is a 20×20? In the original form, they should be delivered as 20 images, on 20 slides, that each run for 20 seconds.
However, it seems that the image part has been overlooked by many in academia. That means that you see a fair amount of 20×20 slides that are filled with text. Lots and lots of text. Of course, that is not always the presenter’s fault. Often times, the person organising the talks doesn’t know what a 20×20 is meant to be (or has decided that they don’t care) so the only instructions presenters have is that they must have 20 slides over the course of a 6-minute, 40-second talk. Some organisers might insist that the slides automatically forward every 20 seconds, and others might not realise that little rule.
Ideally, 20×20 slides should be image-based no text. However, this can be a bit challenging for academics who are accustomed to developing text-heavy presentations. (But don’t do that. Really. Less is more!) Slides should not have any animation or transitions. Slides should also be set to advance automatically.
But why? It’s because the slides should be there to add visual stimulation to your intellectually stimulating words. They should not require your audience to read and should never include information that is vital to your talk. So, skip the detailed graphs and tables. (A 20×20 talk should be able to be presented without slides and still be just as informative.)
Heck, even for those of us who enjoy presentations, the idea of such a restrictive format can be a challenge. And with my habit of ad-libbing and going on wee rambles about a sub-point, it’s even more of a challenge! But I have learned a few tricks to make 20×20 presentations a bit easier to plan, prepare, and present.
Before you start putting slides together, have a think about what you’re going to say.
Prepare your spoken words before you prepare your slides (talk it out and time it as close to 6:40 as possible). Think very clearly about the theme of your presentation and start to build out your presentation. Your talk might be a single, descriptive storyline (Mary had a little lamb) or it might be a series of interconnected points (research questions, methods, findings, and conclusion). Either way, you are sharing a narrative that must flow together with ease.
Break your spoken words into 20-second segments (based on ideas or themes) then practice those segments. Think of your talk as sections or chapters and put breaks into the talk as those sections come along. Don’t forget to include pauses in each segment. Those pauses will give you time to breathe whilst your audience has time to process the information you’ve just shared with them.
Give each point or idea the time it needs! You can use more than 20 seconds for a point, but all points should fit with multiples of 20 seconds. If you need a full minute to make a point, take a full minute! But give some thought to how you’re delivering those 60 seconds so that you can switch-up the slide image to reflect the point every 20 seconds. For example, if your point is about social networking sites, you might change the image to reflect a different aspect such sites every 20 seconds, as it relates to the point. (You cannot use the same slide twice; each slide must be different.)
Make a note of non-vital sentences that can be dropped if you start to fall behind. This will allow you to catch up a bit, even if it takes 2-3 slides to get back in synch. A few seconds’ lag-time is hard to avoid for beginners, but it is better to drop sentences in the middle so that you finish on time. That way, you still have time to deliver your punchy, vital concluding sentences—and maybe even take a theatrical bow!
Now that you’ve got your talk ready, you can begin to illustrate it. Yes, this is the point when you can start working on your visuals.
Think of your talk as a visual storyboard. What one image illustrates each 20-second segment? If you’re talking about Facebook, there are lots of obvious options. But if you’re talking about something a bit vaguer, this is your chance to get creative and whimsical. For example, if you’re talking about the history of modern beer production, you might use a photo of hops growing on a trestle.
Find image inspiration on Google or Flickr. If you don’t know how to illustrate a point, enter some of your keywords into a Google image search to see what comes up. This can help you to see how others visualise your concepts, which might also help you to think more creatively about how you present your work in the future.
Mind your copyrights! It is easy to just swipe images from the Internet, but be mindful about copyright infringement. Wherever possible, use works that have a Creative Commons copyright (or get really creative and take photos of your own!). Also, pop a wee copyright attribution on the slide. If done correctly, these do not need to detract from the presentation. (You can see examples of how I’ve done copyright attributions on my SlideShare presentations.)
Practice, practice, and practice some more! Ideally, you can do this in front of an audience that will provide you with practical, constructive feedback to help you improve your delivery. But if that is not possible, consider recording yourself so that you can see how well you do. Or, ideally, do both! It can be awkward watching yourself present, but it can also be a great tool for improving your presentation skills.
Right. Presentation day is here now, and you should be ready to go. Here are four more tips to getyou through the day.
Dress for success on presentation day! For me, that means I wear smart, professional clothes and shoes that I am comfortable in. (And never a new stuff. I like to test-run my important clothes!) I realise that some research students present in their every-day clothes (which might be tattered jeans and a t-shirt) and that is considered acceptable in modern society. However, I personally feel that presenting your research is also an opportunity to present yourself to potential future colleagues or employers. So, put on your Sunday best (or similar) and strut your stuff! (Yes, I realise that sounds a bit snobby. Sorry.)
Remember your pauses and remember that you have specifically built in drop-sentences that you can ditch if you start to get backed up on your 20-second intervals. If you find that you’ve talked faster than your slide changes, just take a big breath and let the slides catch up to you. And if you’ve talked really fast and need more than one big breath, shrug it off and make a joke (practice those ahead of time, too).
Step away from the podium. Unless you need to be near the microphone, step away from the podium and stand where your audience can see you. (But don’t block your slides!) You have practiced this talk. You know your subject. And your slides are all images that will automatically advance every 20 seconds. So there is no need for you to stand by the computer. Be brave; come out and engage with the audience!
Have fun! Presentations can be quite stressful, especially if you don’t have much experience. However, 20×20 presentations are an opportunity to have fun whilst challenging yourself in a laid-back atmosphere. It’s quick and punchy, and it can be a chance to show that you can have a sense of humour when things go wrong.
During my time as a PhD student, I have relaxed my rigid ways so that I can be more in line with how others present 20x20s. That means that I will sometimes use a bit of text (only a bit!). I have also started to use simple diagrams and paired photos on some slides. However, I have decided that I am going to return to the basics with my next 20×20.
Of course, I will also need to revisit my tips above because, as you can see, I didn’t do any planning or practicing for my last go. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great. So, if you want to know what a 20×20 looks like when you haven’t prepared, here you go!
Photo credit: Alicja Pawluczuk and iDocQ Video production and editing credit: Dr Bruce Ryan (no relation)
This paper considers online information sharing practices used to build and manage personal reputations – specifically as it relates to the blurring between individuals’ private and professional “selves”. The findings are formed from my larger doctoral investigation into the role of online information and reputation. The main findings show that:
The portrayal of different personas online contribute to the presentation (but not the creation) of identity.
Online information sharing practices for reputation building and management vary according to social media platform.
The management of online connections and censorship are important to the protection of reputation.
The maintenance of professional reputation is more important than private reputation.
My own use of the three platforms considered in this research (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) share a lot of commonality with the findings in this paper. (Note: There are many variations, which you can read in the full paper.)
Like most of the participants in this study, I use LinkedIn as a professional networking platform and as an electronic CV. I have connected with a few people from my private life, but it is overwhelmingly filled with professional contacts. I only post information related to my professional life there, and I am quite put off by the idea that the site even asks me for my birthday and marital status (two bits of information that I don’t feel need to be divulged on a professional networking site).
I use Facebook as a private social networking site. I am quite strict about not connecting with current colleagues on Facebook (I have allowed for one exception) and only connect with former colleagues if they pass the “friend” test. I do not use Facebook for professional networking. I do, however, share some information related to my professional life on Facebook, as I find that my professional life blurs with my private life and personal interests at times.
Twitter is a mixed bag for me. For a while, I mixed my private and professional personas on one account (it was started as a private account). But then I realised that I needed to have two separate accounts, so I’ve branched off a bit.
When I share information on LinkedIn or my professional Twitter account, I have a standard rule of thumb: It should be related to my professional activities or interests. I rarely have to consider the negative implications of information I share because I try to avoid the political side of academics. (Though this is not a hard and fast rule.)
Sharing information on Facebook or my private Twitter account requires a bit more thought. This is because I am aware that (1) information shared in a private setting can find its way to a public or professional setting and (2) my social and political views are contrary to those of many of my connections. To address the first issue, I ask myself if the information is something I would be happy to share with my grandmother or my (fairly liberal) priest. If the answer is no, the information does not belong online. To address the second issues, I ask myself if I will stir up trouble with or offend certain connections. If the answer is yes, I will consider (a) not sharing the information, (b) sharing the information in an altered state, or (c) changing the privacy settings to hide the information from some people.
Of course, there is a lot more to how I manage the blurring between my professional and private information online—just like the participants in this study. To read more about how they manage the blur, you can download the paper here.
This qualitative study used participant diaries and in-depth, semi-structured interviews as data collection tools. It involved 45 UK-based participants, and data collection took place between October 2015 and January 2016.
The content of the poster shares findings related to three areas of identity building. These are:
The creation and use of online “personas” and identities
The use of anonymity and pseudonyms through information sharing – or concealment – practices
The ways in which private and professional selves blur or merge together in online environments
The main finding presented in this work is that individuals present elements of their offline lives using online information to showcase different “personas”. However, they do not do this with the intention of building identity. The findings explored in this presentation are contextualised with reference to identity building in the more formal setting of academic reputation management, i.e. through the use of citations.
Please stop by the poster session to learn more about this research and my doctoral studies as a whole. You can also find me during the coffee breaks or other social activities.
Not in attendance? Don’t worry! As part of my “professional persona” I like to share information online. The links below will allow you to engage with my presentation from afar!
Building identity in online environments: an Information Science perspective
Abstract: The research presented in this poster is concerned with the ways in which people use information to build identities for themselves online with reference to the themes of personal reputation management. To date these two themes have been under-explored together in the research literature, both in general, and from an Information Science perspective. The poster content shares findings related to three areas of identity building: (1) the creation and use of online personas and identities; (2) the use of anonymity and pseudonyms through information sharing – or concealment – practices; and (3) the ways in which the blurring or merging together of participants’ private and professional selves. This study used participant diaries and in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 45 UK-based participants. The main finding presented here is that individuals present elements of their online persona or personality using online information, but that they do not do so with the intention of building identity. The findings explored in this presentation are contextualised with reference to identity building in the more formal setting of academic reputation management, i.e. through the use of citations.
I will share a digital version of the poster and handouts before the conference poster session. I will also be tweeting during the whole of the event, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@FrancesRyanPhD).
Last week I ran a one-day research symposium at Edinburgh Napier University, along with Professor Hazel Hall. The symposium, “Connecting people, connecting ideas” (CPCI), focused on research priorities in Information Science as related to everyday life information seeking and information behaviours in online environments. This event was held at our Craiglockhart campus and was geared towards UK academics, with an emphasis on ECR and 3rd-year PhD student participation.
The symposium was an opportunity for participants to consider how to prioritise themes, and develop ideas for, their future research projects. This was done in three stages as explained below.
The first stage took place prior to the symposium. Here, delegates were provided with an opportunity to share key themes that they felt should be priorities within the field using Well Sorted. Before the symposium, those themes were categorised to create working groups for the day of the event.
The second stage was implemented during the morning session where delegates broke into groups related to the categories determined by the Well Sorted exercise. During the morning session, groups determined the key themes that should be priorities from the larger categories. The morning session also helped us to further concentrate our work, leaving us with just three working groups in the afternoon session.
The final of the three stages took place in the afternoon session. At this point, the delegates discussed the key themes they had previously identified to further develop the ideas with an aim towards future research. Groups worked through potential next-steps that would be needed to bring the ideas to reality.
It is hoped that the knowledge and inspiration gained from the day’s outcomes will be used in a range of future activities including grant proposals, future publications or conference papers, and calls for participation in conferences and seminars. Participants will also be able to continue the relationships they establish with other researchers at the event, which could potentially lead to future research collaborations.
Over the next few days, I will work to format the day’s artefacts into a format that will allow all of the CPCI delegates to access them and interact with them—and interact with other delegates. Whilst I am not able to facilitate these conversations, nor am I able to “force” others to continue the conversations, I am hopeful that these post-symposium tasks will help to encourage others to keep moving forward with the ideas generated during the day.
On 22 June 2017, I will be running a one-day research symposium along with Professor Hazel Hall. The symposium, “Connecting people, connecting ideas” (CPCI), focuses on research priorities in Information Science as related to everyday life information seeking and information behaviours in online environments. This free event will be held at our Craiglockhart campus and will be geared towards UK academics, with an emphasis on ECR and 3rd-year PhD student participation.
The programme will include an opening keynote presentation by Professor Simeon Yates (Liverpool), PI of “Ways of being in a digital age”, and a series of facilitator-led small group discussions. Delegates will help to influence the day’s discussion topics by completing a pre-symposium exercise using the Well Sorted tool, which will establish core interests prior to the day allowing us to group delegates into appropriate teams for advanced discussions of focused research priorities and methods.
The symposium provides an opportunity for participants to consider how to prioritise themes, and develop ideas for, their future research projects. It is anticipated that the knowledge and inspiration gained from the day’s outcomes can be used in a range of future activities including grant proposals, future publications or conference papers, and calls for participation in conferences and seminars. And, of course, participants will establish relationships with other researchers which can subsequently lead to future research collaborations.
PhD bursaries: We are offering four (4) travel bursaries for PhD students. Bursaries will cover travel costs of up to £50 and award winners will be asked to write their experiences on social media. Bursary winners will be asked to disseminate information about the event. To apply, they will need to provide a short explanation of how they would do that using a short application form which will be emailed to eligible participants after they complete the registration process.
The one-day workshop will offer practical tips on how to increase the impact of research by maximising the potentials of social media engagement. Delegates will also be asked to critically consider the ethical issues around online identities and importance of building academic reputation in the digital age. (In case you’re new here, that’s basically what my research is about: Online information and reputation!)
I will be the first speaker of the day and my talk will be about how academic reputation can be built and maintained using common social networking platforms (i.e. Twitter and LinkedIn) as well as other social media tools such as blogs and university researcher profiles. I will also cover topics such as bibliometric impact and h-indexes, and the role that “altmetrics” plays in the building and evaluation of academic reputation.
My session is not about how to use social media in your academic life—it’s about why you should use it! I am hoping that it will be a fairly engaging session with some good discussions (or at least some interesting questions) and a bit of audience participation.
The other speakers at the workshop are:
Nick Blackbourn, Content Officer at Edinburgh Napier University, who will run a workshop exploring practical ways and specific tools for building an online audience and using a “work out loud” approach. He requests that delegates bring a connected device to access their Twitter accounts, so there’s no doubt he’s expecting audience participation!
Vanessa Heggie, University of Birmingham, is running a session that will consider the risks as well as the rewards of social media, and will work through a series of tactics, hacks, and coping mechanisms to make sure we’re not only presenting ourselves (and our research) well in public, but also having the most positive experience online that we can.
Steven Vass is the Scotland Editor of The Conversation, an original and essential outlet for comment and analysis. He will remind us that what we do is both valuable and fascinating, and provide ideas of how to turn our research into articles that will open eyes, make waves and reach the widest possible audience.
My conference paper, Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online, has been accepted for Information: Interactions and Impact Conference (i3) in Aberdeen, Scotland. The paper is co-authored by my PhD supervisors and is based on some of the findings from one of the four research questions being investigated for my doctoral thesis (How do individuals use online information to build and manage their reputations?).
The conference will take place 27-30 June at Robert Gordon University. I will present the paper the morning of the 29th (full programme here). I have 45 minutes (including time for questions) to discuss the paper and share some of the key findings, which I’ve highlighted below.
Blurred reputations: A pre-conference teaser:
The subset of findings to be shared at the conference are concerned with the ways in which private and professional lives blur online. The data analysed is relevant to information behaviours and literacies revealed four primary behaviours deployed by participants. These are: (1) portraying only parts of their personas for different audiences, (2) managing the type of information that is shared on different platforms, (3) managing the means by which they connect with others, and (4) undertaking various levels of self-censorship. For example:
Portrayal of persona parts for different audiences Showcasing different aspects of a personality or different ‘personas’ is a tactic used to help build or manage professional and private reputations online. Personas may be deployed to minimise the levels of blurring between professional and private lives, with some participants actively and intentionally splitting out parts of their personas to ensure that they were maintaining an acceptable ‘professional’ reputation. This online presentation of personas aligns with Goffman’s seminal work about showcasing different aspects of one’s ‘self’ based on the situation.
Management of different types of information for different platforms Similarly, participants interviewed for this study noted different information behaviours based on perceived audiences for their social networking sites and their understandings of a platform’s primary use. Whilst these behaviours are similar those related to personas, there is a nuanced difference in how the information shared across different platforms is limited. These behaviours are designed to create or manage a professional ‘reputation’ through the use of intentional strategies for the different types of information and vary based on individuals’ understanding of a platform’s primary purpose. For example, LinkedIn is seen as a professional platform whereas Facebook is seen as ‘private’.
Connections with others The determination of a platform’s primary use also impacts how participants determine who to connect with. For example, as a professional platform, LinkedIn predominantly a space for professional connections, Facebook is viewed as a largely private networking platform, and Twitter falls somewhere in between. These determinations help to determine who participants will connect with on the different platforms, sometimes as a way of creating a public connection for the express purpose of reputation building. However, decisions on who to connect with on which platform can also be made to keep different groups of contacts away from each other.
Self-censorship Self-censorship also plays a part in the management of this private/professional blur. These self-censorship behaviours are even more obvious when participants have professional connections on the platform in questions or when a colleague or employer might be able to gain access to the information. Indeed, some types of information might not be shared online in any form (for example, controversial views) whilst other types of information might be shared in a more controlled manner, such as with a subset of friends in a private group (for example, inappropriate photos). This is more important when an individual’s professional reputation is in question.
Some of the results shared in the paper indicate that:
Participants view their online identity (or identities) as representations of their offline personas. In some cases, personal and professional personas are kept separate by using different online platforms for different aspects of an individual’s offline life.
Self-censorship is a key tool in the management of reputation, with censorship activities varying based on the platform and perceived audience.
It can be difficult to identify information behaviours that elicit positive evaluations of others, yet negative evaluations can be made in an instant if someone shares information (for example, a tweet or Facebook post) that is in stark contrast to their own views and opinions.
The levels of intentional reputation management vary, and is more often concerned with how the information will be received by others, rather than the impact on their own reputation.
The full study is expected to be completed in spring 2017. The full results will combine the Generation X subset with data gathered from an equal number of Generation Y and Baby Boomer participants. At that time, the three datasets will (most likely) be combined to discuss information behaviours based on the four research questions as a whole, rather than as generation groups. However, I hope to be able to pull at least some generational-based data for future small reports, papers, or posters.
Ryan, F., Cruickshank, P., Hall, H., Lawson, A. (2016). Managing and evaluating personal reputations on the basis of information shared on social media: a Generation X perspective. Information Research.
Abstract Introduction. The means by which individuals evaluate the personal reputations of others, and manage their own personal reputations, as determined by information shared on social media platforms, is investigated from an information science perspective. The paper is concerned with findings from a doctoral study that takes into account prior work on the building and assessment of reputations through citation practice, as explored in the domain of scientometrics.
Method. Following the practice of studies of everyday life information seeking (ELIS), a multi-step data collection process was implemented. In total forty-five participants kept diaries and took part in semi-structured interviews. In this paper fifteen of these participants are represented.
Analysis. A qualitative analysis of the data was undertaken using NVivo10 to consider the information practices of one of three age group cohort generations: Generation X.
Results. Results generated from this initial analysis show some clear alignments with established knowledge in the domain, as well as new themes to be explored further. Of particular note is that social media users are more interested in the content of the information that is shared on social media platforms than they are in the signals that this information might convey about the sharer(s). It is also rare for these users to consider the impact of information sharing on personal reputation building and evaluation.
Conclusion. The analysis of the full dataset will provide further insight on the specific theme of the role of online information in personal reputation management, and contribute to theory development related to the study of information seeking behaviour and use.
The last week was spent preparing my presentation slides. I always find that to be a challenge because I need to be able to convey enough information to make people want to read the paper—but not so much to where I send them to sleep before my third slide. I am feeling pretty confident about my slides though and hope that the combination of my drawings, photos, humour, and—of course!—interesting research keeps my audience entertained and engaged. (I will add a link to the slides the morning of the conference. Promise.)
I’ve also been preparing for a one-day doctoral workshop before the official start of the conference. I attended the workshop at the last ISIC conference two years ago and found it quite useful, and I’m confident that this year’s workshop will be just as beneficial. I am hoping to use the time to discuss how best to anchor a multidisciplinary thesis theme, such as mine, in the domain of information science when writing up my main thesis. Yeah, it’s a hard one to wrap my head around. Especially when my undergraduate and master degrees are from outside of the information science arena.
Now that all the academic preparations are completed, it’s time to prepare the practical things. Like mending and washing clothes before putting them in my suitcase. And backing up all of the files on my phone and laptop so that (God forbid!) if something gets lost, broken, or stolen I am only losing hardware and not files and photos. And I need to paint my fingernails too. Oh! And I should make sure my phone’s address book is up-to-date so that I can send postcards of Croatia to family and friends back home (both homes: America and Scotland).
I really wish I could enjoy Zadar with two working legs, but I’d rather have the experience with a (healing) injury than not at all! Stay tuned for a conference update—and maybe a few fabulous photos from some of the great cultural sites I’m hoping to see in between doing serious academic stuff.
The Three-Minute Thesis is an international competition where PhD students have three minutes to explain their research to a general, non-academic audience. Presenters are allowed to use one static slide for their talk but are not allowed props, costumes, or anything else to aid in their talk. It is one person, one slide, and three minutes. Not a second more.
I was one of two presenters from the School of Computing, along with Marwa Salayma, and one of 11 PhD presenters in total. I went into it all with a bit of confidence, especially because I know that I am generally rather decent at giving presentations. However, the moment the session began, I realised how extremely well-polished and, well, better the other 10 presenters were. And that’s when I knew there was no way I would be winning either the judges’ decision or the popular vote. And that was totally OK with me because the others were just better.
So, where did I go wrong?
First of all, the time limit for the three-minute thesis is very strict, with instant disqualification if you speak for even one second past your three-minute allowance. And this meant that I was extremely nervous because I do tend to ad-lib and joke a bit when I’m presenting… or when I’m just having a normal conversation! That pressure meant that I was extremely nervous in the lead-up to presenting. (A little bit of nervousness is good. I had more than a little though. Which is bad!)
I had practised a fair amount beforehand, but my changing script meant that I wasn’t completely confident about what line came next. And so, as I often do, I ad-libbed in a wee bit of text which meant that I had to wrap up my last comment in warp-speed, but I did manage to end spot-on the three-minute mark.
Of course, one of my larger failings was that I spent too much time setting things up and not enough time sharing my research findings. I was trying to weave a story and build a connection with the audience… but I did so to the detriment of the “interesting bits” of my research.
So, what would I do differently next time?
First of all, I will try to get out of it! I don’t think I like the strict structure of a three-minute thesis. But if I couldn’t get out of it, I would just work on my script a bit more, trying to focus more on the interesting bits rather than laying the groundwork for a larger story. I would also practise a lot more… and make sure that I was not at risk of talking up to the wire.
So, I failed. Miserably.
Yes, miserably. (I’m sure others would say I did a good job, but I am my own worst critic.) But my failure doesn’t mean that the experience was a failure. In fact, I would argue that the experience was a success because I learned a lot from it and I will improve my skills because of it.
So, who did win?
Matthew Wale won the popular vote for his talk about the effect of noise on marine life and David Whiteley won the judges’ choice for his talk on hepatitis research. David will now go on to present at the UK semi-finals and I wish him all the best. Both Matthew and David (and the rest of the presenters!) did an amazing job and I am in awe of their skills. Truly.
Don’t worry though… I didn’t leave the conference empty handed. But that’s a story for another day, as I slowly work to catch up on my blog. (And my PhD!)