Blog Post #11: The Final Blog!

Qualman states that, “connections are vital to anyone’s success” (2012, para. 1). This is my greatest takeaway after learning about PLNs in EDCI 338, and as I reflect on my work in this course, is the takeaway that will translate best into my future endeavours. All PLNs and social media platforms serve the purpose of fulfilling human needs for connection. It is a remarkable thing that we can network with people in real time with people across the globe. Of course, there are negative factors as well. Privacy breaches, hackers, and advertising companies can exploit and profit off this need for connection that PLNs facilitate.

The biggest in change in my opinion of social media after taking this course is that I am now much more aware of how to maximize my PLN for professional success. After completing the course readings, discussing with peers, and watching the interviews in this course with professionals and activists, I have a clearer direction to my PLN development. I want to use social media not only for passing time (procrastinating), but to build my network. I want to maintain the connections I have made in this course and at my time at UVic. In one of my previous blogs I expressed my desire to continue writing and how I would like to look into student writing opportunities. Having a platform to express my opinions has been such a positive experience for me, especially during the pandemic. I am a fairly introverted person, so expressing myself through the medium of blogging is especially appealing to me. Overall, I aim to continue using my PLN for professional development and learn more about this topic.

Works Cited

Qualman, E. (2012). Digital leader: 5 simple keys to success and influence (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Chapter Retrieved from:

Blog Post #10: Engaging your PLN

Consider how you can use the PLN interactions of this course to further your digital identity post-term.

I really enjoyed working with my classmates on the various platforms we have used this semester. By writing these blog posts, I have been reminded of how much I like to write, especially in a more casual context like a blog versus an essay. I think going forward I am going to continue writing opinion pieces, even if they are only for myself. In high school I used to write for our school newspaper, so I might look for student writing opportunities in my future endeavours.

What does it mean to have a digital identity in your industry of choice and can your current PLN be used to help professional development post-course?

As I head into law school post-graduation and eventually start my career as a lawyer, it will be important that my digital identity is professional. I will take care to ensure my personal social media platforms are private. I will want to make sure that my digital identity is an accurate and positive reflection of my “personal, academic, and professional life” (Oliveira and Morgado, 2014). PLNs will be useful to connect with other law students and young lawyers and receive mentorship and advice. In the past, I used my PLN to study for the LSAT. Further, I know students who have received legal placements and articling jobs by networking online.

Additionally, as you progress through the steps of your career, can your PLN be relied on to open professional opportunities?

Most definitely. It is hard for me to say which field of law I would like to pursue, but the digital skills that we have developed in EDCI 338 will aid me in my career path. While I mostly rely on LinkedIn for my professional PLN, I have thought of making a more professional Twitter handle for networking purposes. I also know students who make Instagram accounts dedicated to networking and career-building purposes. I also think it would be fun to make daily routine TikToks when in school.

Blog Post #9: Why Media Literacy matters in your PLN

What is media literacy?

Media literacy can be defined as the combination of skills that helps people analyze the content of media messages that they receive and that they send (Trilling and Fadel, 2012). If you possess media literacy, you are able to vet sources and see which ones are reliable, avoid fake news, maximize your digital experience, and create online. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of strengthening media literacy skills, and how these skills are often lacking in underserved communities.

Why is it important?

It is essential to be media literate because it makes you a critical thinker. Critical thinking skills are important to be an strong student, wise consumer, and productive member of society and the workforce. It is so easy to be passive in our consumption, but it is important to resist this. Since children are being exposed to media and technology at younger and younger ages, it is important for this education to be taught at school. I remember receiving a presentation on reliable sources and fake news at my high school, but not all schools prioritize this. Media conglomerates and advertisers profit off the lack of media literacy in consumers, which Smith discusses in their interview.

Open dialogues about media literacy and factual information can create conflict, why does this happen?

Since forms of media and the works they produce all have a bias to them, it is not surprising that they can cause controversy. Someone can experience an event and have a completely different perspective on it than another person. That does not necessarily mean that one of the individuals is spreading false information, but rather, have a disagreement in opinion. Media literacy allows consumers to distinguish fact from fiction.

Works Cited

EDCI 338 (2020, Nov 1). A01 Smith, Julie [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube,

Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2012). Digital Literacy Skills. In 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Blog #8: PLN & Education

Community communications go beyond blogs and social media shares, how does a PLN help and hinder the development of thoughts and ideas in education discourse? What are some problems with social media communications in education settings?

PLNs can help the development of thoughts and ideas in educational discourse by making it easier for people to access an audience and share their stories. PLNs remove the middle-man (for example, a publisher who needs to approve scholarly work before having it published in a university textbook) and allows for the greater spread of ideas. This is highly significant in regards to interview with Baker, in which social media has been a tool for Indigenous people to share their stories. Hashtags such as #LandBack and #NoMoreStolenSisters have caused greater awareness to issues that have been traditionally erased from our textbooks. In a way, PLNs allow for decolonization of education.

As we discussed in class, it is important to be critically aware of the news you are consuming. PLNs and social media can make it easier for well-intended individuals to spread false information, so make sure to vet your sources. First-hand experiences, as Baker mentions, are always a safe bet.

How does the use of PLN raise awareness opportunities in education?

One great advantage of using PLN to raise awareness opportunities in education is that you can attract learners from all across the globe. Therefore, education becomes more accessible to larger groups of people. One example of this is the free course on Indigenous Studies at the University of Alberta, which I saw advertised across my PLN. This speaks to Veletsianos’ article, in which they discuss a networking teacher, and the unique dynamic between learner and educator with PLNs (2010).

What is the role of social media in education?

Social media allows for greater recognition for educational projects. For my final group project for EDCI 338, my group intends to publish a podcast on Spotify. By releasing it onto Spotify, we are able to reach a larger market and create a sense of legitimacy for our project. Hopefully other students will listen and share what they think about the episode.

Works Cited

Miller, Jesse. “EDCI 338 Brad Baker.” YouTube, 5 Mar. 2021,

Veletsianos, George. “Developing Personal Learning Networks for Open and Social Learning.” Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, Au P, 2010, pp. 109-128.

Blog #7: Public PLN – Balancing PLN & Public Discourse

How do notable individuals use social media?

I think notable individuals, such as celebrities, media personalities, influencers, etc, use social media to promote a brand. Maybe these individuals use their platforms to highlight a product campaign they are doing, or to advertise their new song on Spotify. Even with a small following, it is possible to promote a certain niche or capture a particular market (for instance, micro influencers. I know many students who works with brands as a side hustle on Instagram to help pay for university). 

I would argue that even the influencers who market themselves as “relatable” are promoting a brand. The idea of effortless coolness/beauty/quirkiness is incredibly marketable right now. No one wants to look like they are trying. Just consider the concept of “no-makeup makeup”, in which the purpose is to achieve a “natural” look by wearing makeup. Therefore, it is important to recognize that everything on social media is carefully curated — even photos that may look effortless! This idea is captured perfect by Vance in her interview, as she explains how integral that her brand reflects her identity. Her role as a broadcaster provides a bit more flexibility that the role of a journalist in what opinions she can share in public discourse.

What are the benefits of being in the public eye and having a PLN?

One benefit is the ability to meet new people and increase your network. Another benefit is that it boosts your digital professional identity for greater recognition when applying for jobs. For instance, someone who has a fully completed LinkedIn profile with numerous connections, and who is applying for a job through LinkedIn’s career portal, is likely at a more advantageous position than someone with an empty LinkedIn profile. Vance reinforces this idea by describing how her role in the public media has led her to make professional connections.

Building community with online tools provided by the employer can be limiting, what are the perceived restrictions and benefits?

Some of the benefits of using online tools are the ease of use and accessibility. Most social media platforms that focus on community are free to use and do not require an extensive tech background. In my role as a Community Leader for UVic Residence Life, I have taken advantage of platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram to build communityamong first-year students.

Safety and privacy concerns are some concerns you must consider when using online tools in a professional context. If you are using social media for a job, you should be certain that your passwords and data are stored safely. At my job, we moved away from using Facebook for communication and now rely on our UVic emails and Microsoft Teams, as they have stronger privacy protections.

Delivering information in a connected society requires verifiable resources, how to build a PLN to rely on?

One piece of advice I received from a professor at UVic who runs a blog is to read a variety of sources. Not just two or three — but five, six, or even seven if you have the time. Editorials, new pieces, documentaries, etc, all have a particular slant to them. This slant, or bias, is often curated to promote advertising, which has created a unique dynamic that Hirst speaks to in their piece (2018). By reviewing multiple sources, it is easier to avoid bias and review trusted sources/

How do those, who are veteran storytellers, minimize risk in sharing misinformation?

Like I mentioned, it is important to look at a variety of sources before sharing information. It is essential to look up information for yourself and critically assess it on your own terms. There have been many times where I have wanted to share a graphic on my Instagram story, but I first paused to do some fact-checking. While these types of graphics are great for promoting campaigns and calling attention to issues, it is difficult to explain multi-faceted issues over an Instagram story.

Works Cited

Vance, Jody & Miller, J. “EDCI 338 – 2021 – 03 – 21 JODY VANCE.” 03 Mar. 2021. doi:

Hirst, M. (2018). Social Journalism and the Gig Economy. Navigating Social Journalism: A Handbook for Media Literacy and Citizen Journalism. Ch. 6.(pp. 142-143). New York, NY: Routledge.

Blog #6: Community Engagement & Your PLN

How does social media engage in advocacy communications?

From the Arab Spring, Kony 2012, and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, we have seen the remarkable ways that social media can connect and unite activists fighting for a common goal. Social media’s greatest advantage for advocacy communications is creating more awareness and recognition to social justice issues. For instance, Instagram stories can be used to post information in the form of eye-catching infographics about social causes, which we saw frequently during the peak of the 2020 BLM resurgence. We also see hashtags on Twitter being used to call attention to issues, such as #MeToo in regards to sexualized violence, and #OscarsSoWhite in regards to the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations/awards. In their interview, Simpson echoes this point by discussing how he increased his social media following, with retweeting of his work allowing for greater attention to BC Community Alliance. This point is supported by the reading by Clark and Aufderheide, as they recognize how social media/PLNs work to move someone to the front of media attention (2013).

How does social media use in public discourse potentially challenge advocacy communications?

Social media allows anyone to become an online activist, which is both a positive and negative phenomenon. Since it is so easy to post things and retweet points online, users may end up accidentally sharing false information, causing more harm than good. For instance, Kony 2012 turned out be a much more complicated situation than the documentary presented. Another example is the case of #BlackoutTuesday, in which Instagram users posted a black square in support of BLM. Many criticized the phenomenon as lazy activism, as there were more black squares on Instagram than signatures on petitions for victims of police brutality such as George Floyd. There was also the issue of important protest information and resources being drowned out by the black squares. Overall, I think users need to be careful about what they are sharing and think critically of what they see online. Clark and Aufderheide highlight the important of having policies in place to stop these kinds of issues occurring, noting that while public discourse in public media is possible, we do not have the correct policies in place to make them most successful (2013). While some platforms have been working to dispel the rise of fake news online, the issue is still relevant.

Works Cited

Clark, J., & Aufderheide, P. (2013). A New Vision for Public Media – Open, Dynamic, and Participatory. In J. Pooley, L. Taub-Pervizpour, & S. C. Jansen (Authors), Media and social justice (pp. 55-67). New York: Palgrave.

Simpson, Markiel. “EDCI 338 – 2021 – 02 – 22 MARKIEL SIMPSON.”  21 Feb. 2021. doi:

Blog #5: PLN for Social Media Campaign

MINOR BLOG POST #5 – How would you create a PLN prior to engaging a social media campaign on a topic of your choice.

I would use my PLN to help students transition from university to the workforce or further education. As someone who is graduating after this term, I know first-hand how scary and intimidating this transition can be. I think a campaign that connects soon-to-be graduates with each other would provide a great support network. This campaign could focus on skills that we have developed in this course – such as working to curate a professional digital identity and expanding networks. Some points I would keep in mind while launching my campaign is to be as genuine and authentic as possible. In the reading by Woods, the author advises readers to “Let your Twitter feed reflect you. Make sure your tweets are professional, but also reflect your own personality. You’ll make better connections if you’re open and genuine” (2013, p. 71). I often find that career-based content creators gloss over the gritty parts of establishing your professional identity. All of us face setbacks, and it is important to share that so that students realize they are not alone.

Woods mentions in their article the importance and relevance of Twitter as a PLN, emphasizing features such as hashtags to enable connection-building (2013). One thing I would keep in mind before using Twitter for my campaign, is that many students my age signed up for Twitter for personal use. I would encourage students to whom this applies to create a new Twitter for professional use and make their personal Twitter “private.” There have been so many instances of leaders and celebrities facing harsh consequences for some of their old tweets!

Works Cited

Woods, Bianca. “Building your own PLN: seeking new insights and ideas? Expand your personal learning network.” T+D, vol. 67, no. 11, Nov. 2013, p. 70+. Gale OneFile:







Blog #4: My PLN and Inclusion

How diverse is your existing PLN?

I would assess my existing PLN as fairly diverse. I am well-connected on social media platforms and PLNs like LinkedIn with a diverse array of folks from various backgrounds. I grew up in a small city where there is not very much diversity and I felt out of place as a BIPOC woman growing up. As I have gotten older, I learned to value multiculturalism as something to be celebrated, and seek it out in my personal and professional settings. I would say this has become second nature to me. Even in the media I consume, I most enjoy movies and books that show diversity in their stories.

 In your PLN, are you learning from a variety of voices or are you the loudest in the room?

I am definitely learning from a variety of voices; however, as an introvert, I do not think I am ever the loudest in the room. Something that has come up in discussions regarding Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements is the importance of listening to marginalized folk. Instead of centering my own views and opinions, I always try to listen to those who are different from me, and be mindful of people who have had different experiences than I have before making assumptions. I think that this is important in movements for inclusion as well. When we try to include those who have not been welcome in certain spaces before, such as in educational institutions as Moore discusses in our readings and videos,  we must listen to those who have lived experience being excluded.

 Do you participate in a silo of information sharing (similar themes or wide-range of interests)?

I try my best to avoid echo chambers and only exposing myself to views that I already agree with. I am someone who is constantly pushing  myself to grow and broaden my horizons, so I always endeavour to learn new things. However, that is not to say that I have not fallen into silos of information sharing before. Overall, this relates back to listening with intent to understand, as I outlined previously.

How can you use a diverse PLN to broaden your views of inclusion?

A diverse PLN can help broaden views of inclusion by its ability to introduce new ideas you may have not been exposed to before.  For instance, as someone who grew up in a town that was not diverse, I used PLN to make multicultural connections. I was able to learn more about movements about issues not directly impacting me, such as LGBT rights and disability rights. PLNs offer an accessible entry-point to inclusion, and is especially significant during this pandemic-era where it is harder to connect with new people.

In your professional setting of choice, do you think inclusion is actively embraced?

As someone who wants to become a lawyer, I have reflected on this question before. Historically, I do not think inclusion in law was actively embraced, and the field still has a reputation for being relatively male and white-dominated space. However, things are changing. More women and more BIPOC individuals are entering the field, and women actually make up a higher percentage of law school graduates (CITE). There is still so much room for improvement, which is why I am attending an event by the UVIC Students of Colour Collective that addresses this very topic (see photo below).

Educational institutions, like law schools, work in the manner that Moore criticizes for producing “more of the same”, dating back to attitudes formulated during the industrial revolution (9). Our workforce needs people to work certain hours per day and to not question the systems that are in place. I believe there are ways to subvert this trend. We can encourage educational reforms, which Moore notes are already happening in a global scale (9). Personally, I have noticed a greater emphasis on decolonizing education in recent years of study, which I think is an overall reflection of inclusive efforts.

What is the learning outcome of your PLN and how are you ensuring your exposure to diversity and inclusion?

The learning outcome of my PLN is personal and professional development. Rather than focusing on accomplishments or achievement markers, I believe individual self growth is a worthwhile ambition.  For myself, a goal of mine has been to incorporate more rest and self-care into my daily routine. This learning outcome has been, in part, inspired by exposure to diverse views on my PLN. I will continue to ensure my PLN reflects a diversity of opinion.

In terms of inclusion, I will ensure that anything I post or include in my PLN is not exclusionary to any group or practice. I will also continually remind myself that, as Moore states “There is no one way of being inclusive,” (11).

 How has your thinking about inclusion and PLN evolved after reviewing the videos and readings?

After reviewing this topic through the videos and readings, I have become much more aware of the efforts made by activists, advocacy groups, etc, to promote inclusion. The move from integration to inclusion (Five Moore Minutes 03:13) is a process that resonated with me deeply. I have definitely felt the difference between feeling like a token minority in a community and feeling actively and meaningfully included. This difference is key to understand to make sure that no one feels excluded.

I also really appreciated the example Moore used about people who do not feel “green” may feel broken (Five Moore Minutes 01:57).  This made me further reflect on how the standards in place in our society can have such negative impact.

Works Cited

Moore, Shelley. One Without the Other : Stories of Unity Through Diversity and Inclusion, Portage & Main Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Moore, Shelley. “Don’t Should on Me: It’s Not Easy Being Not Green.”YouTube, uploaded by Five Moore Minutes, 2018,

Moore, Shelley. “The Evolution of Inclusion.” YouTube, uploaded by Five Moore Minutes, 2018,

Blog Post #3: VR Mapping and Reflections

What digital platforms are students currently using to develop their professional network?

In my own experience, and from observing friends and peers, students are taking advantage of many different platforms to develop their professional networks. Gone are the days where a degree alone can guarantee a job. Now, it is important to make connections and meet with new people. This is especially important in careers that rely on teamwork or collaboration. Currently, I have seen students use LinkedIn to share professional and academic achievements, using it as a personal resume of sorts. I think my generation is shifting away from Facebook these days, but there is definitely still room on that platform to work on your professional network. Personally, I keep my Facebook reserved for friends and family, keeping it as personal use, but in the past I have used it to connect with residents with my job as a Community Leader at UVIC.

What can you (as a student) consider to expand your professional learning network?

A way to expand my professional learning network would be to connect with fellow students in my classes. In this pandemic-era, it can feel difficult to expand your networks and meet new people. Meeting people through a screen is not always ideal, however, it is best to make the most of the current reality and try and make connections. For instance, participating in forums, joining Discord servers (for my program, Political Science, there is a discord server for each course), or posting on Reddit, are all ways to meet people with common interests at UVic. From there, I can connect with the people I have met on my professional networks such as LinkedIn.

In your network, how can you create a digital identity/reputation?

One of the unique factors about creating a digital identity is that it can be tailored towards your academics or professional goals. For instance, someone interested in politics make create a digital identity by using Twitter to comment on current events, or by creating a blog to share their thoughts. Someone who wants to advance their artistic career could start an art page on Instagram. An advantage of this is that Instagram allows businesses to sell directly from their page, so if you have a small business, you can advertise and sell through one platform.  Another example could be a student photographer who posts their portfolio as albums on Facebook.

Consider what a local employer would do if you applied for a job with them – can they search the content, is it of benefit to the career path, does it hinder the opportunity of employment?

It is most likely that a local employer would see my LinkedIn profile and my Twitter, as those are the two PLNs I have on public viewing settings. My LinkedIn has been curated to make a good impression on employers, with regular updates and a professional headshot, so I would like to think it would benefit my career path. My Twitter page is mostly for personal use, but I make sure to keep my content appropriate and family-friend, so as not to hinder any employment opportunities. I might consider making my Twitter private in the future as I enter the workforce full-time.

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