I am studying a Bachelor of Communications (Digital Media) at Deakin university. This year I have decided to focus on my degree and in finding a job or internship where I can learn and develop my digital marketing and communications skills. As a result I found both an internship and employment.
I am currently interning at a boutique sized PR firm where I have gained more valuable skills in social media planning and scheduling, professional written and verbal communication and media relations. Working with professional communication practitioners has given me an understanding of workplace expectations, practices and the preferred way to perform tasks. Being mentored by these professionals has been very important for building my confidence. I always feel comfortable to ask for help and perform tasks on my own, knowing I have been guided in the right direction. I am so thankful to intern with such a supportive company which has encouraged me to keep applying for more internships throughout my studies.
Being employed as a marketing coordinator for a small property company was definitely a challenge. The property industry is very traditional therefore my boss was very cautious about creating and posting content across their social media platforms. Even though it did take baby steps, my boss was very eager to build the company’s online presence despite being in a conservative industry.
Being employed as a marketing coordinator required greater responsibility than an internship and therefore I lacked the confidence I needed to fulfil my role. Being in this position has led me to realise the value and importance of undertaking internships in order to gain the skills and confidence in the communications industry. To find out more about my experience check out the podcast below ⬇️
Professional vs. Personal vs. Private Self
As mentioned in the podcast, I believe it is very valuable to seperate your professional and personal identity. After attending the Communications Careers Forum: Future-Proofing Your Portfolio guest speaker Trevor Young thought differently. I asked him whether he thinks it is important to separate the online professional and personal self, Young simply answered “no”.
Young explained how the professional self should show your personal side and the information you do not want people knowing is “private”. On this note, I would like to mentioned when I refer to the personal self in the podcast above, I refer to the private self. I agree with Young in that it is important show your personality and interests as part of your professional self.
Knowing and understanding your online brand is vital for building a social media presence. Gaining an audience across your online platforms is how you build confidence in your work and your skills. Being active online is a challenge but being consistently active is even more challenging – we might all need to take baby steps to building an online presence.
Engaged employees are more productive and staff that enjoy their work feel empowered, work harder and add value to a business. The crisis of engagement is a predominant and reoccurring issue in multiple workplaces. A study conducted by Gallup found 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. A few reasons why employees are disengaged include; a lack of feedback, progression and recognition, poor communication, unclear about role and/or tasks and the repetition of boring or unwanted tasks.
Kahn’s 1990 study, ‘Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work’ provides an in depth analysis of employee engagement. Kahn’s highlights how meaningfulness, safety and availability are the psychological conditions that determine employee engagement.
Psychological meaningfulness is when employees feel valued and appreciated within a workplace. According to Kahn’s (1990) meaningfulness is influenced by “work elements that create incentives or disincentives for investments of self”. Kahn’s found that challenging and creative tasks, the role of employees and work interactions influence psychological meaningfulness.
Psychological safety refers to the level of self expression without fear of negative consequences. Employees should feel situations are trustworthy and secure. Interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, management style and organisational norms influence psychological safety (Kahn 1990, p. 705).
Psychological availability is having the physical, emotional and psychological resources ready to engage in an environment. Kahn’s states availability “measures how ready people are to engage, given the distractions they experience as members of social systems (1990, p.714). Physical energies, emotional energies, insecurity and outside life influence a person’s psychological availability (Kahn 1990, p. 714).
Kahn’s analysed engagement in two work environments; a summer camp and an architecture firm. The study found employees engagement is dependant on the answers to the following questions; “(1) How meaningful is it for me to bring myself into this performance? (2) How safe is it to do so? and (3) How available am I to do so?” (Kahn 1990, p. 703).
Psychological meaningfulness, safety and availability can be enhanced in a workplace through Gamification. Gamification has become a popular solution in businesses to improve engagement, motivation and collaboration in the workplace. For those who are unaware of the term gamification it is the process of implementing game elements into non-gaming environments. Gamification does not transform a workplace into a video game, “it plays on the psychology that drives human engagement – the drive to compete, improve, and out-do – and get instantly rewarded while doing so” (Forbes Media 2017).
Gameffective is a gamification system designed for workplaces to improve engagement by enhancing performance and motivation through gamification. Every workplace is different so gamification systems need to be tailor made. This is why Gameffective is so effective – ‘the success team’ helps choose the right game mechanics for a workplace.
Gameffective implement the following strategies to enhance employee engagement:
Social & Challenge: encourages employees to collaborate and recognise each others achievements as well as challenge employees to reflect on tasks and see how they can improve in the future
Real time feedback: provides instant feedback and results to employees, “just like a fitness tracker for work” (Gameffective 2019)
Recognise and engage: employees stay motivated from rewards, badges and game narratives
Gamification is a fantastic way to stay motivated at work. However, like everything there are cons regarding gamification in the workplace, such as:
Gamification systems can be generic ‘rather than creating thoughtful experiences that balance competition and collaboration’ (Eyal & Luman 2019)
Cheating the system
Novelty wears off
Despite the downfalls of gamifying a workplace, there is no doubt gamification plays a huge role in enhancing the engagement and motivation in employees. If your workplace isn’t gamified, you can motivate and engage yourself by downloading any of these apps. Watch the video below to find out more about engaging yourself in the workplace through gamification.
Kahn, WA. 1990, ‘Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work’, The Academy of Management Journal, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 692-724, retrieved 20 April 2019, <DOI: 10.2307/256287>
For this video I chose to speak about the digital divide between developed countries and Africa. Firstly, I thought it was important to define “digital divides” and secondly, to discuss the importance of access to information, especially in the digital age.
While Africa has little part in the global information space compared to developed countries, there it still hope to bridging the gap. The video outlines the positive efforts as well as the setbacks to expanding Africa’s part in the global information space. I relied heavily on the following readings to support my case:
My script was one of the most important parts to creating this video. In order to build an argument I needed to support it. I read numerous journal articles, news articles, blog posts, reports and so on before I began writing.
Even though the script was never finalised as I kept changing it along the way, it was my guide, and it was my safety net. I would not have be able to complete the video without my script.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Before I even turned the camera on, I got ready to present. I straightened my hair, put on some tinted moisturiser and wore a casual but neat woolen jumper (which, did not come in handy on 22 degree days). Once I did that, I actually felt ready to present.
Now is where it got time consuming. I set up the video recorder at eye level and the shot is a close up of myself in the centre of the frame. These camera angles and framing made me the focal point, which is important to get my argument across to the audience.
One morning it took me about 45 minutes to get the lighting right. After I got the lighting right the first time, I foolishly packed everything away. The next day I forgot how many lights I needed and how much sunlight I relied on. Two lamps positioned in front and beside me, sunlight from the window and 45 minutes later, I was able to start filming again.
THE LONGEST YARD
Ahhh, filming was definitely second slowest process of them all. Thankfully I wrote a detailed script which I relied on a lot! The main problem with filming is that you get so tired. When and think your done filming, you then go to edit and end up deleting most of “the scene”. Then of course, you have to film the same thing AGAIN. However I really enjoyed speaking about the “information poverty” in Africa which made it easier to redo (Gebremichael and Jackson’s 2006, p. 1). It also became very entertaining when I mispronounced words or sentences. Not as entertaining as watching yourself mispronounce words though…which leads me to the editing process.
Okay, so editing is the longest and most fidgety process of them all. It’s definitely fun adding in text; music; photos; and watching your video come to life. I used quite a few direct quotes from readings and instead of memorising them, I decided to overlay the audio with photos. I chose exactly fourteen photos and one video to overlay with, all under the Creative Commons (CC) licensing. The photos were used to link to what I was saying and keep the audience engaged. The music I chose is upbeat to counterbalance all the information delivered to the audience (also under CC licensing).
IT’S ALL PART OF THE PROCESS
It was easy for me to speak about digital divides, due to my strong interested in the topic. At first, the topic proved difficult to narrow down. However I managed to achieve the desired result in the end.
While filming, I had the camera screen facing towards me and in some “scenes” I would lose eye contact with the lens. I then had to repeat a sentence or re tape a paragraph. Here, I learnt that when I was more focused during filming the editing was much easier. Also if it isn’t working, re-record. Yes, every time I had to re-record, I had a little whine, but, it usually takes less time to do that than keep “fidgeting” with the clips. It is particularly tough cutting parts of the film and editing the audio of the overlay. This is when I came to terms with the tedious process of editing. Look, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. I just eventually got through it.
This was the longest video I have ever made and I honestly loved the entire process. Although the biggest lesson I learnt would have to be that patience is a true virtue.
I was set on creating a video about Artificial Intelligence (AI), however I really struggled to focus on one particular part of AI topic so I check the topics list again. I picked surveillance straight off the bat and read through some class notes on the topic. An Introduction to Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish Video was recommended to students to expand their knowledge on surveillance. I watched it and found my focus about the “Panopticon” theory. I did a bit more background reading about Panopticon and Michel Foucault. Thomas McMullan’s article, ‘What does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?’ outlines that ‘in many ways, the watchtower in the heart of the panopticon is very alike to CCTV cameras – purposely visible and with human eyes hidden from view”.
This is when I began to relate to the topic, especially when driving around and I see a camera, I always slow down even if I am already under the limit. I decided that CCTV cameras and the Panopticon would be really easy for me to talk about. I wrote a script which became more of guide to what I was going to say. I also made an effort not to look like I was reading. I basically pretended the camera was a person that I was having a conversation with. This way, the audience can feel like I am talking with them rather than at them.
After reflecting on the first video I made, I wanted to improve the lighting for this one. There was a slight shadow on my face in the previous video, so I used quite an intense lamp to even out the lighting. It was a very sunny the day of filming so the “intense” lamp I was using was not good enough. I had to reposition myself several times as well as adjust the blinds so less light was coming from the window.
Fifteen to twenty minutes later I was set and ready to start recording. After my first take, the video camera died…Great.
So I repeated the steps above and began, again. Thankfully filming did not take too long. I had gained some more confidence in front of the camera and was less pedantic than the making of first video. I was feeling good.
Now to the editing. At first it was a struggle to upload the clips onto my computer because apparently the storage was full. No need to street, yet, so I uploaded some file onto a USB, restarted my computer and thankfully that did the trick! My computer was back on track. The easiest bit is that I used the same introduction as my first video. I used the videos I didn’t like for overlay images I used from Flikr. I required the most patience when matching up the audio with video files in different frames. Then just when you think your finished you remember you have to do the credits. This was definitely the most tedious and one of the longest parts. However, I played a bit of music in the background and before I knew it I was done.
At first, it was hard for me to decide what content to put into my video. So I imagined myself on a speed date and thought of things I would like to know about other people. My first thoughts were their age, job and where they are from. But, I am only making a two-minute video, so this is when I decided to cut the small talk and get straight into what makes me who I am.
I wouldn’t really call it “planning” but I did refer to a list I mentally recorded which I thought were vital points about me, myself and I:
Thriller Novels? Okay
My phone camera is of very poor quality so I daringly borrowed a cam recorder from Deakin library. Hell yes, it came with a tripod and wind protector, I thought I was destined for good things. I started filming outside, unfortunately, the wind protector did not reach its potential so I moved inside.
Thankfully the cam recorder was surprisingly easy to use. I tested multiple locations to film including my living room, dining room and kitchen. However, after being constantly interrupted by my family I chose to record at my desk which conveniently has a large window next to it. The light from the window created a bright setting for the video which is exactly what I was going for. My pin board is in the background, which has been added to over the years and turned out to be quiet fitting for an introduction video.
I built a stand out of smiggle boxes, screwed the camera onto the tripod and began. I did a few tests runs to ensure the lighting/volume/positioning was okay. In terms of positioning, I wanted a medium shot from the waist up, in the centre of the frame so that the audience could identify what I looked like. I also think the medium shot allows for a bit of background so that it is engaging but not too distracting.
Right…where do I begin…? Well, where it all began…outside.
I took multiple takes outside, it was going great to start, nice green backgrounds and the lighting was fantastic. However, I soon realised the quality of the sound was not great. The wind was being picked up so there were distracting noises in the background.
I decided to film in the dining room, but it was too dark. I moved into the living room, but nobody in the household had any empathy when I was filming. Background noises from the television as well as chatter were being picked up. The third and final calling was my study area. It was quiet and the lighting was fantastic. Finally, I was winning…………….for now.
It is hard enough pointing a camera in your face and speaking about yourself. Then you need to watch yourself and somehow give yourself “constructive criticism”. Three hours and a couple of half-decent videos later…I decided to edit. I tried to make the video introduction engaging by using snippets of various photos that reflect my interests.
In the end, or maybe this is the beginning, I had such an exciting time creating this welcome video.
I closed my eyes, looked up at the ceiling and thought, will I ever be done?
Producing a podcast is not easy. After googling ‘how to make the perfect podcast’ I found it a whole lot easier to just let things happen, my way.
Gathering my thoughts.
I was inspired after watching Henrik Scheel, speak about the importance of education in “preparing today’s youth” for the future. Scheel stated that “we are going to have multiple generations that are graduating with degrees that fit job descriptions that no longer exist”. After reflecting on my education, specifically, the skills that I learnt at school, that fit the job descriptions of today, I began to worry.
With the digital revolution in full speed, I thought about the skills that are sustainable, and most importantly will not become “obsolete”. Creativity is one, engagement is another, but how do we encourage students to be creative and engaging…Empower them.
I found my focus: digital media in primary school education, in particular how digital media is a tool for developing skills that are relevant to the future. Throughout the podcast, I emphasise how digital media leads to higher levels of student empowerment, engagement, and creativity.
To my surprise, Australia Screen Education published a case study: ‘Innovation In Primary Schools’, in 2003 (when I was still in primary school). It is a brief article about St Ives North Public School in NSW, that outlines the numerous benefits of the Kids News Network (KNN) program. No negatives were stated but with only 120 computers and 620 students, go figure, accessibility was an issue.
I needed a more in-depth analysis to support my argument, and to reflect on the benefits and limitations of incorporating digital media in school. The recent case study on ‘Identity and Agency in School and Afterschool Settings: Investigating Digital Media’s Supporting Role’ gave me just that. The findings, specifically the student’s experiences in the ELE program compared to students experiences in school, helped me create a balanced argument.
The Nitty Gritty
The technological side of my podcast was never-ending. I used Audacity to edit, which involved a whole lotta stopping, deleting, adjusting, undoing, redoing and so on.
After writing the script, the recording was next. I tried to speak as clearly and articulately as I could, to avoid extra editing. Sometimes it wouldn’t take long, I’d be on a roll, but most of the time that wasn’t the case. At one stage of recording, BING! An email came through…this is when I looked up at the ceiling.
I used a Creative Commons image for the logo of my podcast. Thanks to Nicolai Heidlas I found three Creative Commons tracks to use; Tonight, Hand in Hand and Good Times. The tone of my voice is quite formal, so using energetic and upbeat music created a balance. When I talk about the limitations of technology in the classroom, I use Hand In Hand. It isn’t necessarily a sad song, but the rhythm is slower, which changes the mood.
The most time-consuming part was editing la música (Spanish for, the music). I avoided background music whilst I spoke. At first, I had it, but when Mum had a listen, her mature ears couldn’t quite hear my voice. Thank god crossfading was easy for me because everything else wasn’t. Audacity has this wonderful tool called the ‘envelope’ which I used religiously to adjust the volume. I decided to play music when I got sick of the sound of my own voice, and if I changed ideas, I would play the music a couple of seconds longer.
The biggest thing I learnt when making a podcast is to breathe, step away for a couple of hours, make a cup of tea and have fun with it.
Our online identity is a virtual representation of ourselves that exposes who we are through our online platforms. These platforms are what give us a deeper understanding about our online persona/s. With access to numerous social media accounts we are able to alternate between multiple identities.
Performance enables me to authentically construct my professional persona ‘while maintaining a balance between’ my private and public self (Schmidt 2007, p. 1413). Understanding the ‘audience’ and developing the ‘setting’ are the foundations for building my professional identity (Goffman 1959, p. 29-33). The way I perform on Twitter, LinkedIn, About.Me and WordPress reflect my professional persona.
The Power of an Audience
Erving Goffman suggests that the performer puts on their ‘show for the benefit of other people’ and while this is true, I also believe our ‘show’ can largely benefit ourselves (1959).
I have followed and connected with people within the food, travel and media industries on Twitter and LinkedIn. These people are my ‘audience’ (Goffman 1959 p. 28) and my sites are structured to get a response and connect with them. Here is an example of a tweet that I strategically constructed in order to get attention from my audience.
This small interaction has taught me the importance of firstly, having an audience and using them as a way to enhance my performance of the professional self.
It Starts with the Setting
Erving Goffman wrote that “those who would use a particular setting as part of their performance cannot begin their act until they have brought themselves to the appropriate place” (Goffman 1959, p. 33). The physical layout of my social media accounts is the ‘setting’ that allows me to ‘begin’ constructing my professional identity.
The first step when creating my Twitter, LinkedIn and About.me accounts was to set a profile picture. I decided to use the same photo for all of my profile pictures and I also used this photo in my about section on WordPress.
Without knowing anything about me, the photo indicates to the audience that I like travelling and dining out. I chose a photo that I believe is the best representation of who I am. The audience is able to put a face to my name which is important because they are most likely to remember me by my photo as oppose to my posts.
On Twitter and WordPress I chose scenic photos for my header images. On WordPress I used an image of myself with an incredible view behind me. This photo compliments the ‘Food, Travel and Media’ title on my blog site, as well as, the information on my about page. The header image is one of the first elements the audience sees, this is why I chose photos that have eye catching backdrops to grab their attention and keep them interested.
Setting a clear and engaging bio throughout my social media platforms is vital to constructing my professional persona. The bio is like a virtual business card: a quick and concise way to tell the audience who I am. I have consistently focused on two topics in all my bios: what I study and what I am passionate about. These topics target the audience that I wish to connect with, so I have also included links to my other online platforms.
My Twitter bio is very casual and has a few emoji’s to keep it engaging for viewers. The structure is basically in dot point form and I have used hashtags to emphasise my passions. I have more space to write on About.Me, LinkedIn and WordPress so the language and structure is more formal, however, the text is still simple and concise. My bios have been structured to target a specific audience and gives a clear snapshot of my professional identity.
Private vs. Public self
Though the performance of my professional identity is carefully orchestrated, it is, in fact, an authentic representation of who I am. The way I perform my online presence requires only a certain part of my identity to be seen. This allows me to distinguish between my public and private self. The performance of my professional self is public for the purpose of connecting with industry professionals in the hope to gain work experience or internships.
The visual setting throughout my social media accounts is the opening scene to which I begin the performance of my professional self. I will continue to carefully stage my posts to expose my professional online persona in the hope to connect with my audience.
…and that’s a wrap.
Goffman, E 1959, The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, Pelican Books Australia Ltd, Melbourne
Marshall, PD 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of
Schmidt, J 2007, ‘BloggingPractices:AnAnalytical Framework’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 12, no. 4, p. 1409-1427, doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00379.x
Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95, retrieved April 2018, Ebook Central.
Since becoming a new member on various social media platforms I have found it difficult to know when and what to post. So I have come up with a small list of some fears about social media and advice to overcome them.
1. Fear of the unknown:
The fear of something that is new or foreign is a natural occurrence. Think of a baby who is about to get into water for the first time, at first they look so scared, but once their toes touch the water they are splashing around and smiling. This is how you could look at your first time posting on social media.
To help overcome these fears it is important to test the waters. Do some research and get an understanding of how others are doing and how they use social media. Embracing the unknown will help you figure out what social media means to you and will be starting point for developing your online identity.
2.I don’t know what to post:
It can be confusing not knowing what to post and staying consistent on your social media accounts. Start to follow people whose accounts inspire you and think about how they create their posts to link back to their personal theme.
For example Gourmet Travellers Twitter is one of the first profiles that pop up after searching “travel”.When you click on their profile there are pictures of delicious food and numerous articles related to food and travel. As a food and travel lover this profile exemplified everything I wanted to see and read about. Think about how others would view your profile if they looked you up. Is it everything they wanted to see?
3. Make Your Own Media:
Imagine you have created your own media, maybe it’s a photo or video or both and it’s a piece that that you’re really passionate about, how cool would it be to post it online. If you are happy and proud of the work you have done it is easier to press send and post it to the public. No doubt it is scary but keep reminding yourself of why you posted your own work online in the first place.
If we build our own content that relates to our online identities it will massively strengthen our online presence. Creating your own media is the best way to mould your posts so that they link back to your theme. To share personal work also gives you the opportunity to learn from and interact with your followers.
Starting with these basic steps can really help to overcome the fear of posting. It can be discouraging using social media platforms for the first time and not knowing where to start. To help relieve any fears about posting online it is important to dive into the ‘unknown’ and embrace what you find. Get inspired, start to follow people that guide you towards your online identity so that you can start posting yourself. Be unique and make your own media, it will set you a part from everyone else and strengthen your online presence. So have fun, create and inspire but most importantly learn by doing.