What Does China, Facebook, & Donald Trump All Have in Common?

Keeping up with my blogging and trying to improve… EC&I831-ers, please lend me your thoughts and opinions on the following piece from our course learnings:

Online activism, net neutrality, and equal access have been very interesting topics we’ve discussed as of late. This is especially interesting to me given the recent attempts of Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org, our class discussions, and my major project utilizing Facebook as our preferred social networking tool.

In a blog post on The Rebel, Facebook employees were highlighted as contemplating manipulating social media in an effort to prevent Donald Trump from being elected in the upcoming American elections. And, while this may seem like an act of justice that I would love to see happen (This guy for President?) on the surface, it does pose bigger issues, one of which is censorship.

I had gone to China in 2009 as part of a nursing delegation. It was an amazing place to visit; although, I was shocked to discover the realness of the Chinese government’s imposition of Internet censorship. You get what this diagram is intended to mean?! It portrays a highly controlled online space, which is decided upon by very few. That is scary. Even I remember trying to find out information about Tiananmen Square while I was visiting the hollow site when my guide asked me to “please stop.”   So, I did.

Side Note: Zuckerberg meeting in China.

At that time, I didn’t think anything more than how controlling the Chinese government was, and how unfair practices seemed commonplace to the Chinese citizens I was touring with. To think about it in a governmental manner somehow made sense to me at the time; I didn’t like it, but it made some sense.

To recently learn about issues that I had known of, but hadn’t taken interest in, has become of greater importance to me. To think that corporate interests, social media entities, and individual ideologies could be bigger than governmental control was shocking for me to discover to be quite honest. Way over here in the ‘Land of The Free,’ could we be censored or swayed without even knowing it? At least in China everyone knows they are being watched. In Canada, our freedom is taken for granted, but realizing the inherent risk that one of the largest social media outlets, could be capable of – even do-gooder Trump-Hater company employees – sparks a bigger controversy. I don’t know which would be worse: manipulation in the name of online activism, or Trump for President of the United States of America… Do you?



Summary of Learning!!!

Well, another skill-building journey!

Creation of a GoAnimate artifact for our EC&I 831 course had its challenges (i.e. I JUST figured out how to insert a cut up version of my narration because it only allows 20sec max clips!!), but it has been a learning experience all unto its own!

Thanks for the opportunity to share this adventure with all of you!

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Good luck with all of your future studies, EC&I831-er!

Take care,


Check out this bird!!!

Photo Credit: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/151123103632-hovercat-brussels-lockdown-tweet-large-169.jpg







Now, carry on:

In Canada, anyone convicted of distributing an intimate image without consent could face serious legal consequences. For example:

  • They could be imprisoned for up to five years;

Legit intimidating punishment.

  • Their computer, cell phone or other device used to share the image could be seized; and

Trembling in my boots. No, I am not. Seriously?

  • They could be ordered to reimburse the victim for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere.

Umm, what about the actual costs? Try pricing out mental distress, social stigmatization, humiliation, and the inevitable subsequent costs that these impacts will cast upon another human being. Gross. It is a ripple effect that would feel more like a tsunami to the victim. Quite simply, this is not OK.

An “intimate image” is defined as an image that depicts a person engaged in explicit sexual activity or that depicts a sexual organ, anal region or breast. Furthermore, the image would have to be one where there person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy at the time of the recording and had not relinquished his or her privacy interest at the time of the offence.

This sounds a bit fuzzy. How about “has” for starters. One can only hope that the judge overseeing these vague legalities has had his/her private image displayed publically (without self-solicitation) at some point in his/her lifetime. Wowzers.

Do you think Canada has a little work to do? Yes/No? Or, maybe you have some literature that makes good sense!! Please share your knowledge with me. 🙂

Enticing Students Towards Success!

Gif Credit: giphy.com
Gif Credit: giphy.com

photo credit: giffy.com

Common, as if this doesn’t entice you?!

In all seriousness, the Facebook NCLEX Support Group page has been very helpful according to myself, but more importantly, the nursing students. It hasn’t been difficult to get the attention of a group of students who are out of ideas and stressed, yet highly motivated to succeed. I feel that this could be much more difficult if it were simply related to one of their undergraduate courses. Regardless, the participation has been wonderful, with a couple examples provided on my last update. We currently have 40 students online and there has been no difficulty with completely halting all email communications.

While I am not sure how things will play out when we move towards a more purposeful and collaborative NCLEX support approach within the SCBScN program (specifically, within the UR FoN), I am hopeful that social media will be part of it. Some faculty are advocating for a UR Course page, others disinterested in taking such a group online at all, and some faculty members have a great interest in seeing what social media/blog sites/digital solutions might be available for us to try out. I have yet to share much of my coursework with the faculty, but I have had interest from the Saskpolytechnic Nursing Progam Head and the UR FoN Associate Dean.

Below is an example of some of the activities we are doing together within the support group. The picture is from an event a couple of weeks ago, but because it was well-attended, I have created more similar practice exam events in the weeks to come. I decided to add this update because I had direct feedback from students the day we held the practice exam. I decided to use this forum (seemingly highly engaged students) to ask for feedback and critique of what is working for us, and what needs to be tweaked.

Personally, with respect to just this event alone (on a much larger scale overall), I found success in planning and communicating because I posted this event on our FB NCLEX Support Group page only a few days before it was set to happen. Due to the short notice, I asked students who were interested to “like” the picture shown below. The next day I asked those who “liked” the photo to confirm their attendance. 80% said they were 100% committed to participating with us, and all of them showed up three days later! An additional person (who was one of the four students still uncertain) came, but that is easy enough to manage space-wise. Facebook scheduling and communication are benefits that I am seeing. It has truly made planning and organizing my days so easy. I also have a few sips of comments made regarding our FB NSG page on the photo below.

Teamwork, support, and participation- love it!

Simulated NCLEX communication of events conducted through the online FB NSG page.
Simulated NCLEX communication of events conducted     through the online FB NSG page.

Better Late Than Drumpf.

Photo Credit: http://honesttopaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/03/01-trump-your-cat.jpg
Photo Credit: http://honesttopaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/03/01-trump-your-cat.jpg


“Two things strike me:

  1. We, as humans, are profoundly adaptable – we have, historically, in matters of weeks and even days, on occasion adjusted the norms and compasses of our societies – in ways that seem almost unimaginable later on – in response to triggers that prey upon particularly cultural powerful fears, aspirations, or repressions.

2. We, as cultures, are profoundly vulnerable to the narratives that we circulate and enact as members of our societies, particularly surrounding fears, aspirations, and repressions.”

Bonnie Stewart’s article drew me to it partly because my learning project is situated within a Facebook group page, but, also because her description of the future being told by our online Facebook and other social media site feeds made me think about The End -this seems more ironic now- as, “Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.” But, to be honest, I never finished her piece prior to my mind wandering onward after reading the above quote. Between current history-making political events, toiling with how this could be, and heightened discussions in many of my social circles, I have been preoccupied with Donald Trump, or Donald Drumpf, as many of us have been. And, like many of us finally speaking out about the ‘Drumpf,’ I was unwilling to give him an ounce more publicity than he has been already enjoying. Now, many are shocked and appalled at his current position, which is closer to Presidency than anyone had ever thought he could be capable of.

Then, just this morning, an oddly intriguing campaign interview presented a very frustrated Marco Rubio pleading to the American public, as well as the larger media conglomerates, to take stock of their role in the Drumpf phenomenon. Rubio, along with my favorite Democratic candidate, Bernie Saunders, had received far less media coverage than Drumpf during their campaigns. Many other candidates had also been dismissed *eh, hum, Ron Paul,* but as the race began to charge forward, the attention, both positive and negative, toward Drumpf skyrocketed. Sure, media coverage is only part of the problem, but the multifactorial issues that are embedded within American politics run much deeper than I am able to articulate, and so I will try to stay the course…

While the media plays a significant role in Drumpf’s popularity, it seems to me that social media could also play a major part in halting Drumpf’s rise.

Take the Humans of New York (HONY) creator, Brandon Stanton, who used his social networking site to write an open letter to Drumpf; I am sure snail mail would not have caught any attention. And, what about Katia Hildebrandt‘s insightful and very telling piece written with the potential for it to reach unimaginable lengths. I can tell you that these voices may, or may not, be heard, but their collective voices over numerous social media sites are gaining attention. I hope this continues to encourage others to stand up and take back some of the power and momentum that has been ungodly allocated to one very scary, stubby-fingered man.

Like many others who have spoken out, I felt the need to make at least some small gesture of distaste for the current state of American politics. Until now we laughed. John Oliver segment on March 1, 2016, funny and intelligent as he is, used his audience to garner attention to what might be the worst potential “leader” in American history. And so, this blog, and more importantly, YOU – if any reader is actually out there 😉 – can take part in a much larger conversation than what assinine statement Drumpf makes next. We all can speak out and we can all question how a man like Donald Trump can run for Office in America?      Is this even happening right now??

It is. And, my initial reading of Stewart’s reflections moved me to finally post on why this is happening and what we can do about a person oozing disgrace- Donald Trump.

Think about Stewart’s quotes in the context of what is happening in America today, 2016.

Is Drumpf a keen study of human behaviour? Or, perhaps his need for celebrity and power instinctually stirs awareness of the wounded? Regardless, he has seemingly preyed upon what motivates people to fear, gather anger, and ultimately, to obey and follow him. His cunning ability to procure hate as part of a growing body of Americans’ narratives does not leave us helpless. Let’s use our fears (now very much real) to spur a collective voice and create activism in online spaces that free us from borders and distance, and gives us audiences that may be able to exercise their right to vote in the weeks and months to come.

Drumpf as President of the United States of America?! OMFG- NO! Let’s advocate for our neighbours, ourselves, and our global community by recreating the seemingly doomed narrative that, if enacted, will lead all of us down an unimaginably vulnerable and repressed road.

Please, speak out online, within your social media groups, and reach past your network to say: #NODrumpf!

I looooove Gifts!

Photo Credit: 5bb00-tumblr_lwugmnb7ls1r2h6io
Photo Credit: 5bb00-tumblr_lwugmnb7ls1r2h6io

The “Culture of Gifts” was another new concept for me. I decided to Google it and do a superficial search on this concept and  what else might be available, aside from some of the items we have been made aware of in EC&I831. The Conversation had some interesting links and subjects that those reading this might enjoy.

I had previously been looking further into the Creative Commons site and I found that I was actually still surprised at this notion because (from my experience) many people competing within faculty positions do NOT want to share any of their prior lectures, exams, ideas, etc. I am not sure if this is due to the competitive nature of working within the university setting; Or, if these individuals are just truly not giving types of people, not confident in their work, or maybe simply forgetful when asked by novice colleagues for help… :S

Nonetheless, the nursing students are sharing their resources!! In an attempt to provide helpful tools to assist others working toward NCLEX success, check out what these FB NSG members are posting –  It’s awesome!!

2016-02-25 21.16.59


2016-03-01 22.38.43

Questioning My Online Identity

Credit: https://thegoldenecho.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/20151029-124230.jpg
Credit: https://thegoldenecho.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/20151029-124230.jpg

Our recent class discussions have made me turn towards identity in a more self-reflective manner. I think of myself as being a reflective person, but when frustration began to mount over futile attempts to articulate myself online, I realized that I needed to take some time to figure this out. When I began to reflect deeper, I realized that I was afraid of being me in front of my peers, instructors, and the unknown audience that may read my posts and draw their own conclusions about who I am.

What is my online identity? Who am I hoping to be? Questions I quickly took to jotting down in my brand new journal. I always buy journals; I like the way they look, inspiring, crisp, and clean. I begin a few pages of notes about myself and quickly my new journal looks less attractive. Typical. I write, tear it out, get distracted, doodle, tear it out, rewrite, and start the process over at least twice more before becoming overwhelmingly annoyed. I feel like my words will be mocked or be deemed unintelligible when they become permanently written. Maybe this is why I struggle online? I don’t know. I criticize my inability to write honestly and freely without feeling embarrassed as I discard the evidence of my failed journal attempt. I wonder why I am able to talk candidly in person, but written words seem to scare me.

Part of this course is being reflective about our new undertakings, the processes we attempt, and our trials and tribulations as we grow and learn over the semester. I find that I am learning, absolutely, but openly expressing myself through reflective blog posts have proven to be extremely difficult. Why, why, why!?! Ugh. :/

Aren’t we free online to become whoever we choose to be? Wouldn’t it be easier to express ourselves, take risks, and say what we feel when we are hidden away from the physical world. No beady eyes in sight. I mean, we can enjoy a digital existence and actually never be seen by our audience if we don’t wan to be. Online we are able to correspond with someone across the world, take a class without physically attending, and my personal favorite, work from bed without makeup or dress clothes. But, I have to say, that I don’t feel free to be authentically me online.

A couple of thoughts:

    1. Performing Me.

Being in the moment, authentic, and face-to-face allows me the ability for self-correction and immediate feedback when relating to the world around me. I can be real in this physical world; I feel like I am able to reflect my true self here.

In reality, being physically present allows me to feed off the energies of others. It also allows me to tailor myself to differing audiences, at differing times, and with respect to different emotions and intuitions I have in those specific moments. If I feel the need to quickly adjust my identity based on others’ responses, or rely on gaging others’ perceptions, I can attempt to do so within these interactions.

In the online environment this is not the case. It is tough to open up and be myself. There is no room for error. While I can make edits, look at others’ comments, and check out what is “trending”, it still remains riskier for me to perform in this medium. It doesn’t seem flexible enough for me. Timelines and responses aren’t immediate anymore, and facial expressions are masked behind keyboards, which poses risk for misinterpretation- I feel some anxiety at this very thought. The speed at which content can travel, be captured and copied, and the various ways in which confidence can be breached is also unnerving to me. Who is watching me perform me?

Judith Butler’s concept of performativity is utilized in this article to argue that using social networking sites, such as Facebook, “are performative acts in and of themselves.” The entire concept of performativity is fascinating and works on the ideas that “performativity and subjectivity is an ongoing process of becoming, rather than an ontological state of being” (p. 178).

So, when asked, how do I determine my true identity? Does manipulating my behaviour then actually reflect my authentic self? And, more bothersome, yet more directly answerable, why am I so damn worried about how others perceive me? According to Butler, these behaviours, emotions, and experiences all contribute to one’s sense of self.

    2. The Watchtower.

If performativity and subjectivity are continual and evolve as one moves through life, then the Foucauldian concept of the panopticon seems less constrictive to me in the ways in which this article articulates Foucault’s concept within social media. “There are no guards and no prisoners in Facebook’s Virtual Panopticon. We are both guards and prisoners, watching and implicitly judging one another as we share content.”

Virtual, subjectivation (I’d assume that Foucault would have addressed this idea by now if he were still alive) has become of interest to me throughout my present desire to better define myself online both personally and professionally. That said, virtual subjectivation created disingenuously through the virtual Panopticon was what I initially had perceived as causing my angst with respect to blogging about my reflective practice for our ECI831 course.

However, after taking another look at the experience of Peggy Orenstein (please read her clever article), my view of the virtual Panopticon has changed from one of disdain to one of eager enthusiasm. Perhaps social media can actually be a way for me to positively and creatively play myself and construct an identity that allows me to be who I want to become in both worlds. This reflection might be my first step forward.


What do YOU think ECI831 Community?

  1. Do you feel challenged to reflect and perform yourself online?
  2. Do you think your online identity is consistent with your true identity?
  3. And, is the virtual panopticon problematic or necessary for evolution of one’s online identity, and today, one’s overall identity?