SOSC 118

Week 6 Lecture

Examining Social Implications, Digital Footprints, and Plagiarism

In Week 6 we’ll examine the social implication of media usage, we’ll research the effect of a digital footprint, and we’ll review the importance of avoiding plagiarism.

There’s a great quote from John Donne that, “No man is an island”. It means that we are all connected to some degree. When we think about Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.), we see that we make many connections…but often from afar. Anthropologist, sociologist and psychologists have a broad spectrum of thoughts on this. Some feel that the increase in today’s working hours makes it more difficult for individuals to socialize in their free time. Others feel that our proximity to one other is often physically further away than it was in the past. Regardless of theoretical implication, the fact that remains that, “the number of people using all social media services has passed the one billion mark” (Lunden, 2012). Social media is a means to digitally connect. What are some social media sites have you visited or participated in (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.)? Why you use these sites (career networking, keeping up with friends/family etc.)?

In 2000, author Robert D. Putnam wrote a book titled Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In it, he made an excellent observation: While just as many Americans are bowling as ever before, the amount doing so alone (not in leagues) has dramatically increased. The implication? We’re becoming more physically socially isolated. In your opinion, does access to social media sites bring us closer together –or- do they create separation?

Take a moment and reflect on the social implications of social networking websites. Personally, when you review your friends list (or contacts) are they mainly friends, family, co-workers or strangers? A piece in the APA monitor suggests that social media, “can provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship, without the demands of intimacy” (Price, 2011). We see that we can interact with people –and- that we can also easily distance them if we so choose. What do you see as they major social and ethical implications here?

For information on social media and relationships, click the following links.
How do You Use Social Media to Make Friends?

“No Man is an island, entire for itself; every man is a piece of the continent,”- John Donne

We have discussed some of the interpersonal impacts of our social media experience, but how do these affect our employment goals and aspirations. We know that professional networking websites (like LinkedIn) can be an excellent way to make business connections. Also, we know that other social networking websites (like Facebook) can be fabulous for maintaining our social contacts. The question is: How do we keep our information separate and protected?

In the nineties, there was a memorable episode of Seinfeld in which one of the characters (George) proclaims that “worlds have collided”; meaning that he wanted to keep his information separate between his two social groups. In an online environment, we have a digital footprint. A digital footprint is the information that we leave behind when we use the internet. For example, when we retweet a post, comment a friend on Facebook, create a LinkedIn profile, or left up an old MySpace account, we’re leaving behind a footprint. It’s very important that we consider what that footprint looks like. When employers receive our application, they often do internet searchers to get a feel for “who” we are before they hire us. We want them to see a positive impression. Take a moment to review your digital interactions. Is there anything you would not want an employer to see? If so, how can you mediate for this?

There are a variety of way to manage a digital footprint. The best way is by taking a preventative measure. Before posting, consider who can see, privacy settings, privacy policies, and how the item could affect you if it ended up in unwanted hands. For items that already out there in cyberspace, we can deactivate old accounts, update our privacy settings, search ourselves to see what comes up, etc. If there is anything particularly problematic that you are not able to address on your own, there are now consultants and companies dedicated to cleaning up issues like these. Again, the old adage, “An ounce of prevention….” is often the best advice in managing a digital footprint.

For information on networking and digital footprints, click the following links.
5 Ways to Make a Positive Digital Footprint!
Earlier in the term we talked briefly above about plagiarism. Plagiarism occurs when we use the words, ideas, images, etc. that belong to someone else without giving them credit for it. As you work on your project, it’s important that you make sure that your work is original, authentic, and cited appropriately.

In today’s highly digitalized world, we see a wealth of ways that plagiarism can occur. From accidental plagiarism to intentionally purchasing essays, the methods run the gambit. In general, there are four major types of plagiarism: direct, paraphrasing, rearranging, and self. Direct plagiarism occurs when we directly take work that is not ours and do not give the author the credit due. Paraphrasing plagiarism can happen when we read concepts of someone else, put it in our own words, and do not give the author credit for it. Rearranging plagiarism is when we make an “alphabet soup” of an author’s work. One might use the bulk of the work from someone else but substitute a few key phrases. Finally, we have self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism occurs when we reuse work we’ve previously turned in and pass it off as new. The exception to this is when we break down a project and build on it week by week (like your project).

Plagiarism should always be avoided. Not only is it dishonest but it often violates college integrity policies (and in some cases legal parameters).

For information on plagiarism, click the following links.
This week we examined the social implication of media usage, we researched the effect of a digital footprint, and we reviewed the importance of avoiding plagiarism. We learned that even though we’re more connected than ever before, many people report experiencing social isolation. We also learned that our digital footprint can be lasting and that’s it is important to be conscious of what we’re putting online. In closing, consider the ethical implications you have discovered this week and how they relate to your observations and encounters with the media.

Key Points

  1. John Donne wrote "No man is an island."
  2. The number of people using all social media services has passed the one billion mark.
  3. Social media is a means to digitally connect.
  4. In 2000, author Robert D. Putnam wrote a book titled Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.
  5. We're becoming more physically socially isolated.
  6. Social media can provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship, without the demands of intimacy.
  7. In an online environment, we have a digital footprint.
  8. A digital footprint is the information that we leave behind when we use the internet.
  9. The best way to manage a digital footprint is by taking a preventative measure.
  10. Plagiarism occurs when we use the words, ideas, images, etc. that belong to someone else without giving them credit for it.

Challenge Yourself

  • Consider the key points from our week. Which did you find to be interesting?
  • Locate two resources in our Virtual Library (or from an online source) that relate to the key points you selected.
  • Reflect on the connections you find between these resources and your own life/career goals.
  • Discuss your findings with a friend, family member or co-worker.

References

Text:
Lunden, I. (2012). There Are Now Over 1 Billion Users of Social Media Worldwide. Tech Crunch. Retrieved on September 15, 2016, from: https://techcrunch.com/2012/05/14/itu-there-are-now-over-1-billion-users-of-social-media-worldwide-most-on-mobile/

Price, M. (2011). Alone in the crowd. Monitor on Psychology, 42 (6), 26-27.