Blog #6- Engaging your PLN

For our final project, my group explored various ways to utilize a PLN and looked at how it differs on different social media platforms. Four platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok) were researched to determine which one fits for personal use, growing a small business, promoting health and fitness, and eductors. We identified Twitter to be best for educators, Facebook to be best for personal use, Instagram best for health and fitness, and TikTok to be best for small businesses. Then, we created 4 comics to depict our findings of these varying platforms.

Through this course, I learned that PLN should include diverse voices, where people you follow should have different cultural/ethnic backgrounds, from various industries, and have opinions that are different than you own. This made me reflect on my own PLN and realize that I need to follow more people that are different than me (rather it be different interests, political views, age, etc.). Moreover, this course taught me that social media sites like Instagram and TikTok, which are considered ‘fun’ social media that are mainly for entertainment can also be used for learning. For example, TikTok has channels that make videos about psychology facts, day-in-a-life of a doctor, or tips on post-secondary education from undergraduate students, etc. This shows that learning can be fun and engaging. Going forward, I hope to utilize TikTok and Instagram to follow people I aspire to be, to learn more about their industry and career.

After taking this course, I begin to view social media differently. Instead of it being a method to connect with existing friends and family, I realize it has many benefits for learning. I want to use social media more for learning and create content that brings value to others. Furthermore, this course made me more aware of the content I post online and the type of voice I want to be in my PLN. Going forward, I would like to follow accounts that talk about inequalities, politics, and any other topics I am unfamiliar with. I also realized that I should be more critical of the information I see online; not everything you see is true and it is important to compare different sources. It is important to watch news that has different political views and compare information on the news with the ones I see on social media. By receiving information that is directly from the source (on social media), it can reduce potential misinformation or biases that are present in secondary sources (news).

Blog #5- How does a PLN give power to messaging for an individual or community?

Community communications go beyond blogs and social media shares, how does a PLN help and hinder the development of thoughts and ideas in discourse?

Social networks allow individuals to actively voice out their concerns and voice their opinions. As individuals do not have to go through mainstream media to announce what they want to say, people are able to share first-hand information that they have experienced to talk about the real story (Baker). PLNs can help amplify a message through sharing on social media and from person to person. People are able to directly post their thoughts and ideas online with others. As a result, others are able to learn about unique experiences and cultures that are not commonly discussed in mainstream media through social media and blogs. Baker mentioned in his interview that an indigenous teenage girl uses social media as a medium to promote tourism to their town. Her social media account helps the world see their community first-hand. However, PLNs could create confusion for people as there is an overwhelming amount of information out there. People have a hard time determining if an idea or information is legitimate and accurate, especially when there are conflicting information and ideas about the same topic.

How does the use of PLN raise awareness opportunities?

PLNs help “bring an understanding of [an individual’s] story and [their] family’s story” (Baker). Hence, the public is able to learn about unique cultures and experiences that are not commonly talked about. Moreover, people are able to become more positive contributors to society, by supporting and acknowledging each other in their PLN (Baker). This can be done by leaving positive comments that add to the discussion on a post. Furthermore, the complexity of a local nation can be put out there (Baker); people are able to learn the lifestyle and traditional practices of a nation. For example, indigenous influencers like @indigenous_baddie on Instagram and Tiktok make Tiktoks/Reels that talk about indigenous culture, history, and customs. People in her PLN are able to gain exposure to indigenous culture and experiences in Canada directly from a local. These types of influencers are able to raise awareness for indigenous rights and their point of view on current news and policies that affect indigenous people.

Sephora Canada Amplifies Indigenous Voices with its First-ever National  Indigenous History Month Campaign

What is the role of social media in education – whether it be classroom or community discourse?

Social media can be used as a tool for students to gain knowledge quickly through google search. Students are able to connect and learn from other individuals through reading blog posts, watching YouTube videos, and connecting on social media. For example, some common YouTube channel that helps students learn includes Crash Course, Ted-Ed, and Khan Academy. In addition, social media allows students to keep in touch with peers to share knowledge and ask questions.

With social media, indigenous voices can be heard in education (Baker). These indigenous voices can influence politics, create movements, and generate awareness for their culture. Social media creates a platform to allow everyone, regardless of gender, race, and age to share their experiences and knowledge with the world.

What are some problems or risks to consider with social media communications when discussing topics that may be uncomfortable but reflect needed change?

Risks that can occur when posting controversial topics include having potential oppositions and negative comments. People may be triggered by the message an individual posts on social media, therefore, they may become angry and leave negative comments on one’s post. They may even direct message the individual to talk about their point of view. Last year, I posted a story on Instagram about the “Defund the Police” movement. After making that post, a few people direct messaged me to talk about their opinion that opposes my own. At first, I was taken back by their confrontation, but after hearing their point of view I was able to understand the logic behind their opinion. I learned through this experience that it is important to be open-minded when hearing opinions that are different from my own. If I have not been willing to listen to the opinions of the people who messaged me about the topic, I would not have gained a new perspective on the issue. Secondly, in order to learn and discuss topics that are uncomfortable and need change, like Brad Baker said, “for true change, people need to be more vulnerable”. By making posts to talk about one’s view on an uncomfortable topic, an individual can learn new opinions and different perspectives about a topic from others.


Baker, Brad. “Brad Baker EDCI 338”. Youtube.Com, 10 June 2021, 3:00-15:50, Accessed 18 June 2021.

Sephora. “Sephora Canada Amplifies Indigenous Voices with Its First-Ever National Indigenous History Month Campaign.” Cision Canada, 3 June 2021,

Blog #4- Public PLN – Balancing PLN, Media Literacy, & Public Discourse

How to curate your social media with a critical public audience?

Social media is a powerful platform to quickly broadcast information to a large population with a click of a button. With the vast amount of information on the internet, social media influencers must ensure the information they post information that is real and accurate. This is crucial especially when the viewers are critical audiences, as they will more likely challenge the influencer’s content and information based on their existing beliefs. Moreover, a social media account should have content that aligns with their audience’s interests. For example, if an account advocate for inclusive education, the posts should be within the focus on education and inclusion. This ensures that the audience receives consistent value when following the account.

What are the risks and benefits of engaging with a public audience in a media space – what are the risks for a public figure or person in a position of trust (educator, lawyer, government official)?

Notable individuals use social media to connect with people around the world with the same interests and passions to share ideas and find inspiration from other individuals in the same media space (Smith). Through interacting with people with the same interests, individuals are able to learn from others about their field of interests and gain first-hand knowledge and insight. This can help individuals build a connection with the people online. Social media allows people to gain perspectives from individuals that are not in their silo (Smith). For example, a lawyer in Toronto can communicate with a lawyer in Victoria about a challenge or issue they faced at their workplace. The lawyer in Victoria is able to provide the other lawyer a new perspective outside of the Toronto lawyer’s community. This way their suggestions and observations may be more objective. In addition, the public audiences can serve as objective voices to provide rational guidance. In the best-case scenario, individuals are able to connect with someone online that recognizes their passion and suggests them to pursue a career or offer them a job.

However, the downside of engaging with a public audience on social media is greater for people who are in a position of trust. People in important, public roles should be more cautious about the information they put on social media, to prevent spreading fake information. For example, the ex-United States president, Donald Trump was actively engaged on Twitter, where he posted false information online. One of the infamous examples is when he announced on Twitter that he won the 2021 presidential election. As an authority, people will be more likely to believe the information that he posts online. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the information is accurate, otherwise, an individual in a position of trust could be hated on and lose their credibility.

How to best address negative replies and critiques reflective of your personal values and employer social media policy?

The best way to address negative replies is to first build a positive presence online that reflects your work, personal values, and experiences. A social media profile can act as a platform to expose one’s strengths and showcase one’s brand (Vance). Future employers can view an individual’s social media to get a sense of who they are. Moreover, users should address negative replies by maintaining professionalism. This includes not swearing, being respectful, and provide evidence-based claims to support their point.

Why do open dialogues about media literacy and factual information can create conflict?

Media literacy is the constant critical questioning of all the media (Smith). Media allow people to learn a lot and find information to confirm and reassure one’s believes (Smith). This act of picking what media to look at to confirm our own pre-existing beliefs is called pull media. Once someone finds information that supports their own view, it is hard for them to believe the opposing ideas. This can create conflict between people with opposite views, as people have evidence to support their claim. For example, if someone saw a news article about how COVID-19 is fake when they already believe that. It is harder to change their views. As a result, even when they are faced with oppositive information (saying COVID-19 exists and is real) they will argue that it is false.

What is the benefit of having a PLN that values media literacy?

When an individual has a PLN that value media literacy, they are able to gain information that is accurate. This is important as now there is too much information out there, and it is hard to tell what is true or false (Smith). When a PLN is able to critically question the media, they are more likely to post information that is pre-filtered to be real. This saves time for others in their PLN to fact-check the information they see. Furthermore, within the PLN it is important to follow people that have views that oppose your own or view that make you feel uncomfortable (Smith). This allows individuals to become well-rounded people and see both sides of a story (Smith).


Smith, Julie. “EDCI 338 – MEDIA LITERACY with JULIE SMITH”. Youtube.Com, 6 June 2021, 3:00-27:40, Accessed 10 June 2021.

Vance, Jody. “Jody Vance – Media Voices”. Youtube.Com, 6 June 2021, 9:00-27:00, Accessed 10 June 2021.

Blog #3 – Your PLN, Inclusion, and Community Engagement

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

When social media is used in public discourse, many people with different viewpoints will potentially challenge advocacy communications when they do not align with their own views and ideologies. In the online environment, people have the option to be anonymized, hence they feel that they can hide behind a mask to say hurtful things and bully people. The most common example where public discourse brings challenges is twitter wars, where famous people are seen twitting back and forth replying to another person with aggression and negativity. Another popular place for keyboard warriors to reside is Reddit. On this platform, people are often anonymized, hence people may feel that it is acceptable to make aggressive posts or comments on the platform. Furthermore, the freedom to post anything on social media results in misinformation being produced. Often people are not able to identify which information is false or correct. With so many different voices and opinions on social media, people can become desensitized to heartbreaking news or controversial topics. Although social media allows individuals to have a more accessible platform to voice their opinions, the freedom to hide ones’ identity can cause harm to others and misinformation can spread quickly.

How diverse is your existing PLN?/ Are you learning from a variety of voices?

My current PLN is moderately diverse. On Facebook and Instagram, it consists of mainly my friends, classmates, and family. Hence, most people in my PLN come from similar backgrounds. However, because I’ve lived in two different countries up to this point in my life, I have people from both Hong Kong and Canada in my social networks. Moreover, through volunteering internationally in Vietnam as part of a non-profit organization for a summer, I was able to connect with individuals from different countries (including India, Vietnam, Germany, Mexico, Czech Republic, etc.). As a result, I am able to get different cultural viewpoints and information in my PLN. On the other hand, my professional PLN such as Linkedin is consists of professionals from different industries that I have met online, at events, or through internships. Also, I follow people that are Linkedin Bloggers from around the world talking about careers, relationships, education, etc. Through following various accounts, I am able to see news and updates in different industries and from various countries.

How does social media engage in advocacy communications?

Social media provided a convenient platform for advocates to quickly broadcast messages and updates in a matter of seconds to a large audience group. The followers of these advocacy groups are able to interact and respond to the advocacy communications. Advocates use social media to gather a community, where everyone in the community is a teacher and shares knowledge with each other (Moore). Social media is seen as a community, instead of having followers just absorbing knowledge from the advocate. Furthermore, social media use for advocacy requires the user to not use it for personal purposes like telling people about their day (Simpson). Social media advocates identify the niche they fit in to determine where their voices fit into things (Simpson). Social media can be used to start movements, especially through trending hashtags to bring change. People that belief in a movement will share and repost content to amplify the advocate’s message (Simpson). In the past, hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls, #IceBucketChalleng, ad #OscarsSoWhite have been able to raise awareness about issues, raise money for the cause, and create positive change.

How can you use a diverse PLN to broaden views of inclusion in a professional community?

By following people with diverse backgrounds that are different from our own, we are able to gain a new perspective on issues that we may not have thought about. These background differences can include careers, race, gender, experiences, and countries that a person is from/living in. With a diverse professional community, people are able to be educated on issues and topics that they are not aware of or familiar with. Through individuals sharing their unique experiences, people are able to learn about other points of view and from another perspective.

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

In the healthcare sector, I would say it is not very inclusive. In the past, I have worked in different public health organizations in Canada and I have not seen people with disabilities working there. In these public organizations, there are workers with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds (mostly Indian, Latinos, and Asians). However, I have not seen any efforts made by their human resource to hire with the mindset of inclusion and diversity. With private companies in the healthcare space, there has been a shift towards hiring with diversity in mind. But in the public sector, there has not been a focus to do the same.

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

After watching the two-course interviews and the two videos from the Five Moore Minutes channel, I would like to follow more people that are very different than me, including people with disabilities, mental health problems, indigenous, black, and seniors. I hope by following these different groups of people I am able to learn more about their culture, experiences, and problems that they face. Moreover, I aim to be more active in advocating issues that I stand with. This can be done by resharing posts that I agree with and joining conversations in my PLN that discuss different issues. Furthermore, I plan to read more about other cultures and their history. Through educating oneself about other cultures, I believe I will be able to be more comfortable actively engaging in discussions in topics related to inclusion and diversity.

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

The 4 videos and readings this week have been thought-provoking. I enjoyed watching the videos from Five Moore Minutes. She bought up interesting facts about diversity and inclusion in education. It was insightful to learn that education has been standardized because of the influence of the industrial revolutions (Five Moore Minutes). Kids that have disabilities, unique cultural backgrounds, and personalities that are different from the norm fails to fit into the traditional education system and sent to separate school or classrooms (Five Moore Minutes). This bought up an old memory of being in English Second Language (ESL) program in elementary school. When I was growing up English has always been my second language where I spoke at school and sometimes at home with my nanny. However, when first I moved to Canada, I was put into ESL without first being tested on my English skills. During classes, I would be taken out to go to a separate classroom for ESL students. I’ve felt alienated as I really wanted to fit in with the normal children at the school, but by being pulled out of my regular classes to go to ESL, I felt segregated. This ties back to the issue in education where students are segregated; students with different learning abilities or skill levels are set apart and taught separately. Instead, they should be meaningfully integrated to support meaningful placements, goals, and peer connectedness (Five Moore Minutes).

In addition, the course interview with Shelley Moore bought up a new perspective in looking at followers on social media as a community. Instead of having one person sharing their knowledge, social media PLN can be a place where people gather to share ideas online. People are able to share their opinions and ideas not only in threads and comments but through organized online events (such as a book club) (Moore). These social communities are able to help each other, especially during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic (Moore).


Five Moore Minutes. “Don’t Should on Me: It’s not easy being NOT green”. Youtube.Com, 5 November 2018, 0:32-3:55, Accessed 5 June 2021.

Five Moore Minutes. “The Evolution of Inclusion: The past and future of education”. Youtube.Com, 1 October 2018, 0:48-3:49, Accessed 5 June 2021.

Moore, Shelley. “EDCI 338 – 20 Minutes Moore”. Youtube.Com, 30 May 2021, 2:28-10:00, Accessed 5 June 2021.

Simpson, Markiel. “EDCI – 338 MARKIEL SIMPSON”. Youtube.Com, 1 June 2021, 14:40-35:08, Accessed 5 June 2021.

Blog Post #2- V&R Mapping

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

Students in this day and age use a variety of digital tools to develop their professional networks. The most common one being LinkedIn, which allows students to connect with peers, coworkers, and professionals they met through events. Linkedin allowed me to network with people in industries and roles I am interested in working at. Whereas, Microsoft Teams and Zoom allow me to have virtual coffee chats with professionals to learn more about them and their job. These video conferencing tools help solidify the relationship built on Linkedin, especially during the COVID pandemic. In addition, Brightspace and Mattermost help interact with my professor and peers to discuss the course materials. Through interacting with other students in the discussions, I am able to develop a connection with them.

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

As a student, it is important to first build a strong presence and profile on professional digital platforms. By including a professional headshot and a well-written introduction, it can help draw other professionals to view your profile and connect with you. After a clean social media profile is created, it is useful to interact with other people’s content to show support and maintain a good relationship. Then, students can reach out to new people they find online and send them a message. Often, this can help students meet new people and gain new insights about a profession.

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

In all my network platforms, I always carefully review what I post online to make sure it is appropriate and professional. I make sure that I do not say anything online that I wouldn’t say in real life. Furthermore, I usually only post things that I am proud to share with others, especially on professional digital platforms (such as Linkedin). Lastly, it is important to keep personal and professional identities separate online. For things like vacation pictures, wedding announcements, and posts about friends should only be posted on personal profiles. Through following unspoken rules about what is appropriate to post on certain digital platforms, it can help build a good digital reputation.

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?

When an employer receives a job application, they will most likely look up the candidate on Google to find their social media profiles to discover more about them. They will most likely come across the candidate’s Linkedin, Instagram, Blog, Facebook, etc. If these profiles are public, then the employer will be able to see the content within. It can be beneficial for a social media profile to be public when it demonstrates the person’s skills and accomplishments, showcase their diverse hobbies, and shows that they are well-connected. However, it can hinder employment opportunities if employers find inappropriate content, including swearing, ranting about a past/current employer, drinking, and doing drugs. As a result, the employer may determine that the candidate is unprofessional and therefore unfit for the job.

Insight From My Vistor &Resident (V&R) Map

After completing the V&R map, it helps me reflect on the digital platforms that I use. I am able to see which platforms I use for personal or institutional purposes and rather if I am a visitor or resident on those platforms. I found that I have a lot of platforms that I use regularly for both personal and professional use. Most of these platforms allow me to stay connected with friends or professional connections, and sometimes the platform is for entertainment. There are also not a lot of platforms I use as a visitor for professional use.

Blog Post #1- Personal Learning Networks & Digital Identity

What does it mean to network using social media?

Networking on social media involves a network of individuals interacting with each other online (Future Learn). As people’s lives are interwoven, people need to stay connected with their family, friends, and co-workers to keep updated on their latest status for work or personal purposes. Social media allow individuals to share ideas, learn, and interact with others. These networks connect people and devices with information and services (shown in the image below) (Future Learn).

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How are we motivated to participate in networked publics?

The creation of the world wide web (www) has made it easier for people to use technology to find information, chat, and share ideas (Future Learn). A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is formed by each individual with a network of trusted connections, which interacts with the individual on a regular basis (Gutierrez). These networks allow individuals to build, maintain, and activate their connections (Gutierrez). They can add new people to their networks to learn more about them, keep in touch with current connections, and relate to and learn from one another through a new medium (Gutierrez). These PLNs include social media sites like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, and Snapchat… The purpose to use each platform varies, where each network caters to the individuals’ needs. For example, Linkedin is only used for professional purposes to stay connected with colleagues, job recruiters, or employers. These PLNs allow users to easier get advice or help whenever they need it, as there is always someone available in one’s online network. Furthermore, these PLNs can span across the country or globe, where users can interact with people that live halfway across the world. In addition, users of PLN are able to stay up-to-date on current information from news outlets, Twitter, or other social media platforms. They are also able to learn lots of interesting information through live stream videos or videos uploaded onto YouTube.

What are the risks & rewards of public communications?

With the convenience of social networks, anyone’s information can be easily accessed by others, especially when users’ accounts are not private. Even if an account is private, it is still susceptible to data leakage; where hackers steal people’s personal information in exchange for ransom or used it for identity theft. Moreover, people need to make sure their posts are appropriate in case future employees look at them. Posts that are related to drinking, partying, drugs, or include swearwords should be avoided, especially when an account is public.

On the other hand, public communication can allow users to get access to useful data and connect people across different time zones. People can quickly communicate with people that live far away through applications like Messenger, Whatsapp, and email. Moreover, they are also about to chat via video calls using apps like Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.

What is a digital identity?

Digital identity is a person’s presence online and how they use the tool to interact with others (Stroller). Although this identity is stored online, it reflects and relates to an individual in real life. This can be as simple as someone’s social media profile, which includes their face, name, family, or friends. This information reveals something about an individual and who they are. On the other hand, it can also be an ID card that identifies an individual to provide access to services online. For example, a national ID card system is used in Estonia to identify their citizen and provide them digital access to e-services such as e-Tax, i-Voting, blockchain, and e-Health Record (Metadium).

How do personal versus professional approaches to digital identity affect social media use?

When creating a social media account and posting content on it, it is common to have two types of accounts: personal and professional. This helps teachers and other professionals to separate their personal life and work life, where they connect with people from their work separately from people that consider friends and family. For example, one of my lab instructors announced to the class that students can connect with his Linkedin or ResearchGate profile, but they should not request to add him on Facebook (until the student graduates). He emphasized that there is a UVic policy that discourages instructors to connect with students on their personal social media accounts. By separating both types of accounts, the instructor can share different types of content and tailor their language to distinct audiences. For example, on a personal account, an individual can share that they are getting married, whereas on a professional account the user will more likely post information relating to a career switch or achievement.

How do digital identities converge in networked publics – what are the impacts and/or benefits?

In North America, our digital identities often is only limited to our social media or other online digital accounts. However, in some countries like India and Estonia, digital identities are used for prescription refill, document signing, and online tax filing (World Economic Forum). Through using their digital identities, citizens in Estonia are able to fill their taxes, access their health records, and vote electronically (Metadium). This provides citizens the ability to quickly access different digital tools and information anywhere they have access to public networks. Moreover, the government is able to track users’ interactions online, this ensure individuals act appropriately online as their digital identity is linked to their identity offline.


Future Learn. “What Is a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?” FutureLearn,

Gutierrez, Karla. What Are Personal Learning Networks?, 21 June 2016,

Metadium. “How Estonia Is Pioneering the Digital Identity Space.” Medium, Metadium, 16 July 2019,

Stoller, E. – What is Digital Identity? YouTube, uploaded by University of Derby, 25 Nov, 2016, 0:06,

World Economic Forum. “Davos 2019 – Press Conference The Value Of Digital Identity For The Global Economy And Society”. Youtube.Com, 5 February 2019, 13:05-13:22, Accessed 19 May 2021.


Hi everyone! My name is Helen Mak, a fourth-year health information science student at UVic.

I have previously worked at Fraser Health Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, and UVic to help implement and manage various health systems and learning management systems. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, taking photos, and traveling.

I’m excited to learn about social media and personalized learning and interact with everyone online!


Youtube Video Introduction: