Social Media and Your Dream Job.

"Dream job" by ~hro

Use social media to aim for the stars – image: http://bit.ly/18CZQ43

We spend so much time on social networking sites, but have you used them as tools in the search for your dream job? Here are four tips to get those connections working towards your dream job.

1. Facebook.

Facebook logoMany businesses have referral systems for staffing, meaning existing staff know about openings before jobs are advertised. Letting your Facebook friends know you’re searching for a new job is one of the best ways to score an interview. With almost 40% of new US hires coming from staff referrals, you need to work those friends lists.

2. LinkedIn.

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network,” yet many fail to keep their details current. A study by the annual ASX200 Social Media Report, social recruiting is on the rise in Australia, and LinkedIn is the number one site for checking applicants. Make sure you keep your profile fresh and your contact details current.

3. Pinterest.

Pinterest logoIf you’re a creative, you need to be using Pinterest as a portfolio. It isn’t just for cooking and crafts. Creatives in all fields are using Pinterest to showcase their work and funnel traffic back into their websites. Make sure to use appropriate tagging and keep any work you say is your work separate from that of other people.

4. Twitter.

Twitter logoIf you’re in marketing or communications, you should be on Twitter. Short “tweets” show that you get your meaning across quickly. Make your interactions meaningful, or they’ll be lost in the feed. Applying for a position? Follow the company and the executives. It’s the best way of finding out what’s new with the business and preparing for the interview.

Do you have any tips for using social media in the search for a dream job? Share your ideas with others in the comments below.

References:

Facebook.com (2013). http://www.facebook.com/

Jobvite.com. (2013). Recruiting Data Employment Statistics. http://recruiting.jobvite.com/resources/recruiting-data-employment-statistics-by-jobvite-index/

Linkedin.com. (2013). http://www.linkedin.com/

Linkedin.com, (2013). What is LinkedIn? http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=what_is_linkedin

Pinterest.com. (2013). http://pinterest.com/

Smith, Paul. (2013). LinkedIn tops Australian corporate social media, but YouTube on the Rise. http://www.afr.com/p/technology/linkedin_tops_australian_corporate_6zA5xqSFcMhu2zYTXccr3H

Twitter.com. (2013). http://www.twitter.com/

Twitter.com. (2013). Twitter Help Center. https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337-the-twitter-glossary#t

Walbridge, Andrew. (2013). Design Ideas. http://pinterest.com/awalbridge/design-ideas/

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Bitcoin – The Way of The Future, or Just Another Fad?

So, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you will have at least heard about Bitcoin. It’s been hailed as the new virtual currency for the digital world. Now, I’m all for a move away from currency owned and controlled by government and banking institutions, but I’m not so sure this is the way to go. I decided to delve a little deeper into the mysterious beast of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin ImageBitcoin, in their own site, state that they is a peer to peer way of managing online transactions. It’s more of a collective of users, making it a decentralised system of currency rather than the old guard centralisd system run and operated by governments and banks.

 

It’s an open-source, and community-driven software system, that involves downloading the wallet of your choice, that even has its own currency-linked vocabulary!

So where did it all come from?

The history of Bitcoin is as short as it is mysterious. No one knows the true origin of the idea, as it was posted as a concept under a pseudonym. The idea was then taken up, proof of concept published and was further developed by a group, including the original proposer, who left the group, never revealing their identity. They simply gave their idea to the world. In 2011, the idea managed to capture some media attention, which sparked a bit of a buy in by a good number of people.

So, does it have enough staying power?

That remains to be seen. I personally believe the current economic market sees it as a bit of a fad. I think it will have a hard time gathering the traction it needs to remain in use and build up a good market. Having said that, I really do hope it sticks. It makes sense – a decentralised currency for a decentralised system of transaction and interaction. I can see a few potential stumbling blocks for it though.

The powers that be will see it as a threat to the status quo, once it gathers enough users. If the banks can’t buy in to it, how will they control the currency? They won’t be able to, and this will further cause turmoil. It runs in line with my previous musings on needing a huge shift in the entire way in which we think about money and economy.

Governmental taxes will continue to be a thing. This is unavoidable. So, while we may well shift away from centrally owned and operated systems of transaction, we will not be able to completely shift away from geographic boundaries. This may prove a bit of an issue as Bitcoin gathers momentum. Governments will probably hesitate to recognise it as an actual form of currency and, as such, you may have Bitcoin wealth, but you will need to transact in the “real-world” with “real-world” currency. The exchange rates will probably start off as a joke, with operations setting up to exchange Bitcoin to real coin and reaping the rewards of providing such a service.

After all is said and done, I am not an economist. I’m not a political scientist, although I do find it amusing that those educated in these fields are unable to make sense of it all. I’m not able to make properly educated guesses as to how the world will embrace Bitcoin. These are just my musings on a very good idea that I hope will come to fruition.

 

If you want to read up on Bitcoin, you can take a look at the following links:

Bitcoin.org

WeUseCoins.com

The Bitcoin Wiki

Online Students: What Do We Want?

I’m finally going to write a little a bit about my studies. It seems that not only do a lot of people still feel that online learning and, by default, external learning, is a bit of a cop out, but they really don’t understand what it is that I am studying and how it can lead to anything in the future. Also, I would like to start documenting my intentions for this magical piece of paper I’ve been working towards, and noticing when or if those aspirations change.

First things first: What is it I am studying?

Head of Internet Studies Dept. Prof. Matthew Allen at the Curtin Uni Open Day. For license and info: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamaleaver/6064211772/

I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in Internet Communication through Curtin University (and I’m not supplying these details for kudos or cash FYI). As it stands, Curtin University is the only Uni in Australia that has a dedicated Internet Studies department, which I find particularly strange considering the ubiquitous nature the Internet has these days. I started my line of study through Open University Australia, because it offered a delivery system that I could work around the rest of life. Also, I have to admit, the university system, to one who hasn’t wrangled it is daunting and more than a little intimidating. Given that OUA offered a HECS-style payment system, it also worked in with my available cash flow (ergo: nil), meaning I could study towards getting an awesome job (as yet to be decided upon) and then pay it all back, which I am cool with. Other students find that the more flexible study times, due to the delivery system, are the key to their choice. It allows them to work their study in and around parenting and work commitments.

I am learning about interactions online, why people have flocked to it (and continue to), the issues surrounding online practices and privacy concerns, how writing for an online audience is a little different to writing for an offline one, and how society can find balance between the two “worlds”. It may not sound like much, or its relevance may not be immediately apparent to you, but it is these kinds of studies that will allow people such as myself to develop better practices for the future world in which we all become cybermen, symbiotically attached to our tech… wait a minute! 🙂

I still have just over a year to go of my BA at which point, depending on my grades, I will think about Honours. And, just because I’m crazy and have obviously taken leave of my senses, a PhD application may be thrown in for good measure. Because I can… Or might be able to… Hopefully…

What do I hope to achieve with all of this?

I want to keep researching what is making people tick. Ever since I was a young’un, I’ve been interested in why people like what they like, why they do what they do and what can be done to make people happier. Some days, this comes from a kind of altruistic intention to make the world a better place… If only for myself. I want people to stop their whining (myself included) by aiding them in finding what it is they want or need out of life. Also, realistically a virtual world is only going to become more integrated with “reality” (whatever that is these days) and, as such, if I want to have a place in that multi-world, I need to carve a place out now. I’m not super smart, or a massive tech head. I’m not an engineer and I don’t have a really good head for creative coding (plain and simple stuff I could probably deal with, if I could be bothered updating my language skills, which I can’t), so it’s not likely that I will be heading a development team bringing you the latest installment of what Google Glass aims to be in the future.

What I will be able to give you (at least once I’ve finished all this study) is an in-depth analysis of why your ideas (or their ideas, or that platform for interaction, or … whatever!)failed and what you can do next time to get people to flock to them. I will be able to tell the world why they need to assess what it is they aim to gain from electronically-delivered engagement systems (because the phrase “online worlds’ be become obsolete – stay tuned for my book on that in a few years’ time), in order to spend their precious time, effort and cash in the right places. I will be able to authoritatively show people why employing current slow thinking (as in it takes more than a few months to get an idea out there and have it accepted – look at pressure start-up groups and their success if you don’t believe me) for a world that is changing so fast is a dumb idea (this may also involve revolutionising the way we peer-review stuff, but we have to aim high, right?).

So, online learning vs on-campus learning. Is there even a contest?

Firstly, let me dispel the myth of online learning being easy. It is NOT. Plain and simple. You have to be self-motivated. You have to search out your own community groups if you want to really engage with the material and ideas presented. You have to maintain that level of stamina, all without the scheduled-out-for-you, spoon-feeding that on-campus learning can give you and you have to do so all by yourself. If you don’t have that drive, you’ve got no hope. If you can’t find it in yourself to keep going when you have to do a unit with a university that hasn’t fully understood what it means to provide an online unit, then the chances of you completing your studies are very slim. More on this later. If you can’t handle being interrupted by people who don’t see your head in a book or you typing on a computer as “real study” (I’m talking parents, children, partners, friends who drop in, everyone!), and you can’t tell them to please respect your study time, then you’re going to fail. No sugar coating it. You will.

Using online tools are only useful if they actually offer students something that they need or want from their study. Online tools are only as good as the education they offer. If tutors are not engaging with their students or if the unit materials are not accessible, then what good is the delivery system?

Just waiting for the Quickening. For license and info: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurelfan/46008993/

Too many times I have heard from students studying units with various universities. That the tutors don’t answer questions sent to them either by the internal mail system or through discussion boards which serve for many as online tutorials. That some units relying on web-based materials, meaning digital copies of papers or articles, have broken links or resources that just cannot be found at all! Simply copying a paper-bound university unit to a digital format does not making an online learning environment. An online student is, unfortunately, at a disadvantage when it comes to finding resources that are not published in a digital format. If your unit still relies on bound text books that an on-campus student would be able to check out of a library, you are doing your online students a dis-service. If you don’t have reliable checks and balances to make sure that your students are receiving the education they have paid for, then you are failing your students. I’m not talking about providing customer service for students. I think this opinion that universities are no longer the bastions of education and research they once were, is a little misguided and black-and-white. So what if students are expecting some kind of a ROI (Return on Investment) in regards to their education? This doesn’t mean that the primary role of a university can’t still be research and attainment of knowledge. It just means that those who help invest in that gathering expect a little something for their investment. The world isn’t as Highlander (“There can be only one!”) as some people would like to make out.

Soooooo… what do students employing online methods of study want?

Candy? Medals? A shiny pony? Not really. Although, having said that, I’d never look a gift horse in the mouth (sorry, I had to).

We expect a system that values us as students. As GENUINE students. We want tutors and lecturers who actually care that we can get and understand the material they are using to facilitate our knowledge. We aren’t expecting our degrees or diplomas to be handed to us on a silver platter. We expect to have to work for them, but no more than on-campus students. By undertaking externals studies we accept that we need to think and act differently to on-campus students, but we still want to be awarded the same level of engagement that on-campus students expect. Though, in saying that, I have heard a LOT of complaints from on-campus students saying there’s a decline in the amount of teachers giving a crap about classes… That may be a rant for another time.

We expect that when we are told that there is no text book required for the unit (as in my experience often happens) that we will be able to access all of the required readings for that unit online.  It’s no fun to play if we can’t get our hands on books or chapters because they don’t exist online. And, as a tutor, please don’t try to tell us it isn’t your responsibility to make sure your students have the resources. If a complaint is made that students cannot access the resources from anywhere online (the university’s library, Google, Amazon and the network of resource pirates out there), then it’s not that they don’t have the resources, your resource list needs revision. You need to make sure your students can actually find the resources so they can understand your lectures and complete assignments.

Which brings me to another point. When studying contemporary issues, such as politics or even Internet Studies, we expect that the topics being covered are from the past four or five years, and even then, it’s a stretch. Ultimately, we’d like within the past two to three. History is history and contemporary is now. Now, I understand the peer-review process is what universities and researchers live and die by, but it is long in the tooth and takes oh so long. I don’t have the answer. I wish I did, really, but the current peer-review process takes far too long to get actual contemporary resources into the hands of students. Think about it this way. It takes up anywhere in the realm of five years to research a PhD. Then it gets submitted for review… Now, I’m no mathematician, but that sure does add up to a lot of time in my mind. Not to mention that a lot may have changed in the world in that time. Now, if you’re doing a science (excluding computer sciences) or mathematics line of study, it’s fairly certain that you’ll be fine. Not much changes quickly there. 1+1 will always equal 2 … unless it doesn’t, in which case it’s already been proven and you can read up on it. If you’re in the Arts, some fields stay moderately constant while others change incredibly fast. My particular field of study looks to be changing and growing at a pace that the peer-review system can’t stay in step with. This causes problems for those of us looking to only use peer-reviewed articles and publications for our work. I am sure you can understand the frustration built up by trying to find something relevant written in the past two or three years when everything written in that time frame is still under review, or not widely accepted yet.

We ask that universities don’t try to charge us for services we cannot use. Yes, we are glad that should be able to we can use the physical library, or the student services centre or any of the wonderful services your on-campus students have access to. Personally, I am in something of a rare position amongst my external study peers, in that I am able to get to my university’s campus. Most of the other students I know who have been studying through external studies live too far away from their university to make use of the facilities. Some don’t even live in the same state! I think there needs to be more work done into as to what services a university might actually provide their external students that will benefit them, rather than assuming they require the same services as on-campus students.

A silly cap, a smile and a piece of paper. License and info: http://www.flickr.com/photos/willfolsom/5702452656/

We really really really (as in “cannot stress this enough”) need a checks and balances system outside of individual institutions, making sure that the level of education, educators and materials is sufficient to facilitate learning. We aren’t asking for our learning to be spoon-fed to us. We want to have to seek our own understanding, but we need to know that the help will be there if we simply don’t understand a concept or ideology. Universities and providers like OUA do their best with regular surveys asking how we felt the particular unit was delivered. Sadly, these do not seem to make a lick of difference when the same units receive the same complaints, or the same tutors receive the same complaints made against them, study period after study period. It’s not that we want studying to be easy, but we need to know there is some degree of accountability for our educators. I suspect this is a universal issue, rather than an online-specific one.

If you are in education, please understand that the world you may have learned in is changing. This means that older methods of thinking also need to change, in order to keep the pace. If you are a student or are considering undertaking online study, be patient with your institution. They may not understand the “game now. They may never understand it properly but unless you give them the chance and  provide them with appropriate feedback, they will never understand how to provide properly for the brave new world.

Promo Flier.

Promo Flier.

Just a little bit of background to this image.

I am currently studying through Open Universities Australia at Curtin University in the Internet Studies Department (curiously enough, Western Australia is the only state to have a dedicated Internet Studies department!). I am working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Internet Communications, which is to say I will have a degree which a lot of techies will laugh at because it’s not a science degree and a lot of artsies will laugh at because it’s not a “real” arts degree. But you know what? This has been one of the biggest rollercoasters of my life. I am now in my second year of three full-time. I have never been so challenged or felt so accomplished when I see a good grade on my assignments. There have been failings, sure, but on the whole they have been minor (except for that one eeeeeeevil time with the Unit-that-shall-not-be-named but that will be fixed next study period).

Yes, my work load averages out to be rather minor. It’s by no stretch of the imagination a law degree. However, in order to be at the top of my game, I need to know what is going on in the world of social media and the like. As it’s an ever evolving field of study, there’s a fair amount of online reading that needs to be done. Up until now, all the “creative” work for any of my units has been done through a program called Comic Life (they can be seen here and here), so it was time for something different.

I have been involved in a couple of conferences this year already. The first was Swancon 2012, where I got “included” (read: held at gun-point by someone I once though of as a dear friend) on a panel about Firefly ten years later, with absolutely no preparation time whatsoever! I swam rather than sinking. The second was the Media140 event, which I was self-appointed Tweet-Queen. Again, swam rather than sinking. The third has been the Net204/504 CommUnity online conference about communities and networks online (strangely enough) which, granted, has been for university. However, when my tutor posted in the study group that we had been approached by the co-working, collaborative group setting up in Perth, SpaceCubed,  to hold a physical addition to our online conference, I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. There was a bit of a delay, as we needed minimum numbers and there was a general buzz as logistics were set up. I may have gotten a teeny tiny bit worked up about it, given that this is exactly the sort of collaboration I hope to make professional relationships with in the coming years. I guess I caught the eye of the tutor, because she has asked me to organise the event. Well, I may have been the only person putting their hand up.

So, I have had to face a fear: Photoshop. By face, I mean find ways around dealing with. You see, Photoshop and I do not have the chummiest of relationships. We love to hate one another. So, instead I use Seashore. By use, I mean go through each menu option until I find something that works, employing the old “Command+Z” if it doesn’t (yes, I’m on a Mac. So what?). Now, I am not the most artistic of people. Not by a long shot, so when I stepped away from my trials of the flier and was okay with what I had at that point, I was actually pretty happy, especially given that I had managed it with minimum hair pulling, teeth gnashing and general furniture destruction of frustration. Needless to say, the final edition which you see above is the culmination of years of trial and error (mostly error) and a day and a half of near-enough-to-say-it-happened keyboard/head/banging action.

Yes, there are some out there who could have achieved this in a matter of minutes. You know what? Power to them. I couldn’t have. Yes, I used some fairly rudimentary editing “skills” (what? a mallet is a skill, right?) to make it work. But I came out of it unscathed. My computer is all in one piece, and not a single piece of furniture was harmed in the making of this flier.