I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘. Thing 6 is about accessibility. I was listening on Radio 4 to ‘tweet of the day’ this morning while scrolling through Twitter and I mused on the possibility of having tweets actually tweeted, as in spoken outloud. A quick google search revealed instructions on Instructables on how to make it so.
As well as being one of the ISG change themes through which we are looking at our organisation and changing it to be fit for the future, equality and diversity is part of a larger consideration of digital transformation going on in the university, being championed by our CIO.
Our CIO challenges us to think about the ‘internet of me’, where each of us is at the centre of a web of services tailored to what the internet knows about us and what it anticipates our wants and desires to be as a result. Examples given of Uber, Airbnb etc certainly seem to make life easier for some.
I’d suggest that we cannot think about digital transformation without considering privilege and bias. For some people, their experience of the internet is not as positive as it may seem to be for white, wealthy, north american or british men. For some it is toxic, biased and perpetuates unhelpful stereotypes. It is up to us as tech professionals to consider all our users and ensure that we create an internet for all. It is up to us not only to consider our unconscious bias but also to check and recheck that the services we build are inclusive.
The best way we can do that it to have diverse teams working on every project and provide safe working environments for colleagues to share their experiences which can inform our thinking. The risk if we don’t is that the more our services become personalised, the less we are able to empathise with the experience of others.
I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘. Thing 4 is about digital security. I have checked the security permissions on my phone and ipad, but I am particularly freaked out by the idea that your own camera can be used to watch you without your permission. My laptop is often open around my house and that’s not a kind of knowledge I am keen to share.
Even the FBI- an organisation well known for unwarranted surveillance- suggest covering your webcam. I suggest using a cheerful sticker, perhaps one you have collected from an Adalovelace Lego, Wikipedia editathon or even the 23Things course. Perhaps the University’s information security team will issue a sticker of the perfect size.
I heard James Comey interviewed on the radio discussing who the targets for such privacy invasions usually are. I think he said young women were particularly targetted by this kind of phish/malware /hack. In an attempt to find that reference I made the mistake of googling ‘young girls webcam’. Mistake. Now that’s in my internet history.
The first thing to do is to think about blogging. I have been blogging for about 10 years now. I have always had a university hosted blog rather than a personal one. I enjoy the opportunity for reflective writing that it gives me and for thinking ‘out loud’ about ideas I am still forming or testing before they become formal work positions or plans. I see blogging as part of open practice in sharing ideas but also giving insight into the thinking behind some of the decisions I make in my leadership role.
I have no idea how many people read my blog and I’m not sure I want to know, but occasionally I get messages and comments or retweets and links, so that’s always nice.
Task: Use your blog to write a short post about:
A) what you hope to gain out of the 23 Things programme.
I have participated in 23 things programmes before, but the lovely thing about them is, the things are different in each institution and I plan to learn something new.
My thoughts on the social media guidelines for staff and researchers are that they seem very focussed on protecting the university from any risk that might result from what we might write, but there is nothing about the risks we might personally be taking in putting ourselves ‘out there’ and nothing about how the university will support us if, while we are using social media, we should happen to attract trolls, abuse, harassment etc.
A few years ago I was very pleased to participate in the #23things social media training programme at University of Oxford. The course is designed to get you trying out 23 social media things and reflecting on how you might use them and what you think.