How do notable individuals use social media? / What are the benefits of being in the public eye and having a PLN?

It is difficult to separate personal and professional use of social networks, and anything you say online could and probably will be used against you. There are ways to protect your privacy and control who sees what content, but it is your obligation as the poster to be mindful (Sreenivasan, n.d). Like everything, social media changes all the time, so you have to keep evolving with it. The 2005 idea of the Internet is not relevant to today’s online norms, just like it will be different ten years from now. Everyone’s experience and level of success in using social media in their careers differ. It is more of an art than a science, and algorithms and technology are constantly changing (n.d.). Jody Vance talked about the benefits of having a reliable network of social media users. The main one being having access to people who already want to work with you. She says that having a network can actually help you weather the storms that inevitably come up in life like sudden unemployment.

Identify 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)?

The definition of a public figure is simply “a well-known person” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). In the globalized world of today, we have come to see that Internet stardom is more common than the “traditional” ideals of the celebrity like the Hollywood movie star we all grew up admiring. In addition, the academic community is undergoing an online shift, and much public attention is being paid to traditionally private roles in society. This change to an online environment has allowed for greater transparency in our communities, and yet there are downsides to this as well. Public exposure of any kind is risky. Students of my generation are increasingly encouraged to engage in online spaces to build professional relationships. This implies a certain loss of control: it only takes a few moments for someone to make a derogatory comment and post it, or to quickly dismiss your opinions in an online forum (Fullick, 2013). In many ways, having a wider audience is a mixed bag. It can lead to more of everything; while you are bound to receive sympathetic reviews and welcome nuanced discussions by expanding the readership, you also risk misinterpretation, criticism, and sometimes insults from a wider audience. We should be attentive to the ways in which this lesson is taught in exactly the same way – online and in the “public sphere,” as well as in the social and tangible spaces of academic departments and universities; both openly and informally and we should consider how the prevailing tropes of academia come to shape the actions of folks in these very spaces (2013).

How to best address negative replies and critiques reflective of your personal values and employer social media policy? / Building community with online tools provided by the employer can be limiting, what are the perceived restrictions and benefits?

It would be unreasonable to say that every person must follow the same moral code online. Since I am interested in education, I will talk about teachers utilizing social media in their personal lives. The Ontario College of Teachers has a page on how to maintain professionalism on social media. The College recognizes that online communication and social media create new avenues for expanding and enhancing education. However, the risk of unwanted mistakes increases with the number of forms of communication. They assert that honesty, trustworthiness, and moral action are epitomized by the ethical standard of integrity. To avoid facing criticism that reflects personal and employer values, teachers must remember to interact appropriately with students, understand privacy issues, act professionally, and, most importantly, ask themselves important questions before posting anything online. For example: would my peers or supervisors consider what I posted reasonable and professional? Or would I communicate this way in my community? Similarly, it is important in this situation to maintain the confidentiality of personal accounts to communicate with those closest to you while taking into account the values.

Delivering information in a connected society requires verifiable resources, how to build a PLN to rely on?

I took a sociology class a few years back and we talked about the concept of Bullshit. The dissemination of this “bullshit” by the media is the result of a state of affairs in which politicians no longer care about telling the truth, but only about “optics” – how a particular situation will be depicted in the media and the story that is built around it (Hirst, 2018). To illustrate a bullshitter, my professor used Donald Trump as an example. The term “bullshit” is useful because it covers more than just intentionally fabricated stories; it also applies to half-truths that are fed to journalists who are too lazy, under-resourced, or intellectually inadequate to question them (2018). As a member of the academic community, I am familiar with the concept of source verification. As members of the digital world, we need to learn how to become digitally literate, which means making sure we are consuming truthful and unbiased information. The problem with fake news is that it is advertised to those who already subscribe to these schools of thought. The algorithms used by both Facebook and Google have come under scrutiny because of this notion. Often, an online user is not even conscious that the information they see has been specifically chosen for them based on their browsing and social media history. The very essence of social media allows for the display of false information as truth (2018).  We cannot do much about the bias of our sources, we can only be mindful of their partiality and hope to counter it, if necessary, with other points of view.


Fullick, M. (2013). The politics of the public eye. Impact of Social Sciences.

Hirst, M. (2018). Navigating Social Journalism: A Handbook for Media Literacy and Citizen Journalism (1st ed.). Routledge.

Maintaining Professionalism – Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media – Updated – Professional Advisory: Ontario College of Teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Public figure. In dictionary. Retrieved from

MILLER. (2021, June 6). Jody Vance—Media Voices.

Sree Sreenivasan. (n.d.). How to Use Social Media in Your Career and Business. The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from