Friday, 13 April 2012

Reflective Post

Twitter was launched on July 15, 2005 and is currently a worldwide internet service. It's main purposes are text-based posts known as "tweets" and are the basis of the social networking and microblogging of the website. Every user signs up with a twitter alias of their choosing and posts information, which is not regulated by site admins. The reliability of Twitter is not a similar issue to the reliability of Wikipedia because all of the information, false or true, is pure opinion and not fact.

 If I want to know what my favorite bands, actors or even politicians are up to I check Twitter; if I want to know the birthday of the Queen of England I check Wikipedia. However, there is a code of conduct on sites like Twitter, a kind of typing etiquette. That's not to say that all the rules of the internet are unwritten but there is something so pleasantly casual about "tweeting" your thoughts to your followers. When trying to communicate an idea your spelling takes a hit because of the 140 character limit of your tweet. For example, one might use the word 'mngmnt' instead of 'management' in the interest of space.Its a form of public speaking, not directly, less nerves are an obvious advantage. But it was discussed in class that tweeting too much can be an issue. When I got Twitter for ALES204 I began following not only Dr. Lacetti, but also some of my friends who already had Twitter. I began to wonder: when did all my friends become such exhibitionists? When did it become so uncool to be private?

I am very fond of being an introvert, sure Twitter is a great way to communicate ideas or thoughts but everything I tweet, my followers read and can reply to or re-post my tweet. As a final reflection I would like to point out that I prefer to communicate one-on-one whether its in person or through social media. Text messaging or Facebook posting is much more private for personal contacts. However, if I was to post about an event (birthday, anniversary, etc.) I would use a public messaging system like Twitter.

Blogs are also one of my preferred methods of discussing ideas. Before we launched our ALES204 blogs I had had a Livejournal blog since I was 15. I don't post personal information on my blog or my Facebook timeline (if  I can help it) but I was intrigued by a few of my classmates' blog posts:

1. Brenna's Blog
2. Danielle's Blog
3. Lauren's Blog
4. Jamie's Blog
5. Daniel's Blog

Livejournal. Retrieved April 12, 2012 from
Twitter (2012) Full Twitter logo for light backgrounds.[png] Retrieved April 12, 2012 from

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wikipedia Stub

I discussed the reliability of information on open and private Facebook groups in my previous blog entry. My classmate states her case in her blog  for Facebook as a professional source. Now I'm going to go over the reliability of Wikipedia. In class, our TA described three types of users that can typically be found on Wikipedia: the performer, the vandal and the gardener. We also covered the issues of Wikis being self-policing websites and this resulting in vandalism being quickly caught by it's users. Wikis are open because they provide users with revision history of recent site updates as a means to monitor recent additions. Some Wikis have what our TA called a "flagged revisions" system where users prevent changes from going live on the site until they have been reviewed.

When we were told to chose our own stub I knew instantly that I wanted to see the astronomy stubs and what Wikipedia had  to say about unexplored worlds. I chose to do a Wikipedia stub about the Horsehead Nebula. Wikipedia is an unreliable source of information when compared to peer reviewed articles. It is, however, as good as any printed encyclopedia as a reference for basic truths (like the composition and orientation of celestial bodies in space). I am going to be composing a memo for a scientific article based on Open Access and Open Source information so I've done research on the topic of free information. Systems like Wikis are self-policing, more accurate than pop science, and an excellent starting point for research. However, these informative sites are far from perfect with issues such as citation and reference reliability and readability of the articles.
 Seen above: A screenshot of my addition to the Horsehead Nebula Wikipedia stub

Seen above: The Horsehead Nebula consists of mostly hydrogen gas.

Blogger. Retrieved March 21, 2012, from
NOAON.A.Sharp/NOAO/AURA/NSF. (1994) The Horsehead Nebula.[jpg] Retrieved March 21, 2012 from
Wikipedia. Retrieved March 21, 2012 from

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Facebook and Meaningful Content

 Meaningful content exists on Facebook there's no doubt in my mind about about that. But do people really know how to find what they're looking for? It's a massive nexus of information with a surprising lack of privacy. Certainly I would want to post a cover letter or a resume, perhaps even a CV on Facebook and someone will certainly see the page I create. The information I post could be inaccurate or just plain made up. It makes me think of how we are not permitted to use Wikipedia as a source: content is whatever the publisher wants on Facebook. Although it cannot be edited by outside readers like Wikis can, Facebook content isn't strictly regulated. For example:

The University of Alberta Pre-Vet/Animal Health Club has a Facebook group page which was created and is regulated and updated by the members of the club that attend the U of A. It is private and content cannot be posted by outside persons.
The university also has many unofficial pages such as Overheard at the University of Alberta which is an open group page. Pages like these are breeding grounds for rumors, memes and gossip. On all accounts it's not breaking any laws but the group is essentially a social media wild card where meaningful content would be a rare sight.

Seen above: Pre-Vet/Animal Health Club president Talon addresses the members at their first official meeting in September. Members are encourage to follow the group on Facebook.

I'm glad we were given the opportunity to create our own Facebook pages because I wouldn't have done so on my own. My classmate in ALES 204 has an remarkable blog post about her Facebook page. But I have a profile why do I need a page? Because I wanted the chance to post meaningful content about what was going on in my ALES 204 class and what kind of research and experience I could glimpse on the broad horizon of my academic future. I published the Facebook page with future employers in mind whereas I'm pretty sure my Facebook profile still has shameless spelling errors on it to this day.

 Blogger. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from

 Facebook Overheard at the University of Alberta. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from

Facebook Pre-Vet/Animal Health Club. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from

Whiting, H.(2011) First Club Meeting, [jpg]. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from

Monday, 23 January 2012

Facebook Page

Today in our lab section we created Facebook pages. Now I already have Facebook, but what I have is a profile (which is far from something I want professionals in my desired field to see), not a page. This page is a business card and resume all rolled into one. Potential clients or employers can see my page, most likely the result of a quick Google search, and get a quick glance at my professional life. It allows for a filter on Facebook. This is a quick glance at my page:

It really is a work of digital information with an emphasis on my academic achievements. I'll link it here:

It contains resume information as well as my career goals and interests. It's my skills and experience bundled together neatly and it takes no more than a glance to form a general impression of me (good or bad). My classmates all made excellent Facebook pages, I really liked the work that my classmate Rima did. I can search for her on Facebook and find out that she is an experienced Nutrition and Food Science study at the University of Alberta.

This is why social media is the best thing to happen to the internet since the death of dial-up. Our lab today reminded me of an article we briefly covered in class today. It basically explains the friction-free motion and functioning of Twitter due to options like searching, commenting, tagging and linking.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Introductory Post

 My name is Elyse Semchuk and I am in my second year of the Animal Health program in the ALES faculty at the University of Alberta. I already use Facebook to stretch my communication muscles in a social group for the University of Alberta Pre-Vet/Animal Health Club. I frequently use Facebook to post pictures and send messages to a family that I adopted a dog from. My fourteen year-old Miniature Eskimo, Monty, is a regular presence on my wall and my friends' news feed. This picture was was taken by me and uploaded from my my Facebook albums.

Facebook is an excellent way for me to communicate with the people I adopted him from, as well as a means for them to contact me if they need to place another rescue dog in my home.

 I signed up for a Twitter account on the first day of ALES 204 class. I instantly knew I wanted to follow people and pages on Twitter that I was interested in. The first person I began to follow on Twitter was my man, Cesar Millan. His Dog Whisperer Twitter page has updates about his show and the dogs that are featured on it. Twitter is an excellent method for communication between Dog Whisperer enthusiasts.

In class we discussed the use of blogs in the world of science journalism. I have used research databases and followed forums in the past, so when I read our class blog's entry: ALES 204 Blog Science Journalism Post it seemed very familiar. I was not surprised to find that the science journalism blog sites were well structured and complete with updated blog entry listings and sidebars that contained other blog entries with similar topics. I met a Nutrition and Food Science student on the second day of class and I am very impressed with Rima's student blog.

My goal is to have my future E-Portfolio reflect my enthusiasm about my surrounding online environment which will become increasingly important for the  my future employment, education and animal adoptions.